Published on IPS, by Ali al-Fadhily, IPS correspondent in Baghdad, October 30, 2007.
2 excerpts: … The recent attacks by Blackwater USA mercenaries in Baghdad are far from the first – and many believe they will not be the last …
… The political fallout from the incident in Baghdad last month has led the Iraqi government to accept the findings of an Iraqi investigative committee that Blackwater guards are guilty of the killings, and that they acted without provocation.
The Iraqi investigators said Blackwater should be expelled from the country, and demanded eight million dollars compensation for the family of each victim. Officials decided last week to establish a committee to find ways to repeal a 2004 directive issued by L. Paul Bremer, head of the former U.S. occupation government in Iraq, which placed private security companies outside Iraqi law, making them immune to prosecution.
Many Iraqis are angry that Blackwater enjoys special rights.
“I was shot at while driving my car in Baghdad in December 2004,” Saad Mohammad Saed, an NGO worker in Baghdad told IPS. “I recognised the vehicles to be with a private security company. My car was destroyed and my survival was a miracle, but when I went to court to file charges, they told me they could not question those people.” While it could not be verified that this incident involved Blackwater personnel, there is deep public anger with the company.
Such incidents continue. Two Iraqi women were killed in Baghdad last week. Maro Bougos and Jenna Jalal were driving in a white Oldsmobile when they were shot dead by men from a private security convoy. Three children in the back seat survived.
“Will (U.S. President George) Bush or (Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki or any politician look after my sister’s children after bringing death to their mother?” said Bougos’s brother, who was at the scene of the attack. (full text).