The US is telling its citizens to get out of Iraq, but didn't mention that its own airstrike is to blame
- Tensions in the Gulf region soared to new heights after the US killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday morning local time.
- Iran has vowed to take revenge on the US over Soleimani's death, effectively threatening US civilians and troops in the Middle East.
- The US has warned citizens to leave Iraq immediately, but cited "heightened tensions" without mentioning the airstrike.
- US allies including the UK, France, and Germany said on Friday that the Soleimani strike is making the world more dangerous.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The US is warning citizens to leave Iraq immediately, citing "heightened tensions" in the surrounding region while not mentioning that its own airstrike was the trigger.
"Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.
"US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land," the US Embassy in Baghdad wrote in a Friday advisory.
"Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy."
The US State Department echoed the warning in a Friday morning tweet.
However, the statement did not mention the airstrike, conducted Friday morning local time, that killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Iran's leadership has vowed to take revenge, and the country has multiple unconventional ways to do so, ranging from cyberattacks on US networks to assaults on US forces in the Gulf region.
The US strike on Soleimani came days after protesters angered by US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria hurled stones and demonstrated outside the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, to which US forces responded by firing tear gas.
Pompeo says Americans are 'much safer,' but allies warn of a 'more dangerous world'
According to the Pentagon, the attack on Soleimani had been a "decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday morning: "The world is a much safer place today. And I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer today after the demise of Qassem Soleimani."
But given Iran's insistence to fight back, and the US urgent warning to get Americans out of the region, it looks like Trump's airstrike is achieving the opposite effect.
Many US allies are also warning that the Soleimani strike will risk the world going to war.
"We are waking up in a more dangerous world," France's deputy minister of foreign affairs told the local RTL radio on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press.
Similarly, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called for de-escalation and warned that war with Iran is "in none of our interests."
Ulrike Demmer, a spokeswoman for the German government, also said that "we are at a dangerous escalation point," the AP reported. Russia's foreign ministry called the strike "a reckless step that will lead to escalating tensions in the whole region."
- Read more:
- Iran has vowed revenge on the US after Trump's airstrike killed its top military commander. Here's how it could happen.
- Iran has been planning a counter-strike on the US for decades. Trump just lit the fuse.
- Photos and videos show the aftermath of the US rocket strike that took out Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani
- Trump tweets predicting Obama would start a war with Iran to get reelected are coming back to haunt him
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Jacob Zuma visited a Capitec branch with Dudu Myeni this week – causing a ‘commotion’
- An investment in this SA giant a year ago would have delivered an incredible 290% return
- Leave days: How to make the most of SA's public holidays this year - including turning your Easter break into 10 days off
- The petrol price doubled over the past decade - with fuel tax jumping 132%
- Speculation is running wild on how former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in an instrument case aboard a private jet
- Here’s what the top Apple and Samsung smart(ish) phones looked like 10 years ago
- The Polo Vivo has been SA’s favourite car for a decade – and it hasn’t really increased in price
- Revealed: The most Googled terms in South Africa over the past decade