US magazine seeks US diplomatic withdrawal from Iraq[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Sunday / 14 / July - 2019
Word - follow up
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seeking to permanently withdraw from his country's embassy in Baghdad, diplomatic sources said.
In May, Pompeo ordered a partial evacuation of diplomats from the US embassy in Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran, the magazine Foreign Policy quoted sources as saying.
Many foreign officials now say they have been told that a reduction in the number of embassy staff will always be a reality, a move that could leave only a few embassy staff to take up important tasks, such as confronting Iran on the diplomatic front, and in the short term it may be stranded by hundreds Diplomats in the region without an embassy are returning.
A spokesman for the State Department said that the description of the withdrawal was "inaccurate" and said: "No decision has been made on permanent staffing levels but a review of staff is underway."
But three other ministry officials said, on condition of anonymity, that the staffing levels at the Baghdad embassy, reached after last May's evacuation, were treated as a de facto permanent ceiling for State Department staff in Iraq, according to the American magazine.
"They have already made a political decision to not return these people," a senior ministry official familiar with the internal deliberations told the magazine.
"But they do not actually describe it as a withdrawal, they just say they are reviewing the departure order."
The magazine noted that the embassy still has an estimated staff of thousands, but only a small part of its staff are directly engaged in basic diplomatic functions, including political, economic and public diplomacy officials. The majority are contractors, security personnel or officials from other federal agencies , Including the intelligence community.
After the partial evacuation, two officials told the magazine that the embassy had fewer than 15 foreign officials who had been directly involved in basic diplomatic missions.
He did not confirm the State Department spokesman or deny the number of employees remaining, and said that the foreign policy is not to disclose levels of employment for security reasons.
This information is part of the repercussions of Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Tehran more than a year ago and the imposition of sanctions on Tehran, which caused tension in the region amid Iranian threats to work to stop Gulf oil exports and gradually disengage from its nuclear commitments and threaten US interests in the region.
The United States and Gulf states accuse Iran of targeting two oil tankers near Hormuz in June, two pumping stations in Saudi Arabia less than a month earlier, and supporting the Houthi militia in Yemen. Tehran denies this.
The nuclear deal was concluded in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany; and international sanctions against Tehran for curbing its nuclear program.
However, the administration of US President Donald Trump considered the agreement "bad" and came out of it in order to negotiate a new formula with greater restrictions, including missile programs and regional interventions for Iran.