After the Iranian missile attack on the joint U.S./Iraqi bases, many are wondering what happens next. And then, will the U.S. still be forced to leave Iraq, after Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution to kick out American troops from the country? 

First of all, some of what will transpire will have to do with the attack itself. Were any Americans wounded or killed? Did the United States suffer any material damage, to aircraft, equipment, and/or facilities? All of this matters a great deal. 

It appears that no one was injured in the missile attack. That is good news. We haven’t heard about any damage yet. And we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.

And just as big as an issue is Iran itself. Was this missile attack, their face-saving measure? Can it be satisfied that it “slapped the U.S. in the face” as they proclaimed on social media?

Each side now has had a chance to sit back and assess what has transpired. Any further action now by either side will likely trigger a massive response that may be the tipping point for a full-fledged shooting war. 

Some people believe that the Ain Al-Asad Air Base was chosen as a target by the Iranians because it has few personnel and is remote. Thus the Iranians could save face but not over-escalate things to a point of diminishing returns. 

But this brings us to the second point, which is: will the United States still be forced to leave Iraq after this latest missile attack? The answer is: possibly but probably not anytime soon. 

And unfortunately for the United States and fortunately for Iran, the fact that we pushed democracy in Iraq may ultimately lead to our ouster. Iraq’s democratically elected government, which was installed by the United States, may lead to the U.S.’s undoing in Iraq. So, the Iranians may force the Americans out, not with missiles, or Quds Forces, or their proxy militias, but by the vote.