The barrage of missiles that Iran fired at US bases in Iraq Jan. 8 frightened Iraqis in the middle of the night. The missiles were a response to the Jan. 3 killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. Iraqis, among others, anticipated the news of US casualties and whether Washington would react in a way that could transform Iraq into a real battleground. Some warned that World War III was closer to Iraq than ever before.
Soon after the strikes, however, surprising statements came from Washington and Tehran.