White House Announces Major Shakeup in Iraq
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@StateDept has ordered the departure of non-emergency USG employees from Iraq, both at the Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil. Additional information on this alert can be found on the U.S. Embassy website at U.S. Citizen Services. https://t.co/iX96dAkyhT— U.S. Embassy Baghdad (@USEmbBaghdad) May 15, 2019
In a surprise decision by the State Department, all "non-emergency" U.S. personnel have been ordered to leave Iraq immediately.
The move comes after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented a contingency plan last week in case of further escalation by Iran in the Persian Gulf.
Shanahan's plan would involve deploying 120,000 troops to the Middle East.
While it's unclear if President Trump is receptive to the show of force, the concerns posed by Iran and its proxies are undeniable. (The Daily Wire)
"The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil," the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Iraq announced in a security alert on Wednesday. "Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq."
The embassy provides the following list of "actions to take":
- Depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible
- Avoid U.S. facilities within Iraq
- Monitor local media for updates
- Review personal security plans
- Remain aware of surroundings
- Review the complete Travel Advisory for Iraq
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas
Reuters notes that the call for non-emergency personnel to immediately leave the country comes as the U.S. Military has "reaffirmed concerns about possible imminent threats from Iran to its troops in Iraq."