News / USA

US Extends Security Closure of Some Diplomatic Missions

US Extends Security Closure of Some Diplomatic Missionsi
X
August 06, 2013 12:42 AM
The United States says 19 of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa will remain closed for the rest of the week, even as it reopened some of its embassies on Monday. VOA’s Carla Babb reports.
Carla Babb
The United States says 19 of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa will remain closed for the rest of the week, even as it reopened some of its embassies on Monday.
 
While embassies in Kabul and Baghdad were reopened, 19 diplomatic missions will remain shut through Saturday because of security concerns.
 
CLICK TO EXPAND: Embassy, consulate closure status.CLICK TO EXPAND: Embassy, consulate closure status.
x
CLICK TO EXPAND: Embassy, consulate closure status.
CLICK TO EXPAND: Embassy, consulate closure status.
Deputy State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said the decision was made after a post-by-post analysis.
 
"We continue to refine our assessment of the threat. We continue, as you can imagine, to get new information, and, as we do so, we'll evaluate our security needs going forward," said Harf.
 
Some missions - like the U.S. embassy in Cairo - usually serve a large number of American tourists. Those numbers have shrunk but the State Department says Americans and foreigners who need to get in touch with U.S. missions while abroad this week can go online for contact information.

Harf said the closures were not a matter of choice.
 
"Our preference, I should say here, is for embassies and consulates to be open. Clearly, we operate around the world in places like this because we have a mission there," said Harf.
 
U.S. officials have said attacks could emanate from the Arabian peninsula where the Yemen-based al-Qaida affiliate seems determined to attack Western interests. The U..S embassy in Sana’a, Yemen's capital, remains closed.
 
News reports say the embassy closures were prompted by intercepted communications between al-Qaida chief Ayman al Zawahiri in Pakistan and the head of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Specific targets apparently were not specified.
 
Former U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey, who is now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says intercepted communications are hard to analyze.
 
"It's coded language.  It's language that talks around the subject.  There's increases in chatter. There's all kinds of other things to lead analysts to figure out they're going to hit something big and it's going to involve the United States," says Jeffrey.
 
In Sana’a, Britain, France, Germany and Norway are also keeping their embassies closed until later in the week.
 
The Middle East Institute's Graeme Bannerman says embassy threats in a volatile region like the Middle East must be taken seriously.
 
"You, as a diplomatic security person, want to close the embassy down. Period. I mean, that's what you have to do just because you cannot take the chance that something awful could happen."
 
Analysts say that while the threat of an attack sometimes could interfere with consular services, at the end of the day, inconvenience is a better option than loss of life.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 06, 2013 4:22 AM
Why now is al-Qaida plotting to western interests? Is there any good reason for them to plot now? Does political deadlock in Egypt prompt them?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid