Friday, September 21, 2007

Blackwater's back already

Blackwater resumes limited work in Baghdad

Some U.S. diplomats again under guard of security firm being investigated

Khalid Mohammed / AP
Updated: 6:59 a.m. PT Sept 21, 2007

An Iraqi traffic policeman on Thursday inspects a car destroyed four days earlier by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad. Eleven Iraqis were killed in the incident.
BAGHDAD - American convoys under the protection of Blackwater USA resumed on Friday, four days after the U.S. Embassy suspended all land travel by its diplomats and other civilian officials in response to the alleged killing of civilians by the security firm.

A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had earlier conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government to follow through on threats to expel Blackwater and other Western security contractors.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation into Sunday's shooting was ongoing, said a way out of the Blackwater crisis could be the payment of compensation to victims' families and an agreement from all sides on a new set of rules for their operations in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she had ordered a "full and complete review" of security practices for U.S. diplomats following the incident.

Rice said she had directed the State Department to examine "how we are providing security to our diplomats."


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