From the U.S. Embassy in Iraq:

The U.S. State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, both at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq.

Issued 2 November, 2017:

U.S. Mission Iraq has received credible threat information that the Baghdad Mall may be the target of a terrorist attack.  U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the Baghdad Mall.

As a reminder, U.S. citizens should maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq.

Please review the “Iraq Travel Warning” posted on the U.S. State Department’s website:  http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/iraq-travel-warning.html, and remember that U.S. citizens remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence in Iraq.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Iraq Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, located on Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad, at 0770 443-1286  (+964 770-443-1286 from outside Iraq) 24 hours a day to report an emergency, and 0760-030-4400 (+964 760-030-4400) for pre-recorded information regarding services for U.S. citizens.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Iraq)

U.S. Embassy Baghdad is aware of reports of increased threats of attacks in Baghdad during the Eid Al-Adha holiday.

In response, the U.S. Embassy has restricted movement of its employees from September 1 – 5 outside of the international zone in Baghdad.

In addition, the U.S. Embassy is restricting movement of its employees on September 11 outside of the international zone in Baghdad as a precaution given a possible heightened risk of attack on this anniversary.

As a reminder, U.S. citizens should maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq.

Please review the “Iraq Travel Warning” posted on the U.S. State Department’s website:  http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/iraq-travel-warning.html, and remember that U.S. citizens remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence in Iraq.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Iraq Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, located on Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad, at 0770 443-1286 (+964 770-443-1286 from outside Iraq) 24 hours a day to report an emergency, and 0760-030-4400 (+964 760-030-4400) for pre-recorded information regarding services for U.S. citizens.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

(Source: U.S. Embassy)

U.S. Embassy Baghdad is aware of reports of threats to target U.S. government officials and other civilians for kidnapping.

In response, the U.S. Embassy has temporarily restricted movement of its employees outside of the international zone in Baghdad, as well as outside of U.S. Consulate Basrah.

As a reminder, U.S. citizens should maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq.

Please review the “Iraq Travel Warning” posted on the U.S. State Department’s website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/iraq-travel-warning.html, and remember that U.S. citizens remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence in Iraq.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Iraq Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, located on Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad, at 0770 443-1286  (+964 770-443-1286 from outside Iraq) 24 hours a day to report an emergency, and 0760-030-4400 (+964 760-030-4400) for pre-recorded information regarding services for U.S. citizens.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

(Source: U.S. Embassy Baghdad)

By John Lee.

United States President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order banning people from six mainly Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Unlike the order signed in January, which was blocked by the courts, this new order removes Iraq from the list, but imposes additional vetting for Iraqis.

Importantly, green card holders are not barred from entry, and immigration officials will have the authority to issue waivers on a case-by-case basis.

With regard to Iraq, the order states:

Iraq presents a special case.  Portions of Iraq remain active combat zones.  Since 2014, ISIS has had dominant influence over significant territory in northern and central Iraq.  Although that influence has been significantly reduced due to the efforts and sacrifices of the Iraqi government and armed forces, working along with a United States-led coalition, the ongoing conflict has impacted the Iraqi government’s capacity to secure its borders and to identify fraudulent travel documents.  Nevertheless, the close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected Iraqi government, the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of United States forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq.  In particular, those Iraqi government forces that have fought to regain more than half of the territory previously dominated by ISIS have shown steadfast determination and earned enduring respect as they battle an armed group that is the common enemy of Iraq and the United States.  In addition, since Executive Order 13769 was issued, the Iraqi government has expressly undertaken steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal.  Decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety …

“Additional Inquiries Related to Nationals of Iraq.  An application by any Iraqi national for a visa, admission, or other immigration benefit should be subjected to thorough review, including, as appropriate, consultation with a designee of the Secretary of Defense and use of the additional information that has been obtained in the context of the close U.S.-Iraqi security partnership, since Executive Order 13769 was issued, concerning individuals suspected of ties to ISIS or other terrorist organizations and individuals coming from territories controlled or formerly controlled by ISIS.  Such review shall include consideration of whether the applicant has connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations or with territory that is or has been under the dominant influence of ISIS, as well as any other information bearing on whether the applicant may be a threat to commit acts of terrorism or otherwise threaten the national security or public safety of the United States.”

The full executive order can be viewed here.

It comes into effect on 16th March.

By John Lee.

A US Federal Court has has issued a temporary nationwide block on President Donald Trump’s ban on travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Judge James L Robart (pictured) ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, and it has been lifted with immediate effect.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described the ruling as “outrageous“.

A video of the court proceedings can be viewed here.

(Sources: BBC News, Reuters, The Independent)