by Tyler Durden
In probably the most significant sign so far that we could be headed for yet another major war in the Middle East, multiple European allies of the United States are rapidly pulling their forces from Iraq and the Persian Gulf region on fears they could get unwillingly sucked into confrontation with Iran.
Tehran isn’t backing down the US escalation ladder either, given moments ago Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander said via the Reuters newswire:
“We are on the cusp of a full scale confrontation with the enemy.”
Iran’s Minister of Defense Amir Hatami also vowed Wednesday, “We will defeat the American-Zionist front,” according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
This follows on the heels of the US State Department’s dramatic ordering of an evacuation of all non-essential diplomatic personnel and their families from the American embassy in Baghdad, citing an “imminent” threat.
As of Wednesday morning the countries of Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands have suspended military support operations in Iraq, citing rising US-Iran tensions. And further a top Iraqi diplomat told reporters at a press conference in Moscow that “Iraq is a sovereign nation. We will not let [the US] to use our territory” for any military operations against Iran.
Previously on Tuesday Spain was the first to announce that it ordered its military frigate, the Méndez Núñez, which has 215 sailors on board, out of a USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group currently en route to the Persian Gulf, citing “it will not enter into any other type of mission” in the Persian Gulf region, according to the Spanish Minister of Defense.
Minister of Defense Margarita Robles ordered the “temporary measure of withdrawal of the frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104) from the combat group of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln while it is in the Middle East,” sources from her office told the digital edition of El País.
As of early Wednesday Germany also announced it is temporarily suspending its operations in Iraq, which includes training local soldiers and security personnel as part of US-led coalition efforts.
“The German army has suspended the training,” defense ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff announced, citing the “generally heightened alert, awareness” for soldiers in the region. However, echoing Britain’s top commander in the coalition, Flosdorff acknowledged there was “no concrete threat” at the moment. “Germany has no indications of its own of attacks supported by Iran,” Reuters quoted him as saying.