Iraq Wants all Ex-Blackwater Workers ‘to Leave Iraq and Not to Stay in Iraq Anymore’
January 4, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The Iraqi government wants its country rid of any trace of former Blackwater employees working in the country for other security firms. In an interview with CNN, spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh announced plans to search through the records of foreign firms to unearth any employees with links to Blackwater Worldwide, now named Xe. This new effort comes in the wake of the recent federal court ruling dismissing all charges against five Blackwater security guards accused of the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007 in downtown Baghdad, while escorting U.S. officials through a busy intersection. Iraqi officials now plan to sue the guards in civil court and is formally requesting that the U.S. Justice Department appeal the judge’s ruling to throw out the manslaughter charges against the men.
Iraq spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh wants all former Blackwater employees to leave the country and never come back:
“I don’t think Iraqi government is willing to have any Blackwater member, even if they are working in other companies, we don’t like to see them here working in any company,” al-Dabbagh said. “Instructions have been given to check if there is any Blackwater member. I advise him to leave Iraq and not to stay in Iraq anymore.”
Iraqi officials are checking records in Iraq’s Ministry of Interior pertaining to Blackwater/Xe and related companies and subsidiaries. Once the investigation is complete, authorities will undertake whatever action is needed, to rid the country of former Backwater workers, said al-Dabbagh.
The U.S. embassy has not been informed of Iraq’s new measures. “I don’t think we need to consult any others. It is an Iraqi prevailing law and we have to practice that law in our country,” al-Dabbagh said.
The deadly shooting occurred on September 16, 2007 in Nisoor Square in downtown Baghdad. The guards were part of a Blackwater convoy escorting U.S. officials through the busy intersection. And they began firing automatic weapons and grenade launchers at the civilians on the street, when they claimed they heard a nearby explosion and gunfire. The killings led Iraq to limit private security workers hired by Blackwater, founded by Erik Prince, and other contractors.
“Investigations carried out by specialized Iraqi authorities unequivocally found that the Blackwater guards committed murder and broke use-of-force rules when there was no threat requiring the use of force,” said al-Dabbagh on Friday after the charges were dismissed against the guards.
See CNN for more.