White House asked for options to strike Iran

Clay Curtis
January 14, 2019

A Iran Air Force F-7 Airguard in Vahdati Airbase Air Show.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump's White House - led by national security adviser John Bolton - requested options from the Pentagon to launch an attack on Iran in September of previous year.

The mortar attack targeted Baghdad's diplomatic quarter, which is home to the U.S. Embassy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the USA embassy last September.

Although the Pentagon obeyed the request by the council, the Journal reported, it is unknown whether or not the plans for striking Iran were ever fully developed or even provided to the White House.

It added that the NSC also requested options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria. The Journal reported that it wasn't clear whether Trump knew about, or was provided with, the plans for potential military strikes.

Unnamed US officials told The Wall Street Journal that Mr Bolton's hawkish response to the September attack "rattled" the Pentagon and state department.

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But, he added , "we also know that those are fighting alongside of us for all this time deserve to be protected as well". A Kurdish politician told Reuters last week the Kurds had presented Moscow with a roadmap for a deal with Damascus.

The Pentagon said it provides the president options for a variety of threats.

While no one was wounded in the incident, it angered the US.

Speaking to an audience of anti-Tehran activists, the longtime Iran hawk said: "The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behaviour".

While Bolton's approach has seen him butt heads with a number of people in Trump's Cabinet - most notably former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis - he has found an ally in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

After the attack in Baghdad, the White House warned that "the United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States government facilities". Before he took office in April Mr Bolton was known for his... In 2015, while working for a think tank, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran".

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