An incident in Syria two years ago involving the transport of an Iranian port-a-potty nearly led to a confrontation between American and Iranian forces, underscoring just how quickly even minor events could escalate there.
The episode, told here for the first time, is particularly instructive as the Trump administration signals it might leave behind a small force in both Syria and Iraq to monitor Iranian activities.
Some analysts and U.S. officials believe that the change of mission for those forces could raise the chances of a war between the United States and Iran—and that it may even be illegal under the U.S. Constitution.
President Donald Trump announced in December 2018 that he’s withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria, but administration sources told Foreign Policy last month that he’s considering keeping a small force at a remote base in southeastern Syria, far from the last remnants of the Islamic State, to counter Iran. And yesterday, Trump said he wants to maintain some troops in Iraq for the same purpose.