By early evening Tuesday, the mob had retreated from the compound but set up several tents outside for an intended sit-in. Dozens of yellow flags belonging to Iran-backed Shiite militias fluttered atop the reception area and were plastered along the embassy’s concrete wall along with anti-US graffiti. American Apache helicopters flew overhead and dropped flares over the area in what the U.S. military called a “show of force.”
The US also was sending 100 or more additional Marines to the embassy compound to support its defenses.
The embassy breach was seen by some analysts as affirming their view that it is folly for the US to keep forces in Iraq after having eliminated the Islamic State group’s territorial hold in the country.
A US withdrawal from Iraq is also a long-term hope of Iran, noted Paul Salem, president of the Washington-based Middle East Institute.
For the president, Iran’s attacks — directly and now through proxies in Iraq — have “been working that nerve,” Salem said. “Now they really have Trump’s attention.”