Date: January 03, 2020 12:24AM
Let's think about the context.
US policy for a long time was to contain Iran and its ally, Syria, while using the Kurds to isolate and degrade ISIS. Washington then changed its policy to apply intense pressure to Iran. But what was the goal of that pressure? The American government has said that regime change is the goal, and Iran has no way out. So US policy is basically, "Iranian government, die." For some reason the Iranian government is unwilling to accede to that plan.
Meanwhile the US abandoned the Kurds, which can't contain Syria or the remnants of ISIS, and then withdrew most US forces from Syria. The effect of that was to hand that country to Iran and Russia. Iran followed up, predictably, by establishing bases in Syria from whence to attack US allies and US forces if and when it wants. Washington might find that upsetting, but one wonders what alternative Iran had given that the US doesn't want any deal short of the collapse of the government.
Then Washington attacks the bases in Syria that American policy had just handed to Iran. Would a government in Teheran that has its back to the wall tolerate that? Of course not. So Iran decided to deliver a message. It could have killed dozens of US troops or blown up the embassy (its agents were, after all, on the the embassy grounds) but chose a more moderate attack: break windows, burn stuff, but don't kill anyone. The message was, "hey, US, you have forces and diplomats in our neighborhood and we can hit them anytime we want." It was a warning.
Now the US has escalated the conflict sharply. Iran has already, through the message it conveyed with the embassy attack, explained what it will do: some form of attack on US interests somewhere in the Middle East, interests that are too numerous to be defended simultaneously. The US may well react aggressively, and war might ensue, but does Iran have any alternative given that US policy is to destroy the Iranian government?
A basic principle of geopolitics is that if you pressure an enemy, you must be prepared for war. The only way to avoid that is to offer the enemy a way out of its dilemma. But since the US has not offered an exit, Iran has no alternative but to fight for its survival. This fact is a direct result of US policy, a curious policy for a government that promised to withdraw US forces from the Middle East.
This is how wars start. It is how the US grows more deeply enmired in regional conflicts.