United States threatens the closure of its Embassy in Iraq

USA

The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently called Iraqi President Barham Saleh and threatened to evacuate the US Embassy in Iraq if swift and decisive action was not taken against the regular attacks by the Irani backed militias on the US assets in Iraq.

Pompeo told Saleh that if the US presence continues to be targeted, measures would be taken to close the Embassy and a “strong and violent” response would follow against the groups responsible for the attacks, according to three Iraqi officials with knowledge of the call.

This warning was then repeated to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Pompeo told Kadhimi that the US will initiate plans to withdraw from the Embassy, according to the Iraqi officials. A spokesperson for the United States Department of State issued the following statemen on these developments.
“We never comment on the Secretary’s private diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders … Iran-backed groups launching rockets at our Embassy are a danger not only to us but to the government of Iraq”. However, the spokesperson also said that the United States “will not tolerate threats to our men and women serving abroad.” “We have made the point before that the actions of lawless Iran-backed militias remain the single biggest deterrent to stability in Iraq,” the spokesperson said. “It is unacceptable for Iran-backed groups to launch rockets at our embassy, attack American and other diplomats, and threaten law and order in Iraq.”

Between October 2019 and July 2020, around 40 rocket attacks have targeted the US Embassy or bases housing the US troops in Iraq. The attacks have escalated since Kadhimi visited the United States in August 2020. Since then, 40 attacks have taken place, targeting not only the US Embassy and military bases, but also the supply convoys of Iraqi contractors for Washington and its allies.
A major attack took place on September 27 when convoy transporting military equipment was hit on Sunday in Iraq’s southern province of Dhi Qar.

“A convoy that was transporting international coalition equipment via Iraqi transport companies and drivers triggered an explosive device (IED) in Al-Batha district in Dhi Qar governorate,” a statement by Iraqi Security Media Cell said.
On September 30, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said that the US needed to consider the decision on closing its Embassy in Iraq as it would lead to a further deterioration of the security situation. In the press conference, Hussein said: “We hope that the U.S. government and American administration will reconsider this decision. … Because the decision is a wrong one, it was taken at the wrong time and the wrong place.”

He said it would also send a message to the armed groups and extremists perpetuating the attacks that they were effective in reaching their political aims.

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