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Supporters of the Iranian-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31. Photo: Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Protestors withdrew from the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday following orders from the Iranian-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The militia leaders said they had won a victory that allowed their message to be heard, signaling they would now try to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by taking action in the country’s parliament.

All protesters withdrew from the area in front of the U.S. embassy and left the Green Zone. The embassy is now completely surrounded and secured by security forces."
— Joint Operation Command statement, per NBC News

Details: The militia group's political spokesman of Kataib Hezbollah was seen addressing protestors at the embassy compound, saying, "We will take our fight to expel U.S. troops from our land to parliament and if we don’t succeed, we will return."

  • The protestors signaled that they would move to an encampment on the other side of the Tigris River, outside of the fortified Green Zone where the embassy compound is located.

Context: The attempt to storm the embassy was prompted by U.S. airstrikes on five facilities in Iraq and Syria belonging to Kataeb Hezbollah over the weekend.

Worth noting, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Unlike most of his national security team, President Trump sees very little value in an American presence in Iraq — full stop.

  • Trump has long wanted out of Iraq and believes the American presence in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster that was the worst mistake in U.S. history.

Go deeper: Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the Joint Operation Command and news that the protesters have left the area.

Go deeper

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

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