The Iraqi government wants Blackwater out of Iraq, following an incident that has left at least 8 Iraqi civilians dead.
"We have revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said Monday. "The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday's killing will be referred to Iraqi justice."
But the Iraqi government will face an uphill battle. Blackwater, like other private military contractors, is functioning virtually outside the law.
The question of whether they could face prosecution is legally murky. Unlike soldiers, the contrators are not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Under a special provision secured by American-occupying forces, they are exempt from prosecution by Iraqis for crimes committed there.
Blackwater will most assuredly fight their de-licensing and they will have the full backing of the Bush Administration, because these extra-legal corporate warriors are integral to the "war on terra." I fully expect the Iraqi government to cave to US pressure.
Tens of thousands of foreign private security contractors work in Iraq some with automatic weapons, body armor, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles to provide protection for Westerners and dignitaries in Iraq as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war.
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Many of the contractors have been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys, but none has faced charges or prosecution.
BLACKWATER: THE SHADOW WAR