Former Blackwater Employees Not Welcome in Iraq

Iraqi Govt Still Looking at Options After Court Ruling

by Jason Ditz, January 03, 2010

Still seething over the Thursday ruling by a US judge to drop all charges against five Blackwater contractors over a 2007 Baghdad massacre, the Iraqi government is looking at what moves to take in retaliation.

One thing is clear, according to Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, not only is Blackwater not welcome in the country, but former employees aren’t welcome either, even if they are working for other contractors.

In September 2007, the Blackwater employees opened fire on a crowd of unarmed civilians in Baghdad. The employees insisted they were acting in self defense after they thought they heard gunfire.

Iraq banned Blakwater from operating in the country in January 2009. Despite this ban, the US State Department kept Blackwater contractors around to provide security as late as September 2009, ostensibly because their replacement wasn’t ready.

In addition to banning former contractors, the Iraqi government says it will support civil lawsuits against Blackwater over the incident, and will urge the Justice Department to try to get the criminal case reinstated.

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