If the U.S. does indeed launch a military strike against Syria, it could have consequences for Americans stationed in other places in the Middle East.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an order from an Iranian official instructing militants in Iraq to attack U.S. interests in Baghdad if Syria is attacked was recently intercepted. The message came from the head of the Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force and was being sent to Iranian-supported Shi'ite militia groups in Iraq, Reuters reported.
It is believed that the American embassy in Baghdad would be the target. It was unclear what other potential targets in the area might be. The State Department issued a warning on Thursday telling U.S. citizens to not to travel to Iraq unless it was "essential."
"Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation," according to the State Department.
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The United States blames Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons on civilians. President Obama has asked Congress to approve his plan to launch limited strikes against Syria.
Numerous insurgent groups, including al Qaeda's Iraq affiliate, are currently active and "terrorist activity and sectarian violence persist in many areas of the country at levels unseen since 2008," according to the State Department.
It added: "The ability of the embassy to respond to situations in which U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited."
The State Department and the CIA declined to comment.