Tuesday, September 10, 2013

U.S. Embassy in Iraq Warns of 'Threats' Related to Potential Syria Attack

    A few hours before midnight in Iraq as September 11 approached, the US Embassy in Baghdad posted an Emergency Message warning "U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq."  Although the notice referenced the anniversary of 9/11, the main reason for the warning is apparent threats against U.S. interests and workers in Iraq due to the potential U.S. military action against Syria:
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens 
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq.  Due to heightened safety and security risks and the ongoing threat of terrorist activities throughout Iraq, the U.S. government remains highly concerned about the danger to U.S. citizens, whether visiting or residing in Iraq, and to U.S. facilities and businesses.  Threats against U.S. interests, U.S. assets, and foreign companies employing U.S. personnel in Iraq have been reported, related to a possible U.S. military strike on Syria. 
On the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the need for caution and awareness of personal security.  U.S. citizens in Iraq should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
    Just a few days ago, the FBI and Homeland Security reported no credible threats related to the upcoming anniversary, according to Fox News.  Tuesday's embassy warning did not give any further detail of the threats in Iraq.  The latest travel warning on the Iraq page of the main State Department travel website is from September 5 and does not include the reference to Syria.

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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