US report: Washington is seeking to make withdrawal from its embassy in Baghdad always


 2019/07/13 08:10:16

Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo is seeking to make the withdrawal from his country’s embassy in Baghdad always, according to an exclusive report by Foreign Policy magazine quoting sources at the State Department.

Pompeo ordered in May a partial evacuation of diplomats from the US embassy in Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Now, many foreign officials say they have been told that reducing the number of embassy staff will always be a reality, a step that could leave only a few of the staff of the US embassy to take on important tasks, such as confronting Iran on the diplomatic front. In the short term, In the Washington area without an embassy to return to.

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 under way.”

But three other officials from the ministry 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 Foreign Ministry staff in Iraq.

“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.”

However, only a small part of its staff are directly engaged in basic diplomatic functions, including political, economic and public diplomacy officials, and 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.

The State Department spokesman did not confirm or deny the number of remaining employees, saying the foreign policy was not to disclose staffing levels for security reasons.

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