US drops plans to force diplomats to Iraq after filling vacant jobs

The US State Department is dropping plans to force diplomats to serve in Iraq because volunteers have filled all 48 vacant positions at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, The Associated Press has learned. The department will announce it no longer needs to move to "directed assignments" for Iraq once personnel panels give a formal OK to foreign service officers who signed up for the remaining three open jobs, US officials said Thursday. Those three diplomats have already won tentative approval, they said. The announcement could come as early as Friday, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.