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Week Ahead: U.S.-Iran, Democrats In Iowa, Impeachment

Hardline protesters chant slogans while holding up a poster of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)
Hardline protesters chant slogans while holding up a poster of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

The latest news on the U.S.-Iran crisis. Democrats debate in Iowa. Impeachment trial developments. We look ahead to a busy week in the news.


Amna Nawaz, senior national correspondent and primary substitute anchor for PBS NewsHour. (@IAmAmnaNawaz)

Jennifer Williams, senior foreign editor for Vox. Co-host of the weekly international podcast “Worldly.” (@jenn_ruth)

Burgess Everett, congressional reporter for Politico. (@burgessev)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “Iran admits to downing airliner amid calls for justice, transparency” — “In Iran’s account, the missile operator had 10 seconds to decide whether the plane was a threat. The decision was made. And a surface-to-air missile streaked toward the passenger jet.

“Iran’s admission Saturday that ‘human error’ brought down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 added fresh details to what Western officials had concluded — a missile was to blame for Wednesday’s disaster that left all 176 people aboard the Kyiv-bound flight dead.

“What comes next is how Iran will respond to demands to allow a full and open investigation and for authorities in Tehran to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pressure was not just from Ukraine and other nations whose citizens were aboard the Boeing 737-800.”

The New York Times: “Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War” — “The plane was late and the kill team was worried. International listings showed that Cham Wings Airlines Flight 6Q501, scheduled to take off from Damascus at 7:30 p.m. for Baghdad, had departed, but in fact, an informant at the airport reported, it was still on the ground and the targeted passenger had not yet shown up.

“The hours ticked by and some involved in the operation wondered if it should be called off. Then, just before the plane door closed, a convoy of cars pulled up on the tarmac carrying Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s security mastermind, who climbed on board along with two escorts. Flight 6Q501 lifted off, three hours late, bound for the Iraqi capital.

“The plane landed at Baghdad International Airport just after midnight, at 12:36 a.m., and the first to disembark were General Suleimani and his entourage. Waiting at the bottom of the gangway was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi official in charge of militias and close to Iran. Two cars carrying the group headed into the night — shadowed by American MQ-9 Reaper drones. At 12:47, the first of several missiles smashed into the vehicles, engulfing them in flames and leaving 10 charred bodies inside.

“The operation that took out General Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, propelled the United States to the precipice of war with Iran and plunged the world into seven days of roiling uncertainty. The story of those seven days, and the secret planning in the months preceding them, ranks as the most perilous chapter so far in President Trump’s three years in office after his decision to launch an audacious strike on Iran, and his attempt through allies and a back channel to keep the ensuing crisis from mushrooming out of control.”

Politico: “‘Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter’: Impeachment trial hurts presidential campaigns” — “There are many ways Elizabeth Warren can continue her presidential campaign from Washington during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial: Surrogates in Iowa, national TV appearances and on social media.

“But while the Massachusetts senator has said for months that ‘some things are more important than politics’ — like impeachment — she now admits that with three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, there’s simply no substitute for being there.

“‘Of course it matters,’ Warren said in an interview this week. ‘We just did a 3½-hour selfie line. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter to do face to face.’

“With the impeachment trial set to start next week, the standoff between the House and Senate on Trump’s impeachment trial has created a massive headache for the five senators running for president. Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet and Cory Booker can’t skip a historic impeachment trial for the campaign trail, and so they look set to be stuck in Washington during the climax of the race for Iowa and New Hampshire.”

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