After the break-in at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, President Trump warned Iran that they “will pay a very BIG PRICE!”
“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” Trump posted on his social media account Tuesday afternoon. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”
The president blamed Iran for the embassy breach where dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters invaded the U.S. Embassy by smashing the main entry door and setting the reception area on fire, in one of the worst attacks the embassy has experienced in recent years.
President Trump spent the holiday break in Florida, and said he was in “close touch” with the situation. According to White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, he received regular updates from his national security team, and is ready to make any necessary decisions.
“As the president said, Iran is orchestrating this attack, and they will be held fully responsible,” Grisham said via email. “It will be the president’s choice how and when we respond to their escalation.”
The State Department indicated that all American personnel were safe at the time, and there were no reports of casualties and no immediate plans to evacuate the embassy. In fact, the government plans to send additional troops to protect the compound.
Fox News was told by a U.S. defense official that 100 Marines had been sent to the embassy for extra security. In addition, a U.S. Apache helicopter gunship flew over the embassy and dropped flares in a “show of force,” to attempt to disperse the crowd. Mark Esper, U.S. Defense Secretary, also confirmed additional forces were being sent, as the military released images the troops deploying from Kuwait.
The attack on the embassy followed U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. The U.S. military indicated that the strikes were in retaliation for the killing last week of an American contractor on an Iraqi military base that the U.S. has blamed on the militia.
“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!” Trump posted via his social media account on Tuesday.
It is no secret that Iraq has struggled throughout the years to balance its ties with the U.S. and Iran, which are both allies of the Iraqi government. The angry reaction from Iraq’s government to the recent U.S. airstrikes and their decision not to stand up and prevent the protesters from reaching the U.S. embassy indicates a strong deterioration of the current relationship between the U.S. and Iraq.