Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Agency/Getty Images

President Trump suddenly faces two global crises in North Korea and Iran — via Iraq — both with the real possibility of U.S. military action, if not war.

Why it matters: Trump has benefited from relative peace abroad and prosperity at home. But these twin challenges will truly test his diplomatic mix of bluster and buddying up to bad guys on the world stage. 

Iran-backed militiamen attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday for the second day in a row. Marines guarding the embassy fired tear gas after the protesters lit a fire on the roof of the reception area, per AP.

  • On New Year's Eve, Trump ordered the deployment of 750 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., to the Middle East. 3,000 more prepared for possible deployment in the next several days.
  • The protestors at the embassy later withdrew after orders from the militias, saying their message had been heard and that would now try to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by taking action in the country’s parliament.

"Little Rocket Man," North Korea's Kim Jong-un, is threatening to resume nuclear-missile testing, and said he'll soon introduce "a new strategic weapon" as the momentum of the past few years has stalled.

  • He declared in a New Year's speech that there "will never be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" unless the U.S. drops its "hostile" policies, according to state media.

Don't forget: Russia said last week that it had deployed a hypersonic nuclear missile that President Vladimir Putin claims is in a class of its own, "fueling concerns of a new arms race with the U.S.," per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: Trump's New Year's crisis

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2 hours ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.