Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 5, 2020

Newsline: Iraqi security forces told to stop protecting US Embassy in Baghdad

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the Iranian-backed militia Kataeb Hezbollah is telling Iraqi security forces to abandon their “duty to protect” the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and other locations where Americans work with Iraqis. “Iranian-owned [Kataeb Hezbollah] thugs are telling Iraqi security forces to abandon their duty to protect [the U.S. Embassy Baghdad] and other locations where Americans work side by side with good Iraqi people,” Pompeo said. “The Iranian regime telling Iraq’s government what to do puts Iraqi patriots’ lives at risk.” Pompeo went on to say that the Iraqi citizens want to dissociate from Iran. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/pompeo-hezbollah-iraq-security-forces-to-abandon-duty-protect-americans-us-embassy-baghdad) “The Iraqi people want out from under the Iranian yoke; indeed, they recently burned an Iranian consulate to the ground,” Pompeo added.

Newsline: Rockets Fall Near U.S. Embassy In Baghdad

Multiple rockets fell in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy, and at an air force base outside the city on Saturday, several outlets have reported. No casualties have been reported so far. The Iraqi military confirmed in a statement on Saturday afternoon that the Green Zone and Balad Air Base had been targeted along with an additional location, the neighborhood of Jadriya in Baghdad, south of the Green Zone. An American spokesman confirmed that rocket attacks occurred in Baghdad and at the Balad Air Base. “Several rockets targeting Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad Air Base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the statement said, according to a translation done by Reuters. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rockets-green-zone-balad-air-base-baghdad_n_5e10d1f3e4b0b2520d223706) At Balad Air Base, an Iraqi base that also houses American troops and contractors, two Soviet-era Katyusha rockets exploded, Reuters reported. Although it was not clear who fired the rockets on Saturday, the reported attacks come after Iran vowed to retaliate against the U.S. for a Thursday night airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a powerful figure in the Middle East who helmed an elite military force.