US-Iran and Israel-Iran tensions timeline 2020

US-Iran and Israel-Iran tensions timeline 2020Updated: 2 hours ago via The Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis 
"This timeline is the second part of a timeline that goes back to 2017, see the first part here. It seeks to include details about rising US-Iran tensions and also Israel-Iran tensions."
2020
January 1
US deploys 100 Marines to Baghdad and sends 750 paratroopers to Middle East. Trump condemns attack on embassy and Pompeo says US will secure its personnel, "The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad. All are pictured below outside our embassy."
Report: "These 650 paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed from Pope Army Airfield, N.C. today. The rest of brigade—some 3,000+ soldiers—are 'ready to deploy,' in coming days if needed, 82nd Airborne Division statement says." 82nd Airborne personnel board C-17 Globemasters for the flight.
US SecDef Mark Esper "The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world."
 
US Special operations of CJTF:OIR: "We are here to help Iraq in its fight against Daesh. Rocket bombardment of coalition and Iraqi forces, and mob violence at US Embassy, orchestrated by Kataib Hezbollah, prevent us from assisting."
 
US soldiers in Baghdad provide overwatch to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
US releases video of attack on the embassy.
 
Pompeo speaks with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister of #Qatar, Mohammed Al Thani, Netanyahu and Iraq's Prime Minister.
Pompeo "The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad. All are pictured below outside our embassy."
 
Khamenei says US taking revenge on PMU.
 
Interior Minister Yassin al-Yasiri “said that American attacks on an Iraqi militia had invited trouble. ‘These are the dangerous ramifications of this strike...What happened today is the danger that we were afraid of and that the Americans should have been afraid of’”.
 
Graffiti left behind on embassy reads "Soleimani is my leader": "سليماني قائدي"
 
ISOF members of security forces arrive to guard US embassy.
January 2
US helicopters fly over Baghdad.
Major airlift of C-17s arrive in Middle East.
 
Press TV quotes Bahraini cleric claiming US raids are attack on Islamic Ummah.
 
January 3
 
Drone attack at Baghdad International Airport killed Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Trump ordered strike and claims it was to prevent attacks and prevent a war. Iran vows harsh revenge. Pompeo says US committed to de-escalation as US citizens leave Iraq. Iraq's Parliament speaker condemns attack.
 
Esmail Qaani named Soleimani successor.
 
Israel on high alert after strike that killed Soleimani. "Israel's foreign ministry and defence officials announced a high-security alert at Israel's oversea delegations, fearing retaliation by Iran following the death of Soleimani." Netanyahu returns from Greece and officials meet at military HQ in Tel Aviv. Israel concerned over tensions in north and Gaza.
 
Press TV runs full page mourning Soleimani.
 
'For Trump, a risky decision' - NYT
 
Asaib Ahl al-Haq orders members to prepare for coming battle.
 
Hadi al-Amiri takes over Muhandis' post as Vice President of the PMU.
 
State Department designates Asaib Ahl al-Haq as terrorist group. It says that Qais Khazali, who was designated in early December 2019, and AAH was responsible for 6,000 attacks on US forces.
 
Israel releases 2018 data, says it struck 54 targets in Syria.
 
Pompeo speaks to Iraqi Kurdistan region PM Masrour Barzani.
 
January 4
 
US forces report two small attacks: "At 7:46 International Zone took indirect fire that landed outside of Coalition facilities and potentially harmed Iraqi civilians. At 7:50 p.m. rockets landed in the vicinity of Balad Air Base."
 
Pompeo speaks to Turkish FM, Iraqi President Salih, Bahraini Crown Prince, UAE Crown Prince and Netanyahu.
 
Thousands in Iraq mourn Soleimani and Muhandis.
 
January 5
 
Iraq votes for US troops leaving, Iraqi PM, who has resigned, argues US should leave.
 
Pompeo speaks to Qatar leader and India External Affairs Minister.
 
Massive crowds turn out in Iran for Soleimani funeral.
 
Only 130 Iraqi MPs arrive to vote for US leaving Iraq.
 
January 6
 
US military letter saying US repositioning force is leaked, US Chair of Joint Chiefs say it was a mistake. Defense Secretary Esper says US not leaving Iraq.
 
Iran FM Zarif says he met Soleimani weekly.
 
NATO suspends anti-ISIS operations in Iraq (first reported on January 4).
 
Pompeo speaks with Kuwait FM and Saudi Vice-Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman.
 
January 7
 
Iran vows revenge for Soleimani death, amid concerns US bases across region could be targeted. FM Zarif says it will be proportionate.
 
Inside the drones used to kill Soleimani - Task and Purpose
 
Dozens die in Soleimani funeral.
 
Masoud Barzani: "If the process of resolving the current issue in the Middle East region is in accordance to a path of reason and wisdom, we are certainly ready to cooperate. However, we can not be involved in any proxy wars."
 
January 8
 
At 5am in the morning Baghdad time more than a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles strike Ayn al-Assad base and near Erbil International Airport.
 
Iraq's Prime Minister Office says it was informed by Iran of the attack prior.
 
Did Iran avoid US casualties in rocket strike? US Chairman of Joint Chiefs says it "has more to do with the defensive techniques our forces used than it does with intent...Al-Asad is a big base. They put 11 large rockets with 1,000-pound, 2,000-pound warheads in it, but we took sufficient defensive measures." Damage was done to "tentage, taxiways, the parking lot, a damaged helicopter, things like that. Nothing that I would describe as major,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper added. “No friendly casualties whether they’re U.S., coalition, contractor, etc.”
Further assessment: Iran fired 16 ballistic missiles from 3 sites "intended to destroy vehicles & equipment & kill personnel," US says. 11 targeted al Asad Air Base, 1 in Erbil, 4 failed.
 
Zarif: "Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."
 
Trump speech indicates new sanctions, "Peace and stability cannot prevail in the Middle East as long as Iran continues to foment violence, unrest, hatred, and war. The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward.
Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process."
 
Two rockets land near Green Zone around midnight between January . US CJTFOIR: "The military Coalition confirms small rockets impacted near Baghdad’s International Zone, Jan. 8 at 11:45 p.m. (Baghdad Time). No Coalition casualties or damage to facilities."
 
January 9
 
US assess damage after rocket fire at midnight.
 
Ryan Browne of CNN: In the days before General Suleimani’s death, (CIA Director) Ms. Haspel had advised Mr. Trump that the threat the Iranian general presented was greater than the threat of Iran’s response if he was killed, according to current & former American officials”
 
Canada says Ukrainian Airlines 752 likely downed by Iranian missile. Analysis of video shows the same.
 
Satellite images show aftermath of strikes on Asad base.
 
Sadr, who has called on US to leave Iraq, says PMU should stand down.
 
Soleimani may have plotted attack on Embassy.
 
Iran speech showcases links to IRGC affiliates and also Hamas Afghans, PMU
 
NYT: "In the days before #Suleimani’s death, Gina Haspel had advised Trump that the threat the Iranian general presented was greater than the threat of #Iran’s response if he was killed, according to...officials."
 
Iran's Chief of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force claimed in a televised press conference on Thursday that "Iran had carried out a cyberattack against U.S. monitoring systems minutes after launching its ballistic missiles on Tuesday and disabled U.S. drones."
 
High quality images shows damage to Al-Assad base, The Drive writes an analysis of it.
 
Reuters: Informants helped in Soleimani hit
 
January 10
 
Airport informants and overhead drones: How the US got Soleimani - NBC
 
Explosion on Iraq-Syria border. Israel accused of targeting pro-Iran groups. Also report indicated strike closer to Israel (AP).
 
January 11
 
Iran takes responsibility for downing Ukrainian Airliner and apologizes, Rouhani says will investigate this "great tragedy."
 
Protests break out in Tehran, Rasht and Isfahan against government in wake of downing of plane, UK ambassador attends vigil and is briefly detained.
 
Trump tweets in Farsi saying human rights groups should be allowed to monitor events in Iran.
 
January 12
 
Report: Israeli intel helped US in Soleimani strike.
 
Balad air base hit with up to eight Katyusha rockets.
 
Explosions heard near Albukamal near IRGC base.
 
January 13
 
Alleged strikes on Iran sites near Albukamal. More reports here.
 
Trump authorized Soleimani strike seven months ago.
 
Sadr meets with Iraqi Shi'a militias in Qom. "On Monday, Sadr held a meeting with leaders of several armed groups within the PMF in the Iranian city of Qom. The meeting was also attended by Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi armed group whose 25 fighters were killed when the US launched air strikes against it on December 30, 2019, in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor two days earlier. It also included Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Shia armed group led by Qais al-Khazali, who was blacklisted by the US over his alleged role in killings of demonstrators in Iraq. Nasser al-Shammari, deputy secretary-general of the Hezbollah al-Naujaba Brigades, another group that attended the meeting in Qom."
 
Al-Hurra looks at Qom meeting and possible successor
 
 
January 14
 
Rocket falls near camp Taji, Iraq.
 
Effigy of UK ambassador burned in Iran.
 
Eli Lake: The memos the underpinned the Trump admin's Iran disruption campaign.
 
Uk, France and Germany warn Iran 15 days to trigger "snapback' sanctions.
 
Syrian media accuses Israel of airstrikes on T-4 base "A military source announced that our air defenses had responded to an air attack by Israeli aircraft on the T-4 airport in the eastern Homs countryside, from the direction of the Al-Tanf area on the Syrian-Iraqi border, and dropped a number of missiles." Initial Syrian report claimed aggression came from direction of al-Tanf.
 
Hezbollah's Nasrallah playing increasing role in Iraq, condemning Kurdish leadership and broker deal with Amiri. Nasrallah tasked with aiding PMU unity.
 
AFP: US lost "eyes in the sky" during Iran attack on US bases in Iraq due to presence of drone operators at Ayn al-Assad.
 
January 16
 
11 US troops were injured in Iran's ballistic missile attack
 
January 17
 
Trump tweets in Farsi for the second time in a month slamming Iran's regime. "The noble people of Iran, who love America, deserve a government that will help them achieve their dreams, rather than focusing on killing them for revenge. Instead of dragging Iran to ruin, Iran's leaders must put aside the terrorists and magnify Iran again!"
 
Israel is only a decade from impenetrable air defense - Kochavi
 
January 19
 
Trump recounts killing of Soleimani, drones and military explaining the strike to him.
 
January 20
 
Mass protests in Baghdad and Iraq resume. Several killed, hundreds wounded.
 
Esmail Ghaani, new head of Quds Force, "They [US] hit him [#Soleimani] in a cowardly way, but with God's grace and through endeavours of freedom-seekers around the world who want vengeance over his blood, we will hit his enemy in a manly fashion.”
 
WSJ: "Some U.S. officials "who backed the decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem #Soleimani on Jan. 3 argue that continuing to squeeze #Iran could weaken the government or even bring about a collapse in the near to short term..."
 
Three rockets fall near Green Zone in late evening, sirens sound.
 
January 21
 
Militias continue to target demonstrators in Iraq.
 
Mohamad Hejazi appointed deputy Quds Force commander, he was formerly linked to Iran precision guided weapons sent to Hezbollah
 
Iran Basij commander killed in Khuzestan
 
Hoshyar Zebari "Last night firing of 3 rockets at #USEmbassy compound in #BaghdadIZ is yet another provocation by unruly militia. There is a new bull game in #Iraq after the #American drone strike on 3rd Jan near #BaghdadBIAP airport. De-escalation is key to stability."
 
Sunni politicians in Iraq grapple with reconstruction amid tensions
 
Rocket launchers found in Zafraniyeh, Baghdad, could have been used to target US
 
Kataib Hezbollah warn President Salih not to meet Trump in Davos
 
Iran reaches out to Gulf
 
January 22
 
Pro-Iran militias target media in Iraq
 
Israel FM tells Russia's TASS about necessity of confronting Iran
 
Abu Ali Al-Basri, Badr member, appointed to fill Muhandis position in PMU
 
Lebanon gets new government ministers backed by Hezbollah, who are they, also what is Nasrallah doing meddling in Iraq
 
Trump meet KRG President Barzani at Davos and then meets Iraqi President Barham Salih. Salih say Iraq should not be a battleground for foreign forces.
 
Qais Khazali of AAH speaks about the need to unite Iraqis against US
 
Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba condemns Iraqi President Barham Salih as a "separatist"
 
Kataib Hezbollah threatens President Salih for meeting Trump
 
Protesters from Nineveh call for PMU to leave at UN compound in Erbil
 
Protests continue in Baghdad and Karbala
 
Iran's Hajizadeh admits that while he monitored US drones he was unable to track Soleimani because he didn't know his schedule on January 2.
 
PMU commander concerned after airstrikes.
 
January 23
 
Reports indicate the US might send Patriots to Iraq.
 
Airstrike hits PMU near Al-Qaim, unclear who was hit though. Initial reports said it was Kataib Hezbollah unit.
 
January 24
 
34 US service members have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) resulting from Iranian missile attack.
 
Masive protest in Baghdad by Sadr and Badr against US presence.
 
Three French aid workers kidnapped in Iraq.
 
Department of Defense press briefing discusses 34 Americans hospitalized due to the Iranian missile attack earlier in the month. Also responds to questions about air defense.
 
Aircraft targeted Iranian militias near the Syrian-Iraqi border in the Deir Ezzor area of eastern Syria on Saturday, according to Deir Ezzor 24
 
Pompeo NPR interview slams Iran for supporting militias.
 
US Department of Defense still tight-lipped on whether air defense might be deployed to Iraq.
 
January 25
 
Sadr withdraws support from anti-government protests
 
January 26
 
Rockets hit US embassy Baghdad. Reports of injured. Rockets hit dining facility.
 
Iraqi militias and security forces use live fire against them in Baghdad. But protests continue in Nasiriyah and Basra. Sadr threatens protesters
 
Zarif in Der Spiegel says Iran still willing to negotiate if US returns to deal, Zarif meets Oman foreign minister.
 
Islamic Jihad oppose Trump "deal of century"
 
Live fire used against protesters in Baghdad and Nasiriya Habub Square. Up to 12 killed in several days.
 
Larijani says that ballistic missile attack will deter US for ten years.
 
January 27
 
Amiri and PMU deny they fired rockets. Abdul Mahdi condemns rocket fire on embassies.
 
Sadr continues to critique protesters.
 
Protesters return to Nasiriyah.
 
IRGC chief threatens US and Israel against harming Quds Force head, calls for Basij mobilization.
 
Kataib Hezbollah denies involvement in rocket attack at embassy.
 
January 28
 
Harakat Hezbollah could be making a play for leadership in PMU
 
Qaim residents concerned about US-Iran tensions
 
"The pro-Iran Badr organization, headed by Hadi al-Ameri, said Sunday’s rocket attack aims to spark strife and impede efforts to restore Iraq’s sovereignty. He urged the government to exert serious efforts to protect diplomatic missions and uncover the perpetrators." - Al Sharq al-Awsat.
 
US announces "Deal of the Century." Deal is widely condemned by Iran officials .
 
What is the role of Harakat Hezbollah in uniting the PMU (Al-Monitor)
 
January 29
 
Zarif condemns US deal of century.
 
January 30
 
US had planned for Iranian drone strikes after Soleimani stirke
 
CNN : "The United States said Thursday that it is seeking to place Patriot missiles in Iraq to counter Tehran and will levy new sanctions against the regime on the same day that it announced the opening of a channel to deliver humanitarian aid to ordinary Iranians." Milley: "The mechanics of it all need to be worked out, and that is ongoing."
 
The Drive: "At least 64 individuals have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a direct result of Iran's strikes on Al Asad. More than 200 people were within the blast zones of the impacting missiles." [The article goes on to note:] "This leaves just 11, around 60 percent of the Army's total Patriot force, available to respond to contingencies around the world."
 
February 1
Hamas meets Erdogan to oppose US deal.
 
New Iraqi PM selected, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, after deal between Badr's Amiri and Sadr.
 
A decision by the United States to lift sanctions on one of two units of the Chinese tanker company COSCO was not a sign that the Trump administration was letting up on its “maximum pressure” against Iran, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday.
 
February 2
Ayatollah Nouri Hamdani condemns US, argues US deal of century is threat to Islamic community.
 
Sadr's blue hats take over Turkish restaurant in Iraq, Sadr tells protesters to stop blocking roads.
 
Tasnim roundtable discusses why US killed Soleimani "The assassination pursued a strategic goal, and was a purely warlike one, triggered by reactions from within....In my opinion, the story is not over and they still want to bring this deterrence to a point where it can either go back to power or completely defeat it. Americans at first level did not think about physical removal. Given the conditions of the November protests, they felt that internal pressure had increased and that the country was unable to run...under such circumstances, they resorted to terrorist action to add a limited military option in addition to domestic pressure, because the sanctions alone would not suffice."
 
IRGC Quds Force commander in touch with Palestinian factions.
 
Japanese destroyer on way to Gulf amid tensions to join maritime patrols.
 
February 4
 
Patriot missiles delayed for Iraq.
CENTCOM's McKenzie goes to Iraq
 
February 5
Iran has 32,000 agents in Iraq - Al-Hurra
 
Trump's deal will die, says Khamenei.
 
February 6
SANA media reports Israel airstrikes around Damascus at Kiswa, Izra, Marj al-Sultan and Baghdad Bridge interchange (الكسوة ومرج السلطان وجسر بغداد وجنوب إزرع ).
 
Hamas - Israel tensions rise in Gaza. Rocket and mortar and balloons, Israel reduces fishing limit and carries out airstrikes.
 
Iran showcases Global Hawk it shot down in June 2019
 
February 7
 
Iran can disable US Global Hawk drones - IRGC, see Fars News
 
Russia Ministry of Defense says Israeli strikes near Damascus almost hit Cham Wings plane
 
Khazali claims CIA has taken over one branch of Iraq's government, Israel is arming protesters. Claims he got secret documents from Soleimani. See report at Fars.
 
Speaking during a joint armed forces ceremony at an Iranian airbase in the southwestern Bushehr province on Friday, Ebrahim Raeisi said the Persian Gulf has to remain secure for Iran "at all times". Iran would respond to provocations.
 
February 8
 
Iran media targets Steven Nabil.
 
Russia, Iraq and Iran may strengthen ties amid tensions
 
Ayatollah Khamenei says Iran must be strong to avoid war