On Friday the State Department announced it is evacuating all non-essential personnel from the US consulate in Basra, Iraq . The drastic move comes after a month of heavy anti-Iran and anti-Iraqi government protests that have gripped the southern city, which has led to sectarian rioting and the burning of Shia militia buildings, as well as the torching of the Iranian consulate early this month. During the first week of September the US embassy in Baghdad’s green zone also came under attack by mortar fire , which US officials and military analysts blamed on Iran-backed militias. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited threats from Iran as the reason for ordering the Basra consulate evacuation , and in a separate statement a senior US official confirmed to CNN that the “ordered departure” was due to “security threats from Iran.” Protesters in Basra torched Iraqi government buildings in early September. Image […]