This weekend, United States embassies and consulates will close as a precautionary measure, according to spokeswoman, Marie Harf. Although details are thin on the ground, the closures center around an alleged threat to U.S. facilities in foreign climes, purportedly a number of countries of the “Muslim World”, comprising the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Harf continued, “The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps…”
The State Department has issued official directives to its embassies, situated in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, which collectively house tens of thousands of U.S. troops. However, the exact duration, these reported embassies will remain shut, is currently unknown.
Furthermore, the Obama administration is investigating threats issued to the Yemen embassy, situated in Sana’a. Yemen has recently sought to repel Islamist militants from its streets, a move many believe to be mandated by the United States government. However, despite an aggressive increase in regional drone strikes, orchestrated by the U.S. intelligence agencies, and occupation of militant-controlled areas by the Yemeni government, there are fears of sleeper cells persisting in the region. In addition, supporters of the recent separatist movement are hidden within the nearby Hatat, Mahfad and Marakisha mountains. Whether these recent events bear any connection to the latest terror threats, remains to be seen.
Peering through the fog of ambiguity, however, it would appear that other entities, operating oversees, might also become viable targets. Anonymous U.S. officials, speaking to ABC News, maintain, “there could be other targets, not just embassies”.
Details surrounding the closures were confirmed by Ed Royce, U.S. Republican of California. He consolidated his impression of the unfolding events, saying “It’s my understanding that it is al Qaeda linked, alright, and the threat emanates in the Middle East and Central Asia.”
It’s worth noting, these apparent threats have emerged at the closing of Ramadan, and almost a year after four American officials were killed, during an arson attack, in a Libyan consulate. The State Department was compelled to issue warning to a number of key installations in the Middle East, citing the anniversary of 9/11 as the basis for a potential attack. In Benghazi, the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other workers were killed during a raid by militants on a diplomatic compound. It was, ultimately, concluded the attacks and ensuing riots were sparked by the production of an inflammatory, 14-minute trailer for a video, entitled “Innocence of Muslims”, the contents of which appeared to mock and denigrate the Prophet Mohammad. However, these were simply the first of many attacks in Libya, which persisted over the subsequent months, culminating in repeated acts of violence and vandalism, coordinated against Western institutions and diplomatic missions.
Written By: James Fenner