close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
May 16, 2019

America orders non-emergency embassy staff to leave Baghdad, Arbil

World

AFP
May 16, 2019

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday ordered all non-emergency staff to leave its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Arbil, as tensions mount between the United States and Iraq’s neighbour Iran.

Washington has ramped up pressure on Tehran in recent days, accusing Iran of planning "imminent" attacks in the region, and bolstering the American military presence in the Gulf. A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warned of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq, including "anti-US sectarian militias" who could "threaten US citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq."

The US last year shut its consulate in the protest-hit southern Iraqi city of Basra, blaming "indirect fire" by Iran-backed forces. Tensions have sharply escalated between arch-rivals Washington and Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last May from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- who has made rolling back Iranian influence in the region a top priority -- last week paid a surprise trip to Baghdad in a move to bolster ties with Iraq.

Pompeo told reporters he had made the trip because Iranian forces are "escalating their activity" and said the threat of attacks were "very specific." The top US envoy met with Iraq President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, and spoke to them "about the importance of Iraq ensuring that it’s able to adequately protect Americans in their country."

Diplomatic security is a key priority for the United States and Pompeo, who as a congressman went on the offensive against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton over a deadly attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus