Report: New Year’s 2020 Attack on Baghdad Embassy Cost $35 Million

Officials blamed 'Iranian-backed terrorists'

The State Department Inspector General report on damages to embassies around the world put the cost of the New Year’s 2020 attack by Iraqi protesters on the Baghdad Embassy at $35 million, the bulk of all fire damages inflicted on diplomatic sites that year.

The protests, which included some members of Shi’ite militias, were held to protest US attacks on militia bases in Iraq and Syria at the time. Then-President Trump blamed Iran for the entirety of the occasion and Mike Pompeo said it was an attack by “Iranian-backed terrorists.”

Though the US tried hard to spin the attackers as Iranian, signs were that the overwhelming majority of the 3,000-plus protesters were Iraqis. Some militia members were present, in uniform, but it’s not clear they orchestrated anything so much as were participating in the protests because they were the ones being attacked.

The Trump Administration ultimately kept escalating against Iran in the days that followed, assassinating Iranian General Qassem Soleimani just days later at the Baghdad Airport. This very nearly started a war, and led to even more escalation, and calls by Iraq’s parliament to expel US forces.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.