U.S. Warns Iraq It Is Preparing to Shut Down Baghdad Embassy
The Trump administration has announced it will be closing the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq if the Iraqi government refuses to stop a series of rocket attacks by Shiite militias against US interests. This marks a new crisis in the tensions between the two countries, who are allies. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, delivered the warning to Iraqi authorities, including Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller told Iraq’s foreign minister that the policy decision had been directed by President Trump.
The State Department and the US Embassy have not released further comments on the announcement, which risks the allyship the two countries have built up after years of tensions and conflict. The Trump administration is planning on taking preliminary steps to close the embassy over the next few months before reportedly closing its doors permanently. This gradual withdrawal offers Washington some time to reverse the move if Iraqi authorities take decisive action in preserving US facilities from Shiite militias.