• Connect the Dots in Iraq: Mercs’ ‘R Us

    January 18, 2012 // 1 Comment »

    Oh the places you’ll go as a contractor! Here are three items from post-American Era Iraq involving security contractors:

    — On January 11 or 12, four American security contractors, working for the US Embassy, were caught and detained in a Baghdad neighborhood. The four were armed, wearing body armor, and were traveling in a plain car without diplomatic plates or markings. The group included two men and two women. See their photo on al-Jazeera. Note the goatee, which just screams “merc.”

    — On January 11, the World’s Largest Embassy (c) in Baghdad issued a public notice on its website saying “that the Government of Iraq is strictly enforcing immigration and customs procedures, to include visas and stamps for entry and exit, vehicle registration, and authorizations for weapons, convoys, logistics, and other matters. Rules and procedures may be subject to frequent revisions, and previous permissions may be deemed invalid… The U.S. Embassy is aware of cases where discrepancies in permits or paperwork have resulted in legal action, including detention, by Iraqi police and other entities. Detentions often last 24-96 hours or more. The Embassy’s ability to respond to situations in which U.S. citizens are arrested or otherwise detained throughout Iraq is limited, including in and around Baghdad.”

    — Back in late December, three US Triple Canopy “security contractors” were arrested by the Iraqi Army, held for 18 days without charges and then released after reported efforts by the World’s Largest Embassy (c). The men were detained in a rural area south of Baghdad because the Iraqi military “did not like the ‘mission request authorization’ paperwork that had been issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.”

    So, let’s connect the dots:

    It sounds like they are having a few bumps in the old road sorting out exactly how diplomacy is going to be practiced with a private army of some 5,500 mercenary security contractors in the mix. It seems those bad boys (and girls!) are not confining themselves to guarding diplomats on social calls to Iraqi ministries either, and are instead covering some ground and attempting some not-so-covert observation work. And getting caught.

    Of course everyone is hoping for no Raymond Davis-like incidents that can happen when armed Americans motor around societies where they are not altogether welcome.

    The New York Times, America’s steno pool of record these days, is there to soothe worried patriots. Turns out this is all just Iraqi growing pains, NYT sez. Since being allowed to take over its own immigration and internal security from Daddy America, Iraq is still learnin’ how to do it right. The Times quoted a senior American military official said that the current disconnect between the Iraqis and the contractors was “primarily an adjustment of our standard operating procedures as we adapt our people and they adapt their security forces to the new situation.”

    Others have described it as a power play, with PM Maliki’s son, in some form of private capacity, leading the charge by throwing foreign contractor squatters out of the primo real estate inside the Green Zone.

    One possible solution comes from Senator Ben Nelson (R-Absolute Knucklehead), who wants the Iraqis to pay all security costs for the World’s Largest Embassy (c) in Iraq, thus making all the mercs Iraqi government employees.

    In our universe, however, the big money question is… what do these incidents have to say about the future of the World’s Largest Embassy (c) and the 5,500 mercs/security contractors they employ in Iraq? Is the Embassy going to spend its time putting out fires caused by the unusual non-so-diplomatic arrangements in Iraq, or is this just a beginners blip?

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    Posted in Embassy/State, Iraq