Blackwater Resumes Guarding U.S. Envoys in Iraq – New York Times

Blackwater Resumes Guarding U.S. Envoys in Iraq – New York Times
BAGHDAD, Sept. 21 — American diplomats on Friday resumed travel in convoys escorted by Blackwater USA, the private American security contractor, three days after the Iraqi government banned the company following a shooting in which at least eight Iraqis were killed.

It was not clear if the resumption of convoys was a signal of some political compromise between the State Department and the Iraqi government, which had demanded that the United States drop Blackwater as its protector, or whether it simply meant that American officials felt they could not afford to remain grounded. The State Department relies on Blackwater for its security outside the fortified Green Zone.

American Embassy officials have declined to give details of an investigation of the shooting on Sunday in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, but a preliminary report by Iraqi officials found that Blackwater guards had fired at Iraqis in their cars without provocation.

Mirembe Nantongo, a spokeswoman for the American Embassy, said a limited number of diplomats traveled outside the Green Zone on Friday. They were likely to be accompanied by Blackwater guards, she said but declined to give details. “As a general rule, in a limited manner, Blackwater is operating,” she said.

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