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
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)
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(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. (Read more Iraq stories.)