U.S. President Donald Trump is faced with the same question that has been vexing Israel for the past few decades: how to deal with Iranian aggression and their propensity to up the stakes when their backs seem to be against the wall.
Iran's back is indeed against the wall. This has been a challenging year for the Iranians, perhaps the most challenging since the Islamic revolution in 1979, with crippling American sanctions, an economy in ruins, anti-government protests that required the use of brutal force along with blocking access to the internet, trouble in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
Iran has transitioned from an expansionist policy to a defensive one.
U.S. media is on automatic pilot fulfilling to role designated by Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani – the most influential person in the region for the past few years.
But Iran's hysterics are an indication that the "maximum pressure" campaign is working. Iran is in a downward spiral, losing control, and firing randomly in all directions.
The Iranians are not very creative, so it was an old trick they had up their sleeve that they used - protesting masses outside an American embassy, shouting “death to America.”
Washington was wise to remove most personnel not already on Christmas vacation out of the Baghdad embassy compound.
Still, the pictures out of Iraq were meant to remind Americans of the 1979 siege of their embassy in Tehran as well as the attack on the consulate in Benghazi in 2012 that resulted in American deaths and an inescapable albatross around Hillary Clinton’s neck.
The pictures were meant to erase the fact that for weeks now Iraqi protesters have been demanding the Islamic Republic remove itself from their country's politics.
On Tuesday night, Tahrir Square in Baghdad was alight with fireworks, balloons and partying youths celebrating the new year while around them the city was ablaze.
What will Trump do?
From the moment the danger to Americans in the Baghdad embassy is removed, the administration should exact a heavy price from Iran for the humiliation caused by the pro-Iranian protesters.