Tags: Iran | Iraq | Middle East | Trump Administration | mike pompeo | embassy | attack

Pompeo: No Plans to Evacuate Embassy, Pull Out Troops

secretary of state of mike pompeo looks up pensively
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 31 December 2019 07:17 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a one-word answer Tuesday when asked if the U.S. has plans to evacuate its embassy in Baghdad after dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy compound, or if troops were to be pulled out of Iraq: "None." 

"What we saw was Iranian-backed terrorists," Pompeo told Fox News' Mike Emanuel. "We saw President [Donald] Trump drop a quick, decisive, prudent response by making sure we have all the resources necessary to keep our people safe and secure the compound as well."

The Pentagon and State Department on Tuesday said the U.S. is sending more troops to protect the Baghdad embassy but is not planning an evacuation.

The extra force, consisting of a small additional detachment of Marine security guards, will be from the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, which is trained to provide security at U.S. diplomatic missions, according to officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. has taken actions to "ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel, and diplomats" and to "ensure our right of self-defense" when confirming the decision.

Fox News also reported Tuesday the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division's alert brigade has been issued deployment order to Kuwait amid the unrest. The divisions Deployment Ready Brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers has been told to pack for possible deployment, and at least 500 paratroopers are already on their way to Kuwait, Fox News also reported. 

Pompeo said the deployments have to be put into a "larger context."

"This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran engaged in global terror campaigns," said Pompeo, adding the Iranian regime has "dreams" of nuclear weapons and capability for nuclear enrichment.

"The previous administration provided lots of money that was used for that nuclear program," said Pompeo, referring to the multinational Iran Nuclear Agreement, which included the release of sanctions that resulted in the unfreezing of billions of dollars in Iranian assets.

Much of the cash, Pompeo added, has been used by Iran to finance "terror all over the world" and to finance Iran's missile program. 

"The Trump administration has taken a different view," Pompeo said. "We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will continue to hold the Islamic Republican of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity and we will make sure we have the resources to do so.

"We have been working on convincing the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal nation," he continued. "We inherited a terrible nuclear deal; we inherited a terrible situation where the regime had a lot of money to foment bad things around the world. We have imposed an incredible economic burden; we have watched the Iranian people demand their leaders behave differently."

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. has no plans to evacuate its embassy in Baghdad or pull out troops from Iraq, after dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy compound.
mike pompeo, embassy, attack, secretary of state
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 07:17 PM
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