Citing “threats to U.S. Mission facilities and personnel,” the State Department has told “non-emergency personnel and family members” at its embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, to leave the country.
Also, State “urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns.”
The news comes, of course, as the Obama administration tries to build support for its plan to strike neighboring Syria in response to evidence that President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people last month.
As we reported earlier, the administration’s talk about taking action has led to reports that Iran, Hezbollah and others might retaliate for any strike on the Assad regime.
The State Department has also warned U.S. citizens “against all but essential travel to Iraq.”
Earlier today, White House national security adviser Tony Blinken told Morning Edition that “if anyone tries to do anything to escalate,” the U.S. is prepared to respond.