The Iraqi government has informed the US embassy today that it will decline to renew Blackwater Worldwide’s license to operate in the nation. This will require the security contractors, still being used by the State Department, to leave the nation once the joint US-Iraq committee finishes drawing up its formal guidelines for contractors.
According to Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the decision came as a result of “improper conduct and excessive use of force” by the contractor, still infamous in Iraq for its 2007 killing of 17 civilians in Baghdad.
The move was hardly a surprise, as the State Department was advised over a month ago to look for a replacement security service on the belief that Iraq would do this. The current contract with Blackwater is scheduled to expire in the spring. While it is unclear how long the committee will take in drawing up the guidelines, the US has assured it will abide by Iraqi law regarding its contractors.