Archive for Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Iraq orders U.S. security firm out of country after killings

September 18, 2007

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— They protect U.S. diplomats, guard supply convoys and perform dangerous tasks for a military stretched to the limit by the conflict in Iraq. But the presence of armed civilians operating outside both U.S. military and Iraqi law has long angered Iraqis.

That anger exploded Monday when the Interior Ministry announced that it had revoked the license of Blackwater USA after what it said was the fatal shooting of eight Iraqi civilians following a car bomb attack against a State Department convoy.

The order, if carried out, would deal a severe blow to U.S. government operations in Iraq by stripping diplomats, engineers, reconstruction officials and others of their security protection.

The presence of so many visible, aggressive Western security contractors has angered many Iraqis, who consider them a mercenary force that runs roughshod over people in their own country.

Sunday's shooting was the latest in a series of incidents in which Blackwater and other foreign contractors have been accused of shooting to death Iraqi citizens. None has faced charges or prosecution.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki late Monday and the two agreed to conduct a "fair and transparent investigation" and hold any wrongdoers accountable, said Yassin Majid, an adviser to the prime minister. Rice was expected to visit the Mideast today.

Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Rice "told the prime minister that we were investigating this incident and wanted to gain a full understanding of what happened."

"She reiterated that the United States does everything it can to avoid such loss of life, in contrast to the enemies of the Iraqi people who deliberately target civilians," Casey said.

Majid made no mention of the order to expel Blackwater, and it was unlikely the United States would agree to abandon a security company that plays such a critical role in American operations in Iraq.

The U.S. clearly hoped the Iraqis would be satisfied with an investigation, a finding of responsibility and compensation to the victims' families - and not insist on expelling a company that the Americans cannot operate here without.

Details of Sunday's incident were unclear.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight civilians were killed and 13 were wounded when contractors believed to be working for Blackwater USA opened fire on civilians in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Mansour in western Baghdad.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes, on that we can agree, posessionannex. But BushCo would love to see the same model of "governance" in Venezuela, too. Would you?

kugrad 7 years, 8 months ago

THe Bush administration will hate having their torturers and mercenaries inactive. Some money will change hands and this will all go away. Few Americans know how many thousands of mercenaries we have in Iraq along with our regular military. The newspaper often describes them as "oil workers" or "civilian support staff" or somesuch nonsense, especially when they are killed. These are soldiers of fortune, not bound by the Geneva convention, not bound by US law, doing what they want to do. We pay for it. This is an arm of Halliburton, even though they spun off Kellogg, Brown and Root (partly to hide ownership through overseas incorporation), this was part of the whole insider deals of Dick Cheney and the missing Billions we have given to his cronies. This war has been bungled by the most corrupt and simply incompetent administration in living history.

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