U.S. forced to evacuate consulate in Iraq
The State Department says the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra is being evacuated following attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will provide full consular services for Basra and the surrounding area, the State Department said.
What's most notable is the reaction by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo directly threatened retaliation against Iran on Friday, after accusing Iranian forces of repeatedly directing attacks against US diplomatic facilities in Iraq.
“Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.
Recently, #Iran-supported militias in Iraq launched rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra. We’ll hold #Iran’s regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives. pic.twitter.com/nqbmogbeCA
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 25, 2018
What is happening in Iraq could lead directly to a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.
The Pentagon says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq “as long as needed”. There are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, versus about 100,000 Shia militiamen.
Pompeo is working with Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran coalition known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
As recently as April, the U.S. was telling those Shia militias were welcome in Iraq.
Last month those Shia militias threatened to attack foreign troops in Iraq if they didn't leave.