Here's how tensions with Iran might affect the U.S.'s ability to fight ISIS

Tim O'Donnell

The United States' recent actions in the Middle East have been centered around Iran, but as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington, what will become of the latter's fight against the Islamic State?

The New York Times' Rukmini Callimachi, one of the world's leading reporters on ISIS, said that the U.S.'s burgeoning conflict with Iran has been hindering the ISIS front for months now, and that's not likely to change after President Trump ordered an airstrike against Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force.

Callimachi spoke to Iraq expert Michael Knights who said that throughout 2019, Iran-backed groups denied American forces airspace and access to operations to go after ISIS, though there have been a few provinces where the U.S. has remained on the offensive.

Ultimately, though, it looks like — at the moment, at least — the focus on Iran will draw the U.S. away from the ISIS challenge.

Politico reports that the strike that killed Soleimani could even lead to Iraq kicking U.S. troops out of the country, therefore ending the U.S. mission to train the Iraqi military to fight the terrorist group. Read more at Politico.

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