Fears Of War With Iran As US Orders All Non-Emergency Personnel To Leave Iraq

The State Department  has ordered the withdrawal of its “non-emergency” staff from Iraq.

On Wednesday, the US embassy in Baghdad advised those employees to leave Iraq by commercial transportation “as soon as possible.”

The move comes amid escalating tensions between the US and Iraq’s neighbor Iran.

Both Germany and the Netherlands suspended military training in Iraq, citing escalating security risks in the Gulf.

The US evacuation has alarmed some EU politicians, who say they are concerned that Washington might go to war against Tehran and called on Europe to prevent such an outcome.

RT reports: Some government employees are set to leave the embassy in Baghdad, as well as the US Consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Normal visa services will be temporarily suspended.

American nationals were advised to avoid US government sites in Iraq and leave the country “as soon as possible.”

On Sunday, the embassy warned of “heightened tensions” in Iraq and called on US citizens there to “remain vigilant.”

The move comes a week after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of “very specific threats” coming from “Iranian activity” in Iraq. These threats pose a “substantial risk” for US diplomatic outposts and servicemen stationed in the country, he told Sky News after visiting Baghdad.

Washington had earlier deployed the aircraft carrier USS ‘Abraham Lincoln’ to the Persian Gulf. White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said it was meant to convey a message to Iran that the US is prepared for any attacks on its interests.

Baghdad, meanwhile, continues to be plagued by terrorist attacks. On Thursday, a bomb went off at a marketplace, killing eight people. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed the responsibility for the blast.