UK And US Evacuate Non-Essential Personnel From Iraq As US-Iran Tensions Increase

US-Iran Tensions
A Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln in the Red Sea (Photo: Reuters)

Shortly after the United States announced that it was increasing the threat level for its forces in Iraq, the United Kingdom immediately followed suit.

UK government officials reportedly informed its own forces and diplomats to increase their threat levels following reports of Iran-backed militias now mobilizing near the country.

The United States was the first to announce that it would be moving all of its non-essential personnel from its embassy and consulates in Iraq back home. Just a day after that, the UK issued a similar order to its own people in the country. The move was instigated by reports that Iran-backed militias were apparently moving their rockets near US bases in Iraq.

Apart from its personnel in Iraq, the UK also issued an order to its people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to increase their state of alert.

Military sources claimed that there could be an increased risk that Iran and its proxies may take action against UK and US forces in the Middle East. UK military officials likely came up with the same conclusion and resorted to evacuating its non-essential personnel following the recent actions of the Trump administration against the Iranian regime.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently revealed the country's military plan of sending more than 120,000 troops to the Middle East as a precautionary measure should Iran attack. The US also moved a number of its military assets to the Gulf region, which includes B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile interceptor battery, and the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.

The action was instigated by Iran recent threat to pull out of the nuclear deal, which means that may continue its uranium enrichment efforts. The US has so far imposed sanctions on the country's oil imports. Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Zarif mentioned just this week that they have found Trump's sanctions unacceptable and uncalled for. Iran has apparently exercised "maximum restraints" over the US' actions against it.

The deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, Major Gen Chris Ghika, mentioned that Iran could issue orders to attack oil infrastructure and other civilian targets through its proxies. This could give the country plausible deniability to avoid retaliation.

Military experts have speculated that the recent attack on four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend could have been perpetrated by Iran through its proxies. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has already accused Iran of ordering terrorist attacks on its oil pipelines despite Yemen's Houthi rebels claiming responsibility. 

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