Private Contractors in Iraq
The presence of private security contractors in Iraq will be reviewed after a shooting that left eight people dead, according to the New York Times. Blackwater, one of the security companies working in Iraq for the United States has been banned from working in the country. A spokeswoman from Blackwater said that the individuals fired upon were armed enemies, who had fired at a U.S. convoy and were fired upon in defense.
Reuters reported that in the shooting Sunday, 11 people were killed, according the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The interior ministry also said that Blackwater contractors fired randomly after the convoy appeared to be under attack.
There are 1000 Blackwater employees in Iraq that provide protection for U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad. Security firms function under a memorandum that makes them immune to Iraqi law, according to Reuters. Many companies operate without a license, and the rules do not apply evenly to all forces. Baghdad security sources told Reuters that it was "widely known that Blackwater was opperating without a license because they worked under the protection of the U.S. Embassy."
The Iraqi government said it would review the status of all security companies operating in Iraq. It may be difficult to prosecute any Blackwater contractors because they operate under a law that protects them from Iraqi prosecution.