U.S. Orders 'Nonemergency' Government Employees To Leave Iraq

Lester Mason
May 17, 2019

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seen in 2009, reportedly said of the USA that 'neither we, nor them is seeking war.

Britain, historically the United States' closest ally, is openly balking at the prospect of a war with Iran.

While that claim has not been proven, it prompted the United States to send an aircraft carrier and a naval strike group to the Gulf to give a "clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime".

"We are very anxious about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended", British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels.

One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal planning, said the new intelligence of an increased Iranian threat was "small stuff" and did not merit the military planning being driven by Mr. Bolton.

But this was part of a response to intelligence reports that Iran may be about to strike USA interests in the region, most likely via one of its terrorist or "independent" militia proxies.

This is far from the first time the US has made changes to its diplomatic posture in Iraq.

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil to leave the country, according to a statement posted on the embassy's website Wednesday. It has said it will keep strong ties with Iran, and also with the United States and Arab neighbors, some of whom, such as Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran a rival. "Taking us into a war without Congressional authorization would be unconstitutional and illegal".

"There is absolutely no desire or interest in a military conflict with anybody", the official said. Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Tuesday, Pompeo assured Russian Federation that his country did not want war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

Iran, for its part, has designated all United States troops stationed in the region as terrorists.

A senior European diplomat voiced skepticism that Trump's "maximum pressure" strategy would force Iran to capitulate.

Many have spoken in favour of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, reached between the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany during the Obama Administration, even after Trump pulled the US out of the deal a year ago and imposed sanctions on Iran. That includes in Irbil and Baghdad, in our facilities in Oman, all around the Middle East and so anytime we receive threat reporting we do everything we can both to do all that we can to make sure those planned or contemplated attacks don't take place and to make sure we have the right security posture. The culprits have yet to be identified, and Iran is claiming innocence. But other than Netanyahu, these parties have kept quiet this week.

-Iranian tension following Washington's decision this month to try to cut Iran's oil exports to zero and to beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it said were Iranian threats.

In a joint letter to the U.N. Security Council, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway said that while the alleged sabotage targeted four ships, "the attacks damaged the hulls of at least three".

Late Wednesday, Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of foreign affairs, said the Saudi-led coalition would "retaliate hard" for attacks on civilian targets, without elaborating.

France has a naval base in Abu Dhabi. U.S. Central Command acknowledged on Tuesday that those troops are operating at an increased posture level, adding that the U.S. -led coalition was "now at a high level of alert" as it continued to monitor threats against U.S. forces.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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