A New US Embassy in Iraq?

Security issues aside, Washington is letting Baghdad know that it can and perhaps will reduce its footprint.

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Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi received a phone call that he had been dreading since he took the premiership in May. On the line was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said Washington was considering moving its embassy in Baghdad either to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, or to the al-Asad airbase. The relocation, Pompeo said, was a matter of security. Attacks by Iran-backed militias had been on the rise since the U.S. killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, earlier this year, but rocket attacks intensified dramatically this summer. But the prospect of moving isn’t anchored solely in safety concerns. The U.S. is signaling that it is fed up with Iraqi security structures that house militant organizations loyal to Iran that often serve Tehran’s interests. It also reflects Washington’s desire to scale down its presence in the Middle East, and exemplifies the Iraqi government’s struggle to play the zero-sum game against Iran-backed militias that the U.S. wants it to play. Close Calls The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is situated in the Green Zone, a fortified compound of foreign diplomatic missions and Iraqi government buildings. During the global war on terror and […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.