That sounds like a stupid question except that the attack on the Benghazi consulate netted an ambassador with no response from America. As part of that round of September 11 anniversary attacks, consulates and embassies were targeted in the region with little pushback.
And the Afghanistan disaster happened in no small part because there was no evacuation plan.
Biden had made it a “priority” to maintain an embassy in Kabul even after he had withdrawn the troops and the country was on the verge of falling to the advancing Taliban terror forces.
“POTUS was publicly making it clear that this was a priority. Ambassador Wilson began stating that ‘I am maniacal about the Embassy remaining in Kabul,’” a military officer described.
Secretary of State Blinken and other State Department officials in D.C. and in Kabul refused to consider the possibility of a Taliban takeover. Only Blinken and his department could order an evacuation, and they refused to seriously plan for one until a week before the fall of Kabul.
Military officials were prevented from even discussing an evacuation, being told, “don’t say NEO” and “This is not a NEO for Afghanistan.” NEO stands for Non-Combatant Evacuation.
Do we have a plan in Baghdad?
Biden administration officials on Monday expressed concern about the violence unfolding in Iraq but denied that personnel were being evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, called reports of unrest throughout the country “disturbing” and expressed concern that “Iraqi institutions are not being allowed to function.”
But, Kirby said, reports of the U.S. Embassy being under threat are “false.”
“There’s no evacuation going on at the embassy and no indication that’s going to be required at this time,” Kirby told reporters on a call on Monday.
Considering that this is the same gang that was assuring us that everything was fine in Kabul, that’s not much to go on. Personally, I don’t think the situation at this point will melt down on such a scale. But these folks are not reassuring.
“These reports are false,” a State Department spokesperson told The War Zone in a statement in response to queries about the evacuation claims. “Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel, U.S. citizens, and the security of our facilities remains our highest priority.”
Sure. Just like in Afghanistan.
Unlike Kabul, the Baghdad embassy has been on the firing line forever. Iraq is in a state of permanent civil war and this sort of thing happens every now and then. The embassy has been targeted by drones, mortars, terrorists and riots.
The United States is sending about 650 soldiers to the Middle East after thousands of people stormed the compound of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday night.
Esper said President Donald Trump ordered the deployment, which came from an infantry battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. More personnel are on standby to deploy if they’re needed, he said.
The deployment was announced after a U.S. official with knowledge of the situation said on condition of anonymity that some of the thousands of protesters who stormed the embassy compound made it as far as the main reception area before startled Iraqi police joined embassy security forces to repel them.
The demonstration, which began at about 11 a.m. (3 a.m. ET), grew to as many as 6,000 people, most of them affiliated with Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite militia group, officials said. The United States blames the militia for attacks on bases of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in recent months.
The “main reception area”. Not very reassuring. But Trump sent in forces quickly. Based on what happened in Kabul, I doubt that Biden would.
The proximity to Kuwait means that personnel are available and can reach Baghdad fairly quickly, but that requires rapid decision making and we saw in Benghazi and Kabul how Obama and Biden dragged their feet. And getting military forces in isn’t the same thing as being able to evacuate civilians. After Kabul, there’s no reason to think Biden or the State Department have a handle on that or would be willing to militarily intervene to get our people out.
And the enemy now knows it too.