🚨 Bulletin: The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling on the government to expel U.S. troops in response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and the leader of an Iraqi militia on its soil.
⚡ Breaking: The Islamist militant group Al-Shabab, a branch of al-Qaida, attacked a Kenyan airfield used by U.S. forces, with witnesses reporting gunfire and plumes of black smoke. The U.S. Africa Command said the attack was repelled. Details.
The U.S. and Iran traded stunningly specific threats, with President Trump tweeting last night: "[I]f Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have ... targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture."
Why it matters: This rhetoric suggests the off-ramp from a hot conflict may be fading, with Trump's warning about cultural sites prompting Iranian officials to accuse the president of flouting international law and threatening war crimes.
A 1954 Hague treaty makes targeting cultural sites a war crime, per AP. The UN Security Council also unanimously passed a resolution in 2017 condemning the destruction of heritage sites in response to attacks by the Islamic State.
Iran's plans: Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Iran's supreme leader, told CNN in Tehran today that his country's response to the airstrike "for sure will be military and against military sites."
🥊 WashPost columnist David Ignatius: "It's as though the Middle East has played a cruel joke on Trump. The president who wanted so badly to escape the region that he abandoned a low-cost, high-success mission in northeast Syria is now stumbling into a hugely expensive adventure against Iran."
Paratroopers at Fort Bragg, N.C. — the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division — shipped out to Kuwait yesterday. Here's what it looked like:
Above: Loading equipment on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport.
Below: A soldier waits to board.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the top choice who didn't run in the current race. She will turn 35 years old, the Constitution's minimum age to run for president, a month before the Nov. 5, 2024, election.
By the numbers: AOC is the top choice (30%) among voters 18-29, Harris leads among those 30-44 (30%), and Buttigieg leads all older age groups, increasing his advantage as voters get older.
Between the lines: A number of older candidates in the 2020 field weren't listed as options, but received write-in votes, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg.
Above: A father assures his children that fires are not headed toward their town of Mallacoota, Victoria, Australia, even though the sky had turned red.
Below: A father holds his daughter, Ella, in Mallacoota.
The big picture: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended his leadership and his government's record on climate change, amid wildfires that have ravaged three states, cost 24 lives and destroyed 2,000 homes. (AP)
After the Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs last night with a 20-13 wild-card upset by the Titans, Dan Shaughnessy's front-page Boston Globe column is headlined, "It’s the end for the Patriots, and perhaps, for Tom Brady":
FOXBOROUGH — Is this how it ends?
We have visited this dark doorstep before . . . and been wrong before. A decade ago, the Patriots lost back-to-back home playoff games in successive seasons and it looked like the dynasty was over. Three Super Bowl championships later, the Patriots were still kicking butts ...
[But there's] a distinct possibility that [Tom] Brady — our football answer to Bill Russell, Ted Williams, and Bobby Orr — is all done as a Patriot. Boston’s 42-year-old football god is an unrestricted free agent come March and he could play elsewhere, or retire ... The last pass of the game — possibly the last pass ever thrown by Brady as a Patriot — resulted in a pick-6.
Brady, 42, told reporters after the game when asked about retirement: "I would say it's pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely."
A quirk of the Golden Globes Awards — airing tonight at 8 ET on NBC, from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills — is that cutaways show the food on stars' tables.
A chilled golden beet soup (left photo above) will be followed by king oyster mushroom scallops on a bed of wild mushroom risotto, with roasted baby purple and green Brussels sprouts (right photo above).
📬 Thanks for starting 2020 with us. Please tell a friend about AM/PM.