January 01, 2020

Ranking Member Menendez Statement on Attack on U.S. Embassy Compound in Baghdad

NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq:

“I condemn in the strongest and most forceful of terms these violent attacks against the American Embassy in Baghdad, and the Iranians who are backing this siege.  The top priority for the United States must remain ensuring that our American diplomats and personnel at Embassy Baghdad are protected and secure. The Iraqis are also obligated to protect the United States diplomats and our embassy. I call on all Iraqis, including the government and security forces, to continue our partnership with American security forces and diplomatic personnel to restore security and order.

These protests are also destabilizing Iraq. For weeks, the Iraqi people have taken to the streets demanding accountability from their government and rejecting Iranian influence. From Iraq to Lebanon to Syria, people are rising up against ongoing, unacceptable, malign Iranian activity responsible for violence and instability across the region. The United States should remain committed to working with our partners in Iraq in support of a stable, independent country that is resilient to terrorism and nefarious interference. While the Trump Administration has touted its maximum pressure campaign against Iran, the results so far have been more threats against international commerce, emboldened and more violent proxy attacks across the Middle East, and now, the death of an American citizen in Iraq.

I call on the Administration to immediately provide Congress a detailed explanation of how this security failure happened and a plan of action for protecting our diplomats, including:

  • Current staffing levels at Embassy Baghdad and any other U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq, including both diplomatic, security, and other personnel;
  • Current security posture at Embassy Baghdad and elsewhere in the region;
  • Plans for the safe and secure evacuation, if any, of embassy and other U.S. personnel;
  • Plans for the safety and security of locally employed staff; and
  • Threat indicators leading up to the attack, embassy and Department of State consideration of any threat indicators, and any changes to security posture in response to such indicators.”

 

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