US Reinstates Blackwater in Iraq

Despite government opposition, State Department returns company to streets

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2007 1:08 PM CDT

(Newser) – American convoys began emerging from the Green Zone again today, protected by Blackwater USA  guards, just four days after an Iraqi ban on the private security firm halted all such travel. Iraqis remain outraged over the deaths of 11 civilians in a Blackwater shooting incident Sunday, but a Maliki aide told the AP that Iraq’s government could do little to expel Blackwater from the country.

The US Embassy says it consulted the Iraqi government before reinstating Blackwater and promised to limit travel to essential missions. Since the ban, US officials have been able to travel only by helicopter. Iraqi reports say Blackwater “starting shooting randomly” into a crowded square on Sunday when mortar rounds landed nearby. A US/Iraqi investigation is ongoing, and Blackwater denies wrongdoing.

A private security helicopter flies over Ibn Taimiyah Mosque in Baghdad Wednesday Nov. 24 2004, after a car bomb exploded nearby. A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government to expel Western security contractors despite outrage that followed the killings of...
A private security helicopter flies over Ibn Taimiyah Mosque in Baghdad Wednesday Nov. 24 2004, after a car bomb exploded nearby. A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded it may prove difficult...   (Associated Press)
Two U.S. private security contractors investigate the site where a military armored bus was damaged by a roadside bomb on the highway near Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq in this Saturday, Nov. 27, 2004 file photo.  A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded it may prove...
Two U.S. private security contractors investigate the site where a military armored bus was damaged by a roadside bomb on the highway near Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq in this Saturday,...   (Associated Press)
A private contractor gestures to their colleagues flying over in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq in this Tuesday, July 5, 2005 file photo. A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government...
A private contractor gestures to their colleagues flying over in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq in this Tuesday, July 5, 2005 file photo. A top aide to...   (Associated Press)
Hussam Hassan, left, and his brother, Ahmed Hassan, right, inspect their father's car in a car park in Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, destroyed in a shooting incident in Baghdad by Blackwater security guards four days ago. Relations between the...
Hussam Hassan, left, and his brother, Ahmed Hassan, right, inspect their father's car in a car park in Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, destroyed...   (Associated Press)
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