The German Army suspends the training of local personnel in the country, also due to the growing tension between Washington and neighboring Iran.
The US State Department has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave their embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a context of growing tension between Washington and neighboring Iran. Meanwhile, the German Army has suspended the training of local personnel in Iraq, also due to growing regional tension.
The United States has raised the pressure on Iran in recent days. It accuses the country of planning “imminent” attacks in the region and has reinforced its military presence in the Gulf. As a result of this decision, visa issuance services will be temporarily suspended at the Consulates of Baghdad and Erbil, according to a statement from the Embassy.
In the note, which does not explain why the evacuation was ordered, it warns that the ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Iraq will be “limited” for the duration of the suspension. The Embassy has advised its citizens to leave Iraq “as soon as possible” by commercial means of transport, to avoid US installations in Iraq, to review their personal security plans and to be alert to local media.
The evacuation of the diplomatic personnel takes place in the midst of an increase in tension between Washington and Iran, a neighbor of Iraq and with great influence in Baghdad. In the last week, the US has felt the USS Abraham Lincoln, the amphibious assault ship USS Arlington, Patriot missiles and bombers to the Persian Gulf, after denouncing that it had detected “indications” of Iranian offensive plans against its forces and interests in the East Medium. Spain has withdrawn frigate Méndez Núñez from the US combat group in Persian Gulf.
For its part, Germany has suspended training operations for local personnel, which affects some 160 military deployed, according to the German news agency DPA. About a hundred are in the Kurdish area of the country, in the north and the rest in the military complex of Taji, north of Baghdad.
The decision to suspend the training work has to preventive nature, according to the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense, who denied that there are specific threats to German targets. He also indicated that they do not rule out that operations resume soon.
The suspension took place at the beginning of the week and in coordination with the partners of the coalition fighting against the self-styled Islamic State, according to Der Spiegel, quoting military circles. The representatives of Defense in the Bundestag were informed of the new movements in the area this Wednesday.
The US military expressed its concern on Tuesday about the existence of “imminent threats” by Iranian-backed forces against US troops in Iraq. Previously the British General Chris Ghika of the coalition that leads the USA in Iraq and Syria had contradicted the warnings sent by Washington.
Last September, the United States closed its consulate in Basra, in the south of the country, after shots were fired in the vicinity of the building, of which Washington blamed Iranian-backed militias. The shots in the vicinity of the Basra consulate occurred in the context of massive protests, triggered by a crisis in the water supply system, in which the Iranian consulate was also set on fire.