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Iraqi judge Abdul Sattar Ghafour Bairaqdar, from the Supreme Judiciary Council, says Blackwater mercenaries should face trial: US obfuscation, ahead

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

A top judge also said Blackwater could face trial over Sun­day’s incident in Baghdad, which left 10 people dead and was branded a “criminal” act by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (19/9/2007, p.11).

Washington will have to “ignore the Iraqis’ wishes”:But Political analyst Peter Singer, in an article posted on the Brookings Institution website, said the US military in Iraq was stretched thin and that Washing­ton would have to use Blackwater contractors in the short term. Washington will have to “ignore the Iraqis’ wishes and just keep on using Blackwater contractors as before; find an­other company to step in and quick-fill take on these roles in lieu of the firm; or negotiate with the Iraqis to find terms under which Blackwater might continue to carry out the operation,” he said.

Subject to Iraqi law: Washington has sought to cool tensions with Baghdad over the shooting, with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling Maliki to express her regrets over the civilian loss of life and pledging a full investigation. “The cabinet in a meeting decided to review the operations of foreign and local security companies in Iraq,” said govern­ment spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. Iraqi judge Abdul Sattar Ghafour Bairaqdar, from the Supreme Judiciary Council, said Blackwater could face trial. “This company is subject to Iraqi law and the crime com­mitted was on Iraqi territory and the Iraqi judiciary is responsible for tackling the case,” he said.

Case against Blackwater: The judge said the case against Blackwater — one of the biggest private security firms operating inside Iraq with about 1000 staff — could be filed either by relatives of the victims or by the Government. Despite the Interior Ministry order, a US embassy official said yesterday that Blackwater had not been expelled. “Blackwater is still here. The US authorities are holding discus­sions with the Iraqi counterparts over the issue,” the official said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19/9/2007, p. 11

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