The Washington Post

What’s happening with the U.S. diplomats and contractors in Iraq?

U.S. diplomatic offices in Iraq were operating as usual as of Thursday, but American contractors began evacuating their employees from the Baghdad region as insurgent fighters threatened to advance on the capital after capturing key cities in the North.

The State Department said Thursday that American contractors are “being temporarily relocated by their companies due to security concerns in the area.” But spokeswoman Marie Harf said Friday that staffing for the U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq has not changed. 


Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on the situation in Iraq, where Islamic militants have stormed into the northern part of the country, leaving it on the brink of collapse. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

The U.S. has kept its diplomatic mission in Iraq open for the past few years despite growing violence and increasing signs that the government cannot control the unrest.

A May 2013 report from the State Department’s inspector general said the diplomatic mission there is a test bed for “a new approach to U.S. overseas presence, often called expeditionary diplomacy,” which requires “an unprecedented level of security and life support.” 

U.S. personnel in Iraq largely consist of diplomats and embassy staff, as well as private security personnel and military advisers to the Iraqi government, according to an article in The Washington Post’s Checkpoint blog.

The State Department said in January that it had about 5,500 contractors, including 2,000 U.S. citizens, working at the Embassy in Baghdad, according to a Foreign Policy report.

Roughly 200 U.S. Marines and private security contractors guard the embassy, according to a Checkpoint article.

Pentagon officials have said that about 250 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, with about half of them being Marine Corps security guards for the embassy. Many of the others are there to advise the Iraqi military.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks(at)washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye and The Fed Page for more federal news. Submit news tips and suggestions to federalworker@washpost.com.

 

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect at tonight's debate
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the issues with drinking water in Flint, Mich. But Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz as he heads into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Clinton in New Hampshire: 2008 vs. 2015
Hillary Clinton did about as well in N.H. this year as she did in 2008, percentage-wise. In the state's main counties, Clinton performed on average only about two percentage points worse than she did eight years ago (according to vote totals as of Wednesday morning) -- and in five of the 10 counties, she did as well or better.
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.