(Unsplash)

  • 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.
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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."


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