“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.”…
“Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel and citizens is our highest priority and we are confident in the Iraqi security services’ (ability) to protect us,” the spokesman said. “But this threat is serious and we want to reduce the risk of harm.”
Reporter: Are we going to war with Iran?
President Trump: "I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens with Iran." pic.twitter.com/xbha4D8oub
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 13, 2019
According to news sources, the State Department has done a security assessment and American personnel, including troops, may be in danger from a familiar foe.
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.”
“A U.S. State Department spokesman said the decision to withdraw non-emergency staff was based on a security assessment, but would not give details on how many personnel were leaving,” the news agency reports.
The State Department also released guidelines as to how to leave.
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
For weeks there have been indications that something is brewing in the ever-present Iran-Iraq conflict. Now we see the seriousness of the situation.