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Trump Show of Strength Pays Off, Militants Reported Withdrawing from Baghdad Embassy Siege

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Looks like peace through strength paid off — this time.

Only a day after an attack by thousands of Iran-supporting militants on the United States Embassy in Iraq grabbed New Year’s Eve headlines around the world, those same militants were spending New Year’s Day withdrawing from the embassy grounds, according to media reports.

And it’s a good bet that the immediate response from the United States and President Donald Trump had a lot to do with it.

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Given the chaotic politics of the Middle East, of course, it might be too soon to declare a U.S. victory in a situation that had the potential to turn into a protracted crisis, but reports from The Washington Post and other media outlets appeared conclusive.

The militias supported by Iran’s government, which had attacked the embassy in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia near the Syrian border that killed 25 fighters, were pulling back from the embassy grounds Wednesday.

“The siege by supporters of an Iranian-backed militia at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad appeared to have ended Wednesday, after the militia ordered them to withdraw, bringing relief to the diplomats trapped inside and averting a potential showdown between the United States and Iran,” The Post reported.

“The last demonstrators began dismantling the tents they had erected in preparation for what could have become a long siege, intended to pressure the United States to pull its troops and diplomats out of Iraq. They said they planned to relocate to an area on the opposite bank of the Tigris River and establish a protest camp there.”

Do you think Trump deserves credit for pressuring the militants to withdraw from the U.S. Embassy?

Reuters quoted a statement from the Iraqi military:

“All protesters have withdrawn, tents dismantled, and other forms of demonstrating that accompanied these protests have ended and the Iraqi security forces have completely secured the embassy perimeter,” the statement read.

What a difference a day makes.

On Tuesday, the situation appeared dire, with pictures and video of militants laying siege to an American embassy that immediately called to mind the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran that signaled the beginning of a four-decade-long state of hostility between the United States and the murderous mullahs leading the Islamic Republican of Iran.

In those two incidents, however, the United States was under the leadership of Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter — two men who rival only each other for sheer ineptitude when it came to dealing with the threat posed to their country by Islamic terrorism.

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On Tuesday, with Trump in the White House, the United States’ response was immediate.

Instead of ignoring American calls for help, as Obama’s administration did in 2012, Trump’s military immediately dispatched 100 Marines to shore up security in the embassy.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division were called up for deployment and — for good measure — an Apache attack helicopter was flown over the militants surrounding the embassy compound on Tuesday.

And Trump himself made no bones about who he was holding responsible for the attack.

Those are not the words or actions of a country that is going to be intimidated, and clearly the message got through.

As The Post reported: “The apparent end to the siege came as U.S. troop reinforcements headed to the region. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said 750 soldiers from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division were en route to the Middle East and additional soldiers are expected to follow in the coming days.

“The U.S. military had earlier released photographs showing a contingent of around 100 Marines landing in the grounds of the embassy compound to reinforce the existing protection force there.”

None of this is to say the crisis is over in the big picture, of course. There’s no telling what the future holds.

And the combination of Iranian malevolence and Iraqi instability that is likely to plague the region for the foreseeable future means anything is possible in the region.

But this time, from media reports, it looks like the American show of strength worked.

If there is a next time — and there most likely will be — Americans and the rest of the world’s countries that are targets for terrorism should remember how much a show of resolve, backed with a solid show of force, can really pay off.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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