United States orders personnel to leave Iraq

Cheryl Sanders
May 18, 2019

"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq".

What do U.S. allies say?

On May 5, Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a B-52 bomber force to the Gulf.

The Trump administration recently declined to renew waivers from US sanctions to major importers of Iranian oil as part of an effort to force Teheran to negotiate on ceasing a range of activities, including its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as supporting terrorists and militants across the region.

Last May, the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal agreed in 2015 and subsequently reinstated sanctions against the country.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Berlin "still regards this nuclear agreement as the basis for Iran not having any nuclear weapons in the future, and we regard this as existential for our security".

An Iraqi official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Pompeo, in fact, delivered Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a flash drive with recordings of pro-Iranian Iraqi groups preparing to attack USA interests in the country.

Ruled by Shiite clerics, Iran has a strong influence in Iraq, especially in the country's Shiite-majority south.

"We are saddened to see the decisions taken by the Iranian side", Peskov said, while arguing that Washington has been provoking Iran.

"Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended", the department said.

On Sunday, mysterious attacks by unknown assailants against four ships in the region, including two from Saudi Arabia, sent war talk up another notch.

Democrats in Congress demanded that the Trump administration brief them on what it considers to be the Iran threat, warning that the U.S. legislature has not approved military action against Tehran.

The ongoing escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran started in early May, when the Trump administration claimed it had intelligence indicating a looming attack by Iranian forces against United States interests.

Britain's Major General Chris Ghika, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition fighting the jihadist Islamic State group, said Tuesday there was no special heightened alert.

Both Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Pompeo have this week played down fears that their countries were headed for conflict.

Is the U.S. preparing for war?

Iran subsequently designated all United States troops as "terrorists", effectively making them a potential target.

Playing down the statements by Washington's top diplomat, Kremlin spokesman Peskov told reporters: "There were no assurances from Pompeo", and "there is an obvious situation which unfortunately tends to escalate further".

Other reports by iNewsToday