May 17, 2019

WSJ: Intel may show Iranian buildup was reaction to expected U.S. attack

President Trump speaks alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 25, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A new interpretation of U.S. intelligence by some senior officials shows that Iran's leaders engaged in a military buildup because they believed the U.S. planned to attack them first, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The Iranian buildup caused the U.S. to increase its military assets in the region and order non-essential staff to leave its embassy in Iraq this week, spurring fears that the tension could burst into outright conflict.

Yes, but: The WSJ notes that "there are sharply differing views within the Trump administration over the meaning of intelligence showing Iran and its proxies making military preparations." Senate Intelligence Committee member Angus King (I-Maine) told CNN this week:

“I don’t think there’s faulty intel here necessarily. I think the intel may be accurate. ... But the unanswered question, again, is: Are they reacting to our assertions of action in the Middle East or are we reacting to them? That’s an unanswered question for me.”

The bottom line: Despite the fears of conflict, President Trump has expressed his reluctance to enter into a military conflict with Iran to top advisers, according to reports by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Go deeper: Why war with Iran is suddenly on the table

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There are warning signs that Nevada could be Iowa all over again

Former Sen. Harry Reid (D) lines up to cast an early vote for the upcoming Nevada Democratic presidential caucus. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The alarms are increasingly sounding over Nevada's Democratic caucus, which is just five days away.

Why it matters: Similar issues to the ones that plagued Iowa's caucus seem to be rearing their ugly heads, the WashPost reports.

China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.