EMBASSY CLOSURES: WHAT DOES IT TAKE? Curious to see what kind of political upheaval it normally takes to close a U.S. embassy, I googled around and found the following recent examples:
Deteriorating security conditions during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war resulted in a gradual reduction of Embassy functions and the departure of dependents and many staff. Ambassador Meloy was assassinated in 1976. Following an April 1983 suicide bomb attack on the Embassy in Beirut, in which 49 Embassy staff were killed and 34 were injured, the Embassy relocated to Awkar, north of the capital. A second bombing there, in September 1984, killed 11 and injured 58. In September 1989, the Embassy closed and all American staff were evacuated, due to security threats. The Embassy re-opened in November 1990.
It's hard to discern a clear pattern from this glancing survey, except to say that when America really wants to be some place, it will maintain an embassy there, even in the face of direct bombings; that direct threats can temporarily close an embassy; and that America seems more likely to evacuate embassies and personnel from nations that are either not allies (Syria, Venezuela) or not essential (Guinnea-Bissau). No great surprises there.
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