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U.S. sends more Marines to guard embassies in Middle East, concerned about unrest

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U.S. Marines attached to the Marine Security Augment Unit (MSAU) debrief after a day of training at a Department of State facility in Summit Point, W.Va., April 9, 2015. The training prepares members of MSAU for the protection and security of American Embassies and assets across the globe. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel Benedict/Released)

The United States Marines are filling in dozens of slots in embassies all over the Middle East, partially in connection to unrest in the region.

Embassies in Jordan, Israel, Turkey and over a half-dozen other nations will be seeing more Marines in the near future, though only about ten or so extra Marines will be sent to each assignment.

The bolstering of security comes as the Middle East appears poised to once again explode in a socio-political powderkeg of sectarian violence, religious fanaticism, and territorial disputes.

One of the postings will be at the new US embassy in Jerusalem, which has drawn the ire of much of the Middle East, including the stateless Palestinians that take up residence along the Gaza Strip.

There was no timeline pertaining to the extra Marines’ length of stay, though one US official told NBC News that they would remain “until security conditions on the ground improve.”

In a statement, Marine Corps spokesperson Capt. Ryan E. Alvis said, “A number of Marines from the Marine Security Guard Security Augmentation Unit (MSAU) have been requested to augment a number of embassies in light of current events. The exact locations and/or number of Marines will not be released. These Marines, assigned to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, headquartered at Quantico, Va., are uniquely postured to respond expeditiously to augment embassies at the request of the State Department. All Marines who comprise the MSAU have served as Marine Corps Security Guards in the past and receive specialized training. While augmenting embassy security, Marines will serve under the authority of the embassy’s ambassador or chief of mission.”

In the even ten extra Marines isn’t enough, Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Teams (FAST) and expeditionary units are always standing by to bring maximum available firepower to bear, in order to prevent another disastrous incident like the 2012 attack on the US diplomatic compound Benghazi, Libya.

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