Timeline 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 Hostage Crisis.

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):

2015-The Obama Administration reaches a deal with Iran on Iranian nuclear weapons development.

May, 2018-The Trump Administration backs the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Arms deal.

September, 2018-A 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.

2019-Tensions 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.

-Iranian military 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).

May, 2019

-Bahrain ordered its citizens out of Iraq and Iran due to tensions with Iran.

-ExxonMobil evacuates staff from Basra, Iraq, due to fear of conflict.

-American government 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.

-American Patriot 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, 2019

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 Revolutionary Guard.

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 the attack.

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 continue.

July 2019

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.

July 11-The 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.

July 13-The 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.

July 15-Saudi 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.

September, 2019

September 14, 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.

November and December, 2019

November 9th, 2019-Iranian-backed Shia militias fired rockets at Q-West Air Base located in North-West Iraq.

December 3rd, 2019-Shiite militias launched a rocket attack against Al Asad Air Base

December 5th, 2019-Shiite militias fired rockets against Balad Air Base.

December 9th, 2019-Shiite militia groups fired rockets at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center located on the Baghdad International Airport.

December 27, 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.

December 29, 2019-U.S. forces retaliate, striking three Kata'ib Hezbollah bases in Iraq, and two bases in Syria, killing 25 KH fighters.

December 31, 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 East.

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 Iran-U.S. Crisis.

--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 later.

January 5, 2020-

--The anti-ISIS 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" target.

--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.


January 7, 2020-

--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 Germany.

--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.

Late January/Feb, 2020- Later announcements from the U.S. military indicated that at least 34 U.S. military personnel at the two Iraqi bases hit by Iranian missiles suffered Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the attacks. TBI injuries include concussions and similar injuries. Many of those injured were medically evacuated. In early February, 2020, the Pentagon revealed that 109 U.S. troops had been injured in the Iranian attack. The injuries cited all involved brain trauma.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/pentagon-says-34-troops-suffered-brain-injuries-in-iran-missile-strike/


Historyguy.com's Recent Iranian Political and Military History:

1941-1945-Iran (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).

1953-Military Coup overthrows anti-Western government in Iran. The coup was backed arranged by the U.S. and the UK.

1979--Iranian Revolution-The pro-American Shah of Iran flees, and Ayatollah Khomeini sets up the Islamic Republic, which instutitued a strong Shiite Islamic regime.

1979-1981--U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis-Iran and the United States nearly went to war. From this date, America and Iran have considered each other to be enemies,

1980-1988- Iran-Iraq War. Began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran in Sept. 1980

1987-1988-"Tanker War" with the United States

2009-2010- Unrest and civic protest due to allegations of fraud in Iranian Presidential Election

2011-Present-Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War helps save dictator Bashar Assad's regime from various pro-Western and Sunni forces.

2012-Increased 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 Bulgaria.

2014-Present-Iranian intervention in Yemen Civil War. Iran backs the Shiite Houthi forces, while a Saudi-led coalition has directly intervened in Yemen against the Houthis.

2019-Present- 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.

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