U.S. Evacuating Baghdad Embassy, Which Isn't a Good Sign for Iraq's Stability
Things in Iraq aren't getting much better. On Sunday, the U.S. announced it's evacuating staffers from the Baghdad embassy, not a promising sign in the wake of violence that has rent the country over the past week. The embassy is the U.S.'s biggest, according to The New York Times, with about 5,500 staffers. Still, a "substantial majority" of the embassy's staff will stay in Baghdad despite the violence, according to a State Department statement.
As a result of ongoing instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq, Embassy Baghdad is reviewing its staffing requirements in consultation with the State Department. Some additional U.S. government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated – both to our Consulate Generals in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman.
The State Department didn't say how many staffers they'd move out of the heavily-protected embassy. The announcement came on the same day as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released graphic, unverified photos the militant group claims show the execution of 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers.
ISIS also reportedly took control of the northwest city of Tal Afar on Sunday.
And former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday that the west should interfere in the conflict and assist the Iraqi government in fighting off the militant group, which is extremist and formerly associated with Al Qaeda. The Guardian reported that Blair said the following in a TV appearance Sunday morning after penning a controversial blog post rejecting the idea that the West's intervention in Iraq had something to do with the country's current conflict, instead blaming unrest in Syria for the violence.
It is in our interests for this jihadist extremist group to be stopped in its tracks. I understand entirely why people say, "It is nothing to do with us, and I don't want to hear about it."