U.S. military forces in Iraq are standing by to help evacuate the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra after the State Department’s recent decision to temporarily close the facility because of threats made by Iranian forces.
“If American lives are at risk, then the [Defense Department] will take prudent steps to relocate the personnel from harm,” Army Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Military News reports.
“I have advised the Government of Iran that the United States will hold Iran directly responsible for any harm to Americans or to our diplomatic facilities in Iraq or elsewhere and whether perpetrated by Iranian forces directly or by associated proxy militias. ~ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Diplomatic staff and their families were being evacuated and consular services will be provided from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
The United States under President Trump will not have another Benghazi, they have shut down the consulate office and they have military units on ready to respond and evac.
As violence erupts through Basra from the protesters as they turn their rage on neighboring Iran, blaming its influence in Iraq’s political affairs for their misery. They stormed the Iranian consulate and set it on fire, causing significant damage.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it a “temporary relocation” in response to what he called “increasing and specific threats” from the Iranian government and militias under its control. He warned that the U.S. would respond to any more attacks.
Pompeo tweeted Tuesday that Iran-supported militias had launched the attacks, warning, “We’ll hold Iran’s regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives.”
The temporary closure of the Basra consulate comes as the Trump administration is increasing pressure on Iran ahead of powerful sanctions set to take effect in November, KTBS News reports.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.