President Trump called on the Iraqi government to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as dozens of “protesters” gathered outside. They have breached the outer walls and attempted to storm the Embassy itself, smashing through the main door and setting a fire inside the courtyard. U.S. forces responded with tear gas and firearm warning shots. The Ambassador and some staff have been evacuated.
Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
The protests were prompted by a counterstrike by U.S. forces against munitions facilities operated by Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. Around 25 were killed and 50 more injured in the attacks. Among the casualties were Iraqi civilians and law enforcement, escalating tension between Washington DC and Baghdad. The Iraqi government reached out to Moscow to state their concerns.
The U.S. airstrikes — the largest targeting an Iraqi state-sanctioned militia in recent years — and the subsequent calls by the militia for retaliation, represent a new escalation in the proxy war between the U.S. and Iran playing out in the Middle East.
Tuesday’s attempted embassy storming took place after mourners and supporters held funerals for the militia fighters killed in a Baghdad neighborhood, after which they marched on to the heavily fortified Green Zone and kept walking till they reached the sprawling U.S. Embassy there.
AP journalists then saw the crowd as they tried to scale the walls of the embassy, in what appeared to be an attempt to storm it, shouting “Down, down USA!” and “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday’s strikes send the message that the U.S. will not tolerate actions by Iran that jeopardize American lives.
This level of aggression has not been seen from Iraqis against Americans since the new government took control. But as the government seems lukewarm following the airstrikes, it makes for a dangerous situation for Americans in the region.
— L (@SomeBitchIKnow) December 31, 2019
Please ignore any articles or analyses suggesting "protesters " are behind storming the US Embassy. These are clearly Hashd units. Hashd leaders are out in the open.
— Rasha Al Aqeedi (@RashaAlAqeedi) December 31, 2019
Hezbollah flag flying outside US Embassy Baghdad pic.twitter.com/MJS5lQ36J9
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) December 31, 2019
Lest we forget, the Iraqi militia that is attacking the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is backed by Iran and almost certainly funded by U.S. dollars delivered to them by the Obama administration.
The previous administration paid for our embassy to get attacked today.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) December 31, 2019
This is a Hezbollah attack on the US Embassy pic.twitter.com/X3kkzqCC4P
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) December 31, 2019
— Mustafa Salim (@Mustafa_salimb) December 31, 2019
Meanwhile, Iran continues to stoke the flames of anger towards America’s presence in the Middle East. They have been suffering under crippling sanctions imposed by the United States and have dealt with protests of their own in recent weeks. Some reports indicate over a thousand Iranian citizens have been killed by their government’s attempts to quash the protests.
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“Well, it begins by an understanding that this was a defensive action designed to protect American forces and American citizens in Iraq, and it was aimed also at deterring Iran,” Pompeo told Fox News.
The U.S. launched several “precision defensive strikes” on five sites of the militia Kataeb Hezbollah, which the administration blames for a rocket attack that killed a U.S. defense contractor at a U.S. military compound in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon announced Sunday.
“They took a strike at an American facility. President Trump’s been pretty darn patient, and he’s made clear at the same time that when Americans’ lives were at risk, we would respond, and that’s what the Department of Defense did yesterday,” Pompeo said, and the U.S. “will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.”
Unlike Afghanistan where American interests are questionable, there is no doubt if the United States removes its presence from Baghdad that both Iran and Russia will fill the void. This situation must be controlled as quickly as possible.
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