Back in early June, I wagered my husband that Blackwater was going to make the front page of MSN within six month, with news of their problems in Iraq. Sure enough.
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government said Monday that it was revoking the license of an American security firm accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.
The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to express regret about the incident, al-Maliki’s office confirmed to NBC News.
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 in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad.
â€œWe have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory. We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities,â€? Khalaf said.
Khalaf said witness reports pointed to Blackwater involvement but said the shooting was still under investigation. It was not immediately clear if the measure against Blackwater was intended to be temporary or permanent. [full text]
“Opening fire in a civilian neighborhood.” Wow. According to this article, there are about 1,000 Blackwater employees in Iraq. What will we do without them?