What started with the alleged killing of a U.S military contractor has deteriorated to the killing of Iran’s most respected Military Commander and finally to a retaliatory strike by Iran at U.S’s Airbases in Iraq with threats of more violence against targets in the UAE and Israel if the U.S retaliates.
Here are the timeline of events as they occur:
July 2015: After the successful negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration managed to sign the U.S-Iran Nuclear Deal which will limit Iran’s Uranium enrichment, slowing down its ambition to own a nuclear weapon significantly.
May 2018: President Donald Trump of the U.S withdraws from the nuclear deal and reimposes crippling economic sanctions on Iran.
May 2019: Iran moves to enrich uranium, amidst sanctions.
May/June 2019: Oil Tankers attacked along the Gulf. Iran is accused. Iran denies.
June 2019: U.S Drone shut down allegedly within Iranian airspace. U.S fingers Iran.
September 2019: Saudi Oil fields attacked. Oil prices fluctuate and Iran denies involvement. Recall, Saudi Arabia and Iran are sworn enemies mostly because of the Islamic Sectarian enmity spanning decades. Iran is Shia and Saudi Arabia is Sunni.
December 2019: U.S Bases Attacked, U.S retaliates. The Iranian attack kills a U.S contractor and U.S fires some missiles at Iranian Airbase.
January 2020: A U.S Airstrike just outside Baghdad Airport kills General Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of Iran’s Elite Quds Force and seemingly the most loved soldier in Iran.
Ever since then, it has been chaos after chaos. Here are some of them.
January 3rd 2020: Shortly after midnight local time, airstrikes hit Baghdad International Airport. Iraq’s military-run media agency, the Security Media Cell, was the first to report the attack. In their initial statement, they said that some people were injured, and shared photos of burnt vehicles.
January 3rd, 2020: Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameini appoints Brigadier General Esmail Qaani to replace Soleimani.
January 4th, 2020: Thousands gather for the funeral procession in Baghdad. The procession passed through the city’s fortified Green Zone. More rockets fall in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. Trump threatens to target 52 sites including historical and cultural sites; Trump’s call is branded a war crime if it happens.
January 5th, 2020: Soleimani’s body is returned to Iran and sent to the city of Ahvaz, according to the state-run IRIB news agency. Thousands began gathering in the city to mourn the general. Protests kick off at the US consulate in Turkey over Soleimani’s killing. Iran announces it will continue to roll back commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers.
January 6th, 2020: Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the US has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq. The statement contradicted a letter sent earlier that day from the head of the US military’s Task Force Iraq outlining efforts to “reposition forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.”
January 7th, 2020: More than 50 people are reported dead, and over 200 injured after a stampede at Soleimani’s funeral in his home city of Kerman. Over a million people were estimated to be in attendance, in what would be Iran’s largest funeral procession since the 1989 funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Soleimani’s burial is postponed after the deadly stampede.
January 8th, 2020: Iran launches missile attacks on at least two military bases used by US-led forces in Iraq. A Boeing 737 Ukrainian Airline carrying over 180 people out of Tehran, Iran, crashes with no survivors. A 4.9 Magnitude Quake rocks South Western Iran, almost same region from where Iran launched the missiles.
January 9th, 2020: U.S Officials say Ukrainian Airplane may have been shut down by Iranian by a Russian-made Missile. Iran invites Boeing officials. Canadian PM issues a Press Conference, alleges alongside the U.S officials that the plane may have been shut down, albeit mistakenly. Iran mute.
January 10th, 2020: Iran declares that Blackbox of crashed airplane may have technical fault.