The path that led to the targeted assassination of Qassim Suleimani began with President Trump’s art of tearing up the nuclear deal and has reached a point of mass protests in Tehran, Iranian leaders announcing plans to resume nuclear efforts, Iraq calling for American troops to leave the country, a temporary reduction in US efforts to fight ISIS, and a further destabilized Middle East (yes, it turns out that’s possible). Where the path leads from here is anyone’s guess (and if the deluge of tweets over the weekend is any indication, just about everyone has a guess). The strike was simultaneously described as intended to deter Iranian attacks and likely to provoke Iranian attacks. Confused? Welcome to 2020. Max Fisher in the NYT: What Is Trump’s Iran Strategy? Few Seem to Know.

+ “By pulling out of the Iranian nuclear accord and imposing crippling sanctions on the country, Trump’s advisers have wagered that they can bring the regime down. By killing Suleimani, the Administration has taken the fight directly to its leadership.” Dexter Filkins (who wrote one of the most in-depth profiles of Suleimani) The New Yorker: The Dangers Posed by the Killing of Qassem Suleimani.

+ During his campaign, Trump famously proclaimed, “I alone can fix it.” Well, in this case, he may have to. WaPo: Trump faces Iran crisis with fewer experienced advisers and strained relations with traditional allies. (This is an administration built for coverups, corruption, and idol worship; not war.)

+ After receiving criticism (including from allies) for threatening to bomb Iranian cultural sites, Trump doubled down on the idea: “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites. It doesn’t work that way.”