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Will Iraq's Blackwater Ban Raise Troop Levels in Baghdad?

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After a car bombing, which set off a firefight in Baghdad, which apparently involved Blackwater security agents, and the deaths of eight Iraqi civilians, Iraq has banned Blackwater from operating in Iraq.

Blackwater has thousands of workers in Iraq, providing security for American diplomats, companies, oil sites. If the ban has any teeth, this could force the US to INCREASE troop levels in Baghdad. Or, it could force a confrontation between the Bush administration, the US military and the Iraqi Government.

CNN reports,
Sunday's firefight took place near Nusoor Square, an area that straddles the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Mansour and Yarmouk.

In addition to the fatalities, 14 people were wounded, most of them civilians, the official said.

The ministry said the incident began around midday, when a convoy of sport utility vehicles came under fire from unidentified gunmen in the square.

The men in the SUVs, described by witnesses as Westerners, returned fire, and the witnesses said the vehicles are the kind used by Western security firms.
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A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad confirmed a State Department convoy was in the area.


CNN described the Iraqi government's response:
"We have revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said Monday. "The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday's killing will be referred to Iraqi justice."


Wired magazine's blog reports,
It's a move clearly meant to boost popular support for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but it's not clear what exactly are the ramifications of the license revocation, or how that will affect Blackwater's security contract with the State Department.
And Wired added, as a follow-up,
Is there even a license to revoke? Buzz on the contractor street is that it isn't clear how this development will affect Blackwater. Allegedly, Blackwater doesn't have a "license" to revoke, and its contracts with the State Department and CIA may not be immediately affected. This could play out in an interesting (albeit depressing) powerplay between the al-Maliki, Iraq's Ministry of Interior, and the U.S. Government.
If the ban does have an effect, the loss of potentially thousands of the security personnel Blackwater provides could force the pentagon to station MORE troops in Baghdad. Who knows what effect this will have on General Petraeus's plans to reduce troop levels?
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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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