This afternoon the United States government confirmed the use of armed U.S.drones over Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad. The move was made in response to the ISIS militants who have secured plenty of real estate, and claimed hundreds of lives, in Iraq on their march towards the city. There is potential danger to the U.S. embassy and its occupants, located inside the city.
In addition to the 100 U.S. Marines that normally protect the embassy, last week the U.S. sent a contingent of 275 Marines from Camp Lejeune N.C. This week 180 U.S. military advisers were deployed to assist Iraqi generals in their quest to thwart the militant murderers. U.S. warships with a full compliment of cruise missiles and assorted aircraft, stand ready in the Persian Gulf.
Also inside the embassy compound are dozens of private contractors hired for security after American troops got the boot at the end of 2011 when the last of the U.S. combat troops made their exit. Most non-essential staff left the embassy last week.
Thanks to war correspondents now in Iraq, Americans are now on high-alert with the current crisis; however “boots on the ground” say the militants have been raising havoc in the region since March. One security contractor who reached out to this writer said tensions are running extremely high inside the compound.
On Wednesday, the Iraqi Ministry of Communications shut down incoming broadcasts from CNN and C-SPAN to televisions inside the embassy. Insider sources say they hear very little on the situation outside the compound.
“Frankly we have no idea what to believe other than what we are told. ‘The situation remains the same’.”
Exterior check points are still being conducted by security forces who have been working around the clock since it was learned that the ISIS militants had Baghdad in their cross hairs.
After storming through the cities of Mosul, Tikrit, and Ramadi the Sunni militants took control of several oil fields and shelled the airbase at Balad; formerly known as Camp Anaconda after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Reportedly, they are just a few miles from the “crown jewel” of their conquests, Baghdad City, driving old U.S. armored vehicles and armed with U.S. military issue M4s.
Those inside the embassy compound report hearing bombs and shooting nearby, although since they are in a communication blackout, they have no way of knowing if what they are hearing is coming from the ISIS terrorists.
This writer has an anonymous source inside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Operational security deems that most information remain confidential.