A Trump-ordered US airstrike in Iraq has killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s paramilitary forces, in what represents a major escalation in Washington’s conflict with Tehran. The blowback may be huge, and much depends on how well prepared the United States is for Iran’s response and that of its many proxies in the Middle East.
The attack is the latest flashpoint in a string of events this year pushing tensions between the two countries to new heights. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions has seen Iran respond with violent provocations — from attacking tankers in the Persian Gulf to striking Saudi oil facilities. But the surprising and aggressive move by the Trump administration has many asking whether the US is now destined for war with Iran, and what the shape of that conflict might look like.