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High-gear diplomacy aims to avert U.S.-Iran conflict

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A flurry of diplomatic visits and meetings crisscrossing the Persian Gulf have driven urgent efforts in recent days to defuse the possibility of all-out war after the U.S. killed Iran's top military commander. Global leaders and top diplomats are repeating the mantra of "de-escalation" and "dialog," yet none has publicly laid out a path to achieving either. The United States and Iran have said they do not want war, but fears have grown that the crisis could spin out of Tehran's or Washington's control. Tensions have careened from one crisis to another since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad on Jan. 3 was seen as a major provocation.


The risk of an Iran cyberattack is up after missile strike on Iraqi military bases with US troops

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Americans should be on heightened alert for cyberattacks after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed late Tuesday, security researchers say. Iran could target private businesses and government infrastructure to avenge last week's killing of its top military commander as tensions between Tehran and Washington reach one of their highest points since the 1979 Iranian revolution. "I am not predicting it will happen, but if it happens, I won't be surprised," said Steven Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University School of Engineering. A cyber conflict has been silently raging for years. In retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week, Iran could target the power and electricity you use, the smart devices you carry or your bank account, security experts say.


Kept in the dark, U.S. Democrats have little recourse over Trump's Iran actions

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. lawmakers have few options for tamping down any escalation by President Donald Trump of tensions with Iran, despite Democrats' outrage over his failure to inform Congress in advance about a strike against a top Iranian military commander. Members of Congress begin to return from their year-end holiday recess on Monday, and Democrats said they will attempt quickly to pass legislation to bar Trump -- or any future U.S. commander-in-chief -- from conducting a campaign against Iran without obtaining Congress' approval. Late on Sunday, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic-led chamber would introduce and vote this week on a War Powers Resolution that would force Trump to stop military action against Iran within 30 days. But with Trump's fellow Republicans in control of the Senate and showing little inclination to break from their party's leader, there is scant expectation any legislation could win enough support to become law. Longtime foes Tehran and Washington have been in a war of words since Friday, when Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport.


Iraq: Anti-ISIS operations with US are resuming

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Jan. 30 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Joint military operations between coalition and Iraqi forces against the Islamic State group will resume, the Iraqi military said Thursday, after a nearly three-week pause that saw tensions between Washington and Tehran come to a boiling point. The escalations with Iran began after a U.S. drone strike killed one of its top generals in Baghdad earlier this month. Iraqi lawmakers subsequently voted to expel U.S. troops from the country in a non-binding resolution, a move Iraqi military officials said would jeopardize its fight against ISIS, which had overtaken large swaths of the country several years ago and has since been defeated.


Iran MP offers $3 million 'to anyone who kills Trump': report

The Japan Times

TEHRAN – An Iranian lawmaker on Tuesday offered a $3 million reward to "anyone who kills" U.S. President Donald Trump to avenge the assassination of a top general, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. Ahmad Hamzeh, a little-known member of the Majlis, made the offer on behalf of the people of Kerman, the hometown and final resting place of storied commander, Qassem Soleimani. "We will give $3 million to anyone who kills Trump," Hamzeh, who represents Kahnouj county near the southeastern city of Kerman, was quoted as saying by ISNA. He did not say who would pay the bounty offer, which comes a month ahead of a parliamentary election. Soleimani, one of the most popular public figures in Iran, was killed on Jan. 3 in a U.S. drone strike outside Baghdad airport.