There is now concern among some in Iraq that a possible closure the embassy and withdrawing diplomats could be a precursor to military action by the US against Iran and its proxies. The US has 5,000 troops still stationed in Iraq. Iran has been blamed for bomb and missile attacks on US and Iraqi troop installations in the country.
Missiles regularly strike the US diplomatic compound from across the Tigris.
The US embassy, located within the Green Zone, is the biggest US embassy in the world and is located in central Baghdad.
It has been Washington’s main base of operations in Iraq since the occupation after the 2003 invasion.
It has been reported the US has given Iraqi security forces the option to prevent the attacks on the US embassy.
A Western diplomat said the US does not “want to be limited in their options” in its bid to weaken Iran or pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.
This comment has added to the belief that military intervention could be behind any move to withdraw diplomatic staff from Baghdad.
The diplomatic staff said action may consist of a “strike” rather than the use of economic or military measures.
Earlier this month the US said it would reduce its military personnel in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000.
On Monday the Pentagon said it was committed to ensuring Iraq’s “security, stability, and prosperity” in the long term.
The Pentagon also announced that US military operations against Islamic State will continue.