The United States has prepared for the withdrawal of diplomats from Iraq, warning Baghdad that it might close its embassy in the Arab Republic. Reuters learned about this from Iraqi officials and Western diplomats.
The reduction of the U.S. diplomatic presence in the country, where up to 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed, may be perceived in the region as an escalation of the confrontation with Iran. Washington accuses Tehran of supporting groups that periodically launch missile strikes in the Iraqi capital. This, in turn, will open up the possibility of military operations in the region just a few weeks before the U.S. elections, the British news agency’s interlocutors note.
A week ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close the U.S. embassy in Baghdad during a telephone conversation with Iraqi President Barham Saleh, two sources in the Arab government said. Late last week, Washington began direct preparations to evacuate diplomatic personnel in case the Donald Trump administration decides to do so.
Iraqi authorities fear the departure of diplomats will be followed by military action against pro-Iranian forces, which Washington accuses of rocket attacks. Influential Shiite politician theologian Muqtada al-Sadr called last week to avoid an escalation that could turn Iraq into a “battlefield.
A Western diplomat told Reuters the U.S. administration does not want its ability to weaken Iran or pro-Iranian forces in Iraq to be limited. When asked whether Washington would respond with economic or military measures, the diplomat answered very succinctly, “hitting.
The U.S. diplomatic complex in the so-called “green zone” of Baghdad, where government agencies and foreign embassies are located, is regularly exposed to missile attacks. In recent weeks, they have become more frequent, and convoys carrying equipment for the United States-led coalition against the terrorist group DAISH (Islamic State, IG, IGIL – banned in Russia) have been attacked with explosive devices. One of the explosions injured a British convoy in Baghdad, Reuters reports.
Three children and two women died last Monday when two rockets accidentally hit an apartment building in Baghdad, Iraqi military officials said. Sources in the police reported that the alleged target was the airport of the capital.
Two Iraqi intelligence sources said plans to withdraw U.S. diplomats have not yet been put into effect and will depend on whether Iraqi security forces can stop the attacks. According to Reuters, Iraqi forces have been ordered to harshly halt attacks on U.S. facilities. It is said the evacuation of U.S. diplomatic personnel will only begin if those efforts fail.
As TOP NEWS has reported, the green zone in downtown Baghdad, where government buildings and foreign diplomatic missions are located, has been the target of multiple missile attacks in recent years, allegedly backed by Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Force units. (“Hashd al-Shaabi”). Shelling became more frequent after the death of the Commander of the Kods Special Forces within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran, General Kassem Suleimani, on January 3, 2020, at Baghdad International Airport.