February 15, 2024

The Vision Behind the US Consulate in Erbil Is Dissolving

Source: New Lines Magazine

Journalist: Winthrop Rodgers

Jonathan Lord, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for New American Security, told New Lines, “In Washington, there’s an interest in moving beyond framing the U.S.-Iraq relationship strictly in terms of our partnership against ISIS.”

That sense also seems to be held by Iraq’s government, which is under pressure from influential figures within Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s governing coalition and Iraqi lawmakers to end the presence of foreign troops as soon as possible.


On Jan. 15, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired ballistic missiles at Erbil, killing at least four people, including a prominent businessman with close ties to the KDP. U.S. officials were quick to say that the current and the new consulate compounds were not targeted, though the latter was less than 3 miles away from the attack site. Iran-backed militias have attacked targets in Erbil governorate at least 30 times since the war in Gaza began in early October, including locations where U.S. troops are based.

“The new location should actually — perhaps counterintuitively — be more defensible than the current location,” Lord told New Lines. “A facility in an area that is less population-dense will enable a wider variety of air defense and force protection measures with fewer concerns about shrapnel falling on civilians.”

Read the full story and more from New Lines Magazine.


  • Jonathan Lord

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Jonathan Lord is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord served as a professional staff member for the House Arme...