With social media running our world, the lines between “fake news” and the truth constantly become blurred. As our phones buzz to alert us of headline after headline, it is easy to get caught in the overwhelming amount of notifications and updates. This can lead to many growing weary to reading the news, whether in fear of what they might learn or lack of interest caused by confusion.
“Part of a responsible, young adult’s day should be trying to find out what’s going on in the world, ‘how’s it going to affect me’, and give some thought to what their opinions are,” Chris Gardner, AP Government and AP Macroeconomics teacher, said.
Gardner is a strong believer that students should be able to utilize what they learned their history classes to aid them in understanding current events. Taking the time out of one’s day to use technology for a greater purpose, like reading articles, is something Gardner thinks will help improve understanding and gain confidence.
“The great thing about phones and devices is, you’ve got access to more information than anybody in history in the palm of your hand,” Gardner said.
Students attempting to understand current events in general on their own is bewildering enough. With the back and forth between the United States and Iran for decades, trying to comprehend all the information seems impossible. However, with this breakdown, hopefully some stress will be lifted. Without further adieu, “U.S.-Iran Tensions: ‘For Dummies’ “:
As of late Dec. 2019 to now, Jan. 2020, U.S.- Iran tensions have been taking up Internet topics. So much has occurred in such a short span of time, so here is a quick speed round to cover the events from this year so far.
Dec. 27: On a Iraqui military base in Kirkuk, Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian Shia militia group killed an American defense contractor with rockets.
Dec. 29: In response, the Pentagon, according to The Wall Street Journal, targeted Kataib Hezbollah’s three locations in Iraq and two in Syria. This attack damaged weapon storage facilities and other places used to plan attacks.
Dec. 31: Iraqi protests began at the US embassy in Baghdad in response to the attacks on Kataib Hezbollah.
Jan.3: Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and one of Iran’s honored figures, was killed in an airstrike ordered by President Trump.
Jan. 7: Iranian rockets struck two US bases in retaliation for Soleimani’s death. No casualties were found from the U.S. or Iraq.
Jan.9: According to CBS News, Trump made an address to the nation stating that Iran “appears to be standing down” after the base strikes. Trump also mentioned that the U.S. will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions”.
Jan. 24: According to The New York Times, 34 troops have brain injuries from Iranian missile strikes from the Al Asad Air Base. This contradicted Trump’s statements regarding the injuries in which he stated they were “not very serious”.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): A branch of the Iranian military formerly led by Qasem Soleimani (killed this year by US air strike Jan. 3).
Click here for more information on foreign terrorist organizations.
President Donald Trump designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, imposing additional sanctions. According to Trump, this 2019 designation “will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime.”
“Never threaten the United States again!”
A rocket landed in the US’s embassy in Baghdad. It was confirmed that it was shot from the Tigris River, landing heavily in the fortified zone. Trump, sent a tweet stating that “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” after the news was released.
Leaving the Nuclear Deal
Iran Nuclear Deal: Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) involved the agreement of multiple countries including China, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and the USA. Its goal was for Iran to redesign and reduce their nuclear facilities to remove nuclear-related sanctions and detach billions of dollars in oil and assets.
According to Aljazeera, as a result of JCPOA tightly restricting Iran’s program by “ending sanctions that severely damaged its economy,” Trump deemed it “unacceptable” and had the US withdraw from the nuclear deal.
Sanction, Sanctions, and more Sanctions
Throughout 2018, the US imposed a multitude of sanctions on Iran resulting in two phases of sanctions. Most were previously lifted as a result of the Nuclear Deal.
Sanction: a punishment threatened on a country for not following a law or mandate.
Phase one: Prohibiting business parts like aviation which hurt Iran significantly. According to washingtoninstitute.org, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, Ali Abedzadeh, “predicted a difficult year for the industry due to sanctions,” later in 2019.
Phase two: This round of sanctions, the US announced it would target “key oil and banking sectors” according to Aljazeera.
Read more on US-Iran sanctions here
When feeling overwhelmed about current events, it is okay to take the time to research. Being informed isn’t limited to government officials or war generals.
“We wouldn’t want students to be afraid of learning what’s going on in the world and engaging in it. It’s empowering when anybody gains knowledge. It shouldn’t scare you, it should be empowering that you can understand something,” Gardner said.