So events have mandated that I restart this blog. As you will notice, I also had to change the title. It no longer makes sense to label the U.S.'s endless war by specific countries.
As predicted, the Iraqi Parliament has voted to expel U.S. troops from the country. In fact the resolution calls for the entire U.S. led coalition to exit the country. PM Mahdi has indicated that he will sign the measure. [I should note that it does not seem feasible for U.S. troops to remain in Syria if they do not have support bases in Iraq. The U.S. has no other access to Syrian territory. -- C] Mahdi also says that Soleimani was in Baghdad at his invitation, as he was mediating a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Accordingly, the coalition has suspended operations against IS to focus on force protection:
A statement on Sunday from Operation Inherent Resolvesaid the US-led coalition was “fully committed” to protecting its bases in the light of “repeated rocket attacks” from pro-Iranian militias over the past two months. “This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh [Isis], and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” the coalition said.The UN special envoy for Afghanistan says that events in Iraq will hinder peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
Keep in mind that the militia leaders killed along with Soleimani were in fact Iraqi military officers.
The European Union has invited the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Brussels to discuss the situation.
Iraq's Foreign Ministry has summoned the U.S. ambassador, saying the drone attacks that killed General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muahndis, and other militia members, were "a flagrant breach of Iraq’s sovereignty and of all international laws and norms that regulate relations between countries and prohibit the use of their lands to carry out attacks on neighbouring countries."
Iran will shortly announce further renunciation of elements of the nuclear agreement.
Pentagon officials were reportedly astonished by the decision to assassinate Soleimani. They had not expected the president to take the option seriously.
I will provide another update soon, and will try to resume daily posting if events warrant.