Blackwater USA is out of business in Iraq according to the BBC News. This is the same company supplying security forces in Afghanistan. A friend’s husband who is an Air Force officer serving in Afghanistan was involved in a road side standoff with a Blackwater employee about a year ago. That case was fill with suspicions of tampered evidence and false testimony on the Blackwater side of that case. Back in April my friend’s husband was cleared of all charges that could have sent him to jail.
The recent incident involving Blackwater in Iraq has spawned investigations by the Iraqi and US governments. There are estimates that reports as many 25,000 civilian security employees in Iraq with about 1000 of them working for Blackwater. All of the Blackwater security forces have been ordered to leave Iraq expect those involved in the recent roadside shooting incident. It will be interesting to see how Iraqi security forces and the US military respond to this void of such a large number of armed private security forces in the coming weeks. One report says that the US has suspended land travel of US diplomats in Iraq.
Most of the emphasis is given to the US military presence in Iraq that has peaked at nearly 160,000. The much overlooked number is an estimated 100,000 plus civilians who are working in Iraq. After subtracting the security forces, the remaining 75,000 US civilians work in variety of jobs ranging from cooks to translators to pilots to engineers to doctors to laborers.