Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, based out of 29 Palms, California is the infantry unit currently assigned to secure the U.S Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
U.S. Central Command reported Tuesday, a detachment of 100 Marines was sent to the embassy after Iraq protesters stormed the compound. The protesters are supportive of an Iran-backed Shiite militia.
The U.S. State Department requested the Marines be deployed according to the Military Times by Central Command spokesman Mike Lawhorn. In addition to the Marines, two Army Apache attack helicopters were sent in to provide over watch.
The Marines from 2/7 according to a tweet are from a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces Crisis Response — Central Command in Kuwait. The Apaches according to Lawhorn came from Taji, Iraq.
A video posted by Army OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III shows the Apaches protecting the embassy VIDEO: AH-64 Apaches protect @USEmbBaghdad.
Caggins reported, “We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens…and to ensure our right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”
VIDEO: AH-64 Apaches protect @USEmbBaghdad. ????“We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens…and to ensure our right of self-defense. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”~@EsperDoD ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/amABHBAOcL
— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) December 31, 2019
MV-22 Ospreys delivered the U.S. Marines to the US Embassy in Baghdad to reinforce security and ensure the safety of American citizens.
President Donald Trump warned Iran on Tuesday they will be held accountable for the protesters attacking the embassy in Baghdad. In a response to the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
The protests by the Iraqis were a reaction to five airstrikes conducted Sunday by the U.S. in Iraq and Syria, which took out 25 fighters connected to Kataeb Hezbollah. Kataeb Hezbollah is an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. Many of the protesters were seen carrying flags supporting Kataeb Hezbollah when storming the embassy in Baghdad.
A U.S. civilian contractor was killed Friday and several American service members were injured from a rocket attack at an Iraqi coalition base in Kirkuk. The U.S. accuses the Iraqi Shiite militia as being behind Friday’s attack in Kirkuk. However, Iran has rejected the accusations it was involved in any recent attacks.
Congressman Ken Calvert (R-42) from California wrote, “Iran’s continued aggression against US troops and our interests must be stopped. I applaud the strikes against the Kata’ib Hizbollah militia which is backed by Iran’s Quds Force.“
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday, “We responded defensively to the Iranian proxy attack that killed an American citizen and wounded American and Iraqi soldiers. Now, Iranian backed groups are threatening our Embassy in Baghdad.”
The Associated Press reported the Iraqi Shite militia knocked down the embassy’s main door and protestors cried, “Down, Down, USA!” They set on fire the reception areas of the embassy and used vehicles to smash through the gate. The protesters also hung a poster on a wall that read, “America is an aggressor.”
Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from California responded to the recent attacks: “Watching the situation in Baghdad closely. Our patriotic diplomats, service members and the U.S. Embassy deserve protection from the Iraqi host government and smart, strong national security strategy from U.S. leaders. Escalation and violence must end.“
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, who served in the Air Force, posted four tweets to clarify Trump will not allow another Benghazi.
Tweet one, “He has put the world on notice — there will be no Benghazis on his watch.”
Tweet Two: “To the Iranian government:Be careful what you wish for — a country that depends on the ability to refine oil for its existence needs to be cautious.”
Tweet Three: “President Trump, unlike President Obama, will hold you accountable for threats against Americans and hit you where it hurts the most. Choose your battles wisely.”
Tweet Four: ”To our Iraqi allies: This is your moment to convince the American people the US-Iraq relationship is meaningful to you and worth protecting. Protect our American personnel. You will not regret it.”
President Trump, unlike President Obama, will hold you accountable for threats against Americans and hit you where it hurts the most.
Choose your battles wisely.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 31, 2019