Iraq’s Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater Security Consulting, an American firm whose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead.
U.S. soldiers talk with Iraqi shopkeepers while patrolling Sunday in Baghdad.
The firefight took place near Nisoor Square about noon, an Interior Ministry official said Sunday. In addition to the fatalities, 14 people were wounded, most of them civilians, the official said.
Details were sketchy, but the official said witnesses reported that one side of the gunbattle involved Westerners driving sport utility vehicles, which security contractors often use. The state television network al-Iraqiya reported that a Western security company was involved in the shootout, but it did not identify the firm.
An official with the U.S. Embassy told The Associated Press that a State Department motorcade came under small-arms fire near Nisoor Square, and one of the vehicles was disabled.
The official said no State Department officials were injured but provided no information on Iraqi casualties, the AP reported.
I’m not sure how many folks Blackwater has in Iraq but it has to be a pretty substantial number. I have a feeling that this ruling won’t stand. An abrupt transition would put a lot of influential Blackwater customers at risk. I’d bet on the Iraqis allowing the company to continue operations after paying a hefty fine.