Iran Update: Key Takeaways
- The Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles targeting the Marshall Islands-flagged, US-owned, Greek-operated Chem Ranger commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden on January 18.
- The Houthis continued to frame US airstrikes in Yemen as part of a US regional “escalation” on January 19. The Houthis and their allies throughout the region—including Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq—threatened on January 17 and 18 to expand the war in the Middle East by targeting other US and UK interests outside of the Red Sea region.
- Iranian officials explicitly stated on January 19 that the January 15 IRGC missile strikes in Idlib Province, Syria, were meant to signal Iran’s ability to attack Israel directly.
- Iranian-backed political actors are continuing to try to pressure the Iraqi federal government to expel US forces from Iraq.
- Iranian-backed Iraqi actors are continuing to try to install their preferred candidate as Iraqi parliament speaker.
- Palestinian fighters continued to attack Israeli forces in three areas of the northern Gaza Strip where Israeli forces previously conducted clearing operations.
- Israeli forces under the command of the Menashe Brigade concluded a 45-hour counter-terrorism operation in Tulkarm on January 19.
- The Islamic Resistance in Iraq—a coalition of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias—claimed that it shot down a US Air Force (USAF) MQ-9 Reaper drone in Diyala Province, Iraq, on January 18.
- Iran and Pakistan continued to de-escalate tensions following the exchange of strikes on each other’s territory in recent days.