The US military does not expect to conduct additional strikes against Iranian backed groups in Iraq or other locations unless the US was to come under attack, according to a US official directly familiar with the latest information.
But that said, there is currently intense discussion inside US military and intelligence agencies to assess whether Iran might be preparing some type of retaliatory strikes in the next few days or may wait for some time.
There are indications that Iran has ramped up the readiness of its short and medium range ballistic missile force inside Iran, the official said since the death of General Qasem Soleimani. While that does not mean a strike by Iran is imminent, the US is conducting intense surveillance by satellite and other means to determine how soon missiles, which are liquid fueled, might be ready.
There is division in US circles over whether Iran will quickly launch a retaliation or wait for some time.
“There are conflicting views,” the official said. But US military defenses are ready, according to the official. The US would not likely launch pre-emptive strikes against Iranian missile sites inside the country unless there was compelling evidence they were ready to fire.
What could happen next: It’s now expected that it will be Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei making any final decision to order a potential strike against the US.
If the US gets intelligence confirming that he has ordered an attack, it could mean President Trump would then have to decide if he wants to take pre-emptive action. With the death of Soleimani, it’s less clear where the Supreme Leader is getting military advice, which is complicating the US intelligence picture.