Chaos: Iran-Backed Mob Storms U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
As of Tuesday afternoon, a chaotic, deadly scene was still playing out in Baghdad as an Iran-backed militia has taken siege of the U.S. Embassy compound. Purportedly protesting recent American airstrikes in the region, the protesters were chanting “Down, Down USA” as they broke through the main gate. Sounds of gunfire ripped through the Iraqi capital as U.S. soldiers were seen standing on the roof of the embassy, rifles drawn, with the tense situation still unfolding at the perimeter of the compound.
President Donald Trump was quick to denounce the mob action and lay the blame with Tehran.
“Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible,” Trump tweeted. “In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
The embassy attack is the latest in a series of escalating violent episodes involving Iranian fighters in Iraq. The series began last week when an American contractor was killed by a rocket attack fired off by Iran-backed militia Kataeb Hezbollah. The U.S. then retaliated with air strikes that killed 25 fighters belonging to the militia. Many of the “protesters” storming the embassy on Tuesday were seen wearing the militia uniforms of Hezbollah.
In unfortunate remarks to the AP, Iraqi Interior Minister Yassine al-Yasseri said that the prime minister had warned that there would be a violent backlash to airstrikes against the Shiite militia.
“This is one of the implications,” he said. “This is a problem and is embarrassing to the government.”
Well, that kind of cowardly attitude tells you a great deal about why Iran has been able to secure a powerful foothold in the neighboring nation. Apparently it is better to let Shiite militias have the run of the place than to suffer an “embarrassing” incident like this.
Frustrated over comments like these – to say nothing of Iraq’s reluctance to proactively break up the mob demonstration – the State Department told reporters that the government over there was on thin ice.
“We have warned the Iraqi government many times, and we’ve shared information with them to try to work with them to carry out their responsibility to protect us, as their invited guests,” a State Department official said. “It’s their responsibility and duty to protect us, and they have not taken the appropriate steps to do so.”
Through Iranian state media, the IRGC raised the prospect of further attacks.
“Naturally, the brave people and heroic Hashd al-Sha’bi forces of Iraq reserve the right to retaliate and give [proportionate] response to the recent big crime of Americans according to international laws and conventions,” the IRGC said Monday.
Iran is pushing their limits. They may find, with this president, that the line is drawn more closely than they think.