Iraq: Prime Minister Maliki on the Blackwater affair
"In cold blood" they had been shot, "Iraqi burgers". Sunday’s deaths were not preceded by any emergency action by Blackwater employees, nor were the victims armed resisters, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s account, as previously claimed by Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell. The Iraqi government remains in the Blackwater crisis (cf. A clean bill of health for Blackwater?) on course for independence
The investigation is still ongoing, but Blackwater soon had a clear case. Yesterday, the head of the Iraqi government followed suit and submitted a report on the matter. According to the McClatchy office (heir to the Knight Ridder Iraq report), Maliki has no doubt where the blame for the bloodshed lies: with the security contractor, who must be held accountable.
Seven incidents (one more than the AP listed) involving Blackwater employees were held up to journalists by Prime Minister Maliki and government spokesmen. incidents with partly fatal outcome for "innocent iraqi burgers".
According to the Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh (quoted in the New York Times), there is no question of Blackwater employees being ambushed last Sunday:
The traffic policeman was trying to open the road for them. It was a crowded square. But one small car did not stop. It was moving very slowly. They shot against the couple and their child. They started shooting randomly.
The newspaper goes on to say that a video taken shortly after the shooting showed a burned child and his mother; testimonies of six witnesses who were in the vicinity of the smuggling were found to be similar to each other – "roughly similar" – Versions.
Sunday’s incident is now the last straw. Although Americans, as Juan Cole notes on the basis of observers from the Green Zone, "being shocked", that the Iraqis are taking such a stance on the ie. But the Blackwater scandal exposes a deeper wound.
For one thing, the willingness of Blackwater soldiers to be pretty quick to blame people (which the incidents and other testimony suggest) confirms a basic feeling that Iraqis (and Afghans, too) have often expressed: That they feel they are treated as second-class people by Americans and other Westerners.
This is the crane on which the jurisprudence of the Iraqi era is based "Vice Conigs" Bremer yet a second. Sunday’s fraud, which, as Maliki specifically reiterated, affected the Iraqi government and people alike "with rage and hate" The case of Blackwater and other private security firms not subject to Iraqi law could remain legally unsanctioned: one of the legal gray areas opened by the American government in its global war on terror. And raising interesting questions.
For example, as an Iraqi employee of a security company (which in Iraq also uses a lot of cheap, i.e. non-Western and local labor, cf. Private military companies under prere) involved in a crime to be legally prosecuted ware?