Monday Dec 12, 201111:27 PM GMT
Blackwater mercenaries to return to Iraq
Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:49PM
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Mercenaries from US Blackwater Worldwide (file photo)
With the US pulling out troops from Iraq this month, Washington plans to send Blackwater mercenaries to the Middle Eastern country under the new brand of ACADEMI.


New York-based USTC Holdings, the investment group that bought ex-Blackwater firm, Xe Services, in December 2010, announced on Monday ACADEMI as the new name for Blackwater/ Xe Services, AFP reported.

The development came as US President Barack Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss the next phase of the relations between the two countries after withdrawal of US soldiers.

“We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company," ACADEMI president and chief executive Ted Wright said in a statement.

In an interview published on Monday, Wright said he would like to take ACADEMI's business back to Iraq and went on to say that the firm had hired an external company to help it apply for an operating license in the country.

"I think eventually, we're going to get a license; we're going to do business in Iraq," he said.

Blackwater adopted the name Xe Services after Iraqi authorities announced in 2009 that they would not renew the security firm's contract because of a deadly incident in 2007 in which guards protecting a US diplomatic convoy opened fire in a busy district in the capital Baghdad killing 17 civilians.

Iraqi officials could not sue the Blackwater mercenaries as they had immunity from local prosecution and were not subjected to any Iraqi laws.

The US State Department had reportedly announced in August 2010 that the Pentagon would replace American troops in Iraq with private mercenaries, who call themselves private security firms or security contractors, on grounds of ensuring the security in the war-torn country.

The deployment of ACADEMI mercenaries is likely to cause outrage in Iraq where its predecessor Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries could kill civilians with impunity during their time in Iraq.

Iraqis will also take it as America's unwillingness to end the occupation of their country where since 2003 the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation caused one million deaths, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

GJH/MA

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