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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

Biden pollster urges blunt tax talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The top pollster for Joe Biden's presidential campaign is advising the White House to do something that often makes Democrats nervous: Talk loudly and proudly about raising taxes on the rich.

Why it matters: John Anzalone tells Axios his extensive polling and research has found that few issues receive broader support than raising taxes on corporations and people earning more than $400,000 a year.

On the front lines of the growing border crisis

A migrant mother and her children sit in the dirt at a temporary processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

At night, parents with young children march through the brush after crossing the Rio Grande River in the pitch black. By day, unaccompanied kids arrive at shelters, in one instance 17 of 17 testing positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: Axios accompanied a delegation of Republican lawmakers to South Texas last week — followed by a unilateral visit to El Paso — to see in real-time the challenges fueled by a border surge, the effects of actions taken by the previous administration, and the lagging response by the new one.

Scoop: Trump campaign boosted by unsuspecting state GOPs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Federal regulators are probing financial reporting discrepancies stemming from an effort to funnel $75 million through state Republican parties to the national GOP effort to reelect Donald Trump, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: In comments to Axios and filings with the Federal Election Commission, some state party officials seemed unaware of their roles.

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