The United States Department of State ordered an ordered departure of non-emergency government personnel from Iraq on January 1, 2020. The order covered all US citizens, including military personnel, who do not perform emergency or critical functions. The Department of State also ordered a limited departure of all embassy and US personnel from Iraq in anticipation of the threat of potential Iranian-backed militia group attacks.
The order follows heightened tensions in the region after a US targeted drone strike in Iraq killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Over the past week, Iran has threatened to retaliate for the attack and call for revenge for Soleimani’s death.