of Attacks in the 2019-2020 Iran Crisis
The crisis between
the United States and Iran that developed in 2019 and 2020 has a
long history, with multiple near-war incidents occurring since the
1979 Iranian Revolution overthrew the U.S.-supported Shah of Iran,
which led to the 444-day 1979-1981 U.S.-Iran
The timeline of
events leading to the current Iran-U.S. Crisis, which also
involves Iraq (NOTE-while the whole history of U.S.-Iran relations
can go back to at least 1953, here we are listing pertinent events
from the past few years with a direct impact on the situation that
developed in late 2019 and into 2020, starting with the
controversial Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama
Administration reaches a deal with Iran on Iranian nuclear weapons
Trump Administration backs the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Arms
rocket attack is made on the U.S. Consulate in Basra. The U.S.
blames Iran and Iranian-backed Shiite forces in Iraq. Soon after,
the U.S. closed its Basra consulate.
rise in the Gulf region as the war of words between the U.S. and
Iran heats up.
-The U.S. increases
economic sanctions against Iran.
officials threatened that they had the ability to close the Gulf
to all seaborne traffic (a threat to the movement of oil from the
Gulf nations to the rest of the world).
-Bahrain ordered its
citizens out of Iraq and Iran due to tensions with Iran.
staff from Basra, Iraq, due to fear of conflict.
sources indicate a fear that Iran has green-lighted their proxies
in the region (in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere) to attack U.S.
forces in the Middle East.
-The U.S. ordered more
aircraft carrier and other naval forces to the Gulf.
anti-missile batteries were deployed to the Mid-East, along with
B-52 bombers sent to bases in the Gulf States.
May 12, 2019-Four
oil tankers are sabotaged at the UAE port of Fujairah. It should
be noted that Fujairah is on the west coast of the United Arab
Emirates, and that oil sent there via oil pipeline from the Gulf
side of the UAE, circumvents the need to ship that oil through the
dangerous Strait of Hormuz. It is believed that Iranian forces (or
perhaps proxies) conducted the sabotage in response to the
anti-Iran sanctions, and also to show that Iran could strike at
oil shipments that did not go through Hormuz.
June 13-Two more
oil tankers are attacked, this time with limpet mines that the
U.S. says are of Iranian origin. The blame is put on Iran's
June 18-A rocket
attack on an operations headquarters of several global major oil
companies, including American oil firm, ExxonMobil, near the Iraqi
city of Basra. This part of Iraq is near the Iranian border, and
is largely inhabited by Shiite Iraqis and is dominated by
pro-Iranian Shiite Iraqi militias. Three people were injured in
June 20-Iran shot
down an American Global Hawk surveillance drone. The Global Hawk
is packed with the latest technology, and costs about $210
million. Iran claims the drone was in Iranian air space, while the
U.S. says it was over international waters. Regardless, the
shooting down of the drone sharply escalated tensions between Iran
and the United States. President Trump ordered retaliatory air
strikes on Iran, but changed his mind about ten minutes before the
attacks were to have taken place. Tensions remain high. However,
there are reports that the United States Cyber Command (CyberCom)
did launch cyber-attacks on Iranian spy groups and cyberwarfare
units. For the past several months it was reported that Iranian
cyber-attacks on U.S. government and industrial targets by Iranian
hackers were increasing. Whether or not the U.S. and Iran have an
actual military conflict, the ongoing cyber combat will likely
July 4-The UK
seized an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar. The British claimed the
tanker was on its way to Syria with a load of oil, in violation of
sanctions on Syria.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is accused of harassing a
British merchant vessel in the Persian Gulf. The presence of a
British warship in the area is believed to have saved the ship
from a possible takeover or attack.
Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah, which is based in the UAE,
disappeared from ship tracking systems after approaching Iranian
waters. It is believed to have been seized by the IRGC.
forces find a remote-controlled ship, called a Blowfish, filled
with explosives in the Red Sea, in the path of the oncoming UK
destroyer, HMS Duncan. The Duncan was heading to the Gulf to
reinforce the British naval presence there in the ongoing Iran
crisis. It is believed that the “bomb boat” was placed
there by the Yemeni Houthi Shiite group that is engaged in a civil
war in Yemen. The Houthis are long-time allies of Iran.
2019-A massive drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil
processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi
Arabia, temporarily cutting off about half of Saudi Arabia’s
oil production (about 5% of the world supply of oil). The Shiite
Houthi movement in Yemen claimed responsibility, in retaliation
for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni Civil War.
Houthis claimed they used ten drones in the attack launched from
Yemen, south of the facilities. Saudi Arabian officials said that
many more drones and cruise missiles (of Iranian manufacture) were
used for the attack, and that the direction from which the attack
came from the north and east. U.S. military officials later stated
that the attack had been detected, and that the attack was
launched from southern Iran.
2019-Iranian-backed Shia militias fired rockets at Q-West Air
Base located in North-West Iraq.
2019-Shiite militias launched a rocket attack against Al Asad
2019-Shiite militias fired rockets against Balad Air Base.
2019-Shiite militia groups fired rockets at the Baghdad
Diplomatic Support Center located on the Baghdad International
2019-30 rockets fired by Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) slam into the
K-1 base near Kirkuk, killing one American and wounding four other
U.S. troops, along with two Iraqi troops.
forces retaliate, striking three Kata'ib Hezbollah bases in
Iraq, and two
bases in Syria, killing 25 KH fighters.
2019-Shiite militias attack and overwhelm part of the U.S.
Embassy in Baghdad. 100 Marines deploy from Kuwait to the Baghdad
Embassy to bolster security. A battalion of U.S. troops from the
82nd Airborne deploy from North Carolina to the Middle
2020 (as events
unfold, this section will be updated)
January 21 2020-
The Shiite forces withdraw from the embassy grounds, stating that
they have made their point.
January 2, 2020-
A U.S. missile strike kills Iranian General General Qassem
Soleimani, who led the Quds Force, a part of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard, who was responsible for many terrorist and
proxy attacks on Americans, Israelis, and other foes of Iran
(including the Sunni group ISIS). Also killed in the strike was
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of the Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH)
militia allied with Iran. This targeted killing, specifically
authorized by President Trump, shocked many around the world, and
sparked intense debate in the United States over the
appropriateness of the assassination. Iran promised revenge for
the Soleimani's death, while the Iraqi government, which has
strong ties to al-Muhandis' militia, protested the killing, which
took place on Iraqi soil. See also: 2019-2020
--Also on January 2, the
U.S. launched an unsuccessful attack on an important Quds Force
leader in Yemen. Abdul Reza Shahlai is aYemen-based financial
backer and high-ranking member of Iran’s Quds Force. The
covert U.S. attack was not revealed until several days
Coalition suspends operations against ISIS and halts training
programs with the Iraqi military.
--The Iraqi Parliament
demands the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
--Iran says any
retaliation on their part will be at a "military"
--Iran rejects any
further attempts at abiding by any "operational restrictions" on
Iranian enrichment of uranium, the major part of the terms of the
2015 nuclear accord.
--Iran fires more than a
dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. military bases in al-Assad, in
western Iraq, and Irbil, in northern Iraq. The U.S. military
announced the attacks on their forces, and Iranian television also
broadcast information that Iran had launched missiles at American
forces. In a statement on Iranian television, the Revolutionary
Guard said "The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has
begun." The Pentagon reported that despite several successful
missile hits on the based, the attacks caused nocasualties. Over a
week later, however, it was revealed that at least eleven U.S.
troops suffered concussions in the Iranian attack, leading to
several being medically evacuated to facilities in Kuwait and
--During the Iranian
missile attacks, Iranian air defense forces accidentally shot down
a Ukrainian commercial airliner that was taking off from Tehran
airport, killing 176 people, mostly Iranian, Canadian, and
Ukrainian civilians. Iran at first denied shooting any planes
down, but later admitted the shoot-down. Iranian street protests
against the Tehran government reignited with this news.
Recent Iranian Political and Military History:
(then known as Persia), was neutral in World War Two, but was
invaded and occupied jointly by the United Kingdom (UK) and the
Soviet Union (USSR) to ensure the flow of Gulf oil and to prevent
pro-German elements in Iran from taking control of the country
(which briefly occurred in neighboring Iraq).
Coup overthrows anti-Western government in Iran. The coup was
backed arranged by the U.S. and the UK.
Revolution-The pro-American Shah of Iran flees, and Ayatollah
Khomeini sets up the Islamic Republic, which instutitued a strong
Shiite Islamic regime.
and the United States nearly went to war. From this date, America
and Iran have considered each other to be enemies,
Iran-Iraq War. Began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran in Sept.
War" with the United States
and civic protest
due to allegations of fraud in Iranian Presidential
intervention in the Syrian Civil War helps save dictator Bashar
Assad's regime from various pro-Western and Sunni forces.
tension with Israel and the United States over the Stuxnet
computer virus attack, the assassinations of Iranian nuclear
scientists, and the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in
intervention in Yemen Civil War. Iran backs the Shiite Houthi
forces, while a Saudi-led coalition has directly intervened in
Yemen against the Houthis.
Increased tension between the U.S. and Iran leading to attack on
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and the targeted killing of a major
Iranian military officer by the U.S. in January, 2020.