update: The Marines have now landed, according to open-source analysis which appears to show the first deployment of the some 100 Marines flown in from Kuwait. Pentagon officials have also confirmed they are now on the ground.
Contradicting prior reports, US personnel at the embassy have not evacuated, but are “safe” inside the sprawling compound:
US personnel at the American embassy in Baghdad, which has come under attack by pro-Iran protesters, are safe and there are no plans to evacuate, the State Department said Tuesday.
“Our first priority is the safety and security of US personnel,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.
“US personnel are secure and there has been no breach,” the spokesperson said. “There are no plans to evacuate Embassy Baghdad.”
US Apache gunships are also said to be still encircling the area, attempting to intimidate the rioters on the ground, still encircling the embassy and attempting to set it on fire.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham has praised Trump for “acting decisively” and has defended the president, saying “there will be no Benghazis on his watch.”
Regardless, none of this looks good for America’s prospects in the Middle East moving into 2020.