The U.S. drone strike that killed the Iranian Quds Force commander marks a pivot toward direct confrontation with Iran, further entangling the U.S. in the Middle East after years of trying to avoid a major conflict.

Since taking office, President Trump has made a priority of winding up the fight against Islamic State militants and reducing the American military footprint in the Middle East. The Trump administration was determined to roll back Iranian power and stop its nuclear program by tightening economic sanctions—not…

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