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May 27, 2007

Anti-Blackwater backlash in Baghdad?

The Washington Post reports that Blackwater security contractors have opened fire on Iraqis twice last week.

Surely, that's not newsworthy in and of itself. Surely, Blackwater contractors shot at Iraqis every day. There, after all, at least 20,000-30,000 of these heavily armed mercenaries operating in Iraq, doing some of the most dangerous jobs.

Here's the more interesting part:

Matthew Degn, a senior American civilian adviser to the Interior Ministry's intelligence directorate, described the ministry as "a powder keg" after the Iraqi driver was shot Thursday, with anger at Blackwater spilling over to other Americans working in the building.

Degn said he was concerned the incident "could undermine a lot of the cordial relationships that have been built up over the past four years. There's a lot of angry people up here right now." [WaPo]

Sounds like Degn is hinting at the potential for a much larger backlash against Blackwater in Iraq.

According to the article, Iraq's Interior Ministry is nominally responsible for regulating private security firms and investigating complaints against security contractors. The ministry has recieved four complaints about Blackwater shootings in the past two years, but until recently, the Iraqis couldn't investigate because of a CPA order granting Blackwater immunity from the Iraqi legal system. Blackwater still refuses to register with the Interior Ministry, as required by Iraqi law.


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Cool. So there's a company where any psycho can join up, get paid premium wages, go to Iraq, shoot people arbitrarily, and not face any legal consequences?

I'm sure that only the most upstanding moral individuals will be hired!

I am concerned what these mercenaries will be doing after the Iraq war. I shudder to think they would be "working" in the US.

LM Wanderer

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