US mission in Iraq to be slashed
by two-thirdsUS mission in Iraq will slash its numbers by two-thirds by
end of this year from its peak figure of over 16,000.America’s fortress in Iraq Middle East Online BAGHDAD:
mission in Iraq -- the biggest in the world -- will slash its numbers by
two-thirds by the end of this year from its peak figure of over 16,000, the
American ambassador to Baghdad said.
Overall staffing levels at the US's embassy in
Baghdad and its consulates in the southern port city of Basra, the Kurdish
regional capital of Arbil and the disputed northern city of Kirkuk, will drop to
around 5,500, including contractors, by the end of the year.
A year ago, we were well above 16,000, now we're
at 10,500," Ambassador Stephen Beecroft told reporters. "By the end of this
year, we'll be at 5,500, including contractors."
The diplomatic presence is down below a
The American embassy had swelled in size due to
the departure from Iraq of US forces in December 2011, because planners believed
the diplomatic mission would have to take on a wide array of responsibilities
left by the military.
As time has gone on, however, the embassy has
handed over multiple sites to the Iraqi government and reduced the number of
diplomats working in Iraq.
All US troops except for a small number under US
embassy authority left Iraq at the end of 2011.