Friday, September 09, 2005

Iraqi Govt. To Sack Mercenaries

Fascinating report from the Torygraph's Oliver Poole. Apparently the Iraqi government is trying to get rid of the rash of hired guns all over the country, or at least to set some limits to their activities.

Iraq to bring private armies under control
By Oliver Poole in Baghdad
(Filed: 09/09/2005)

Thousands of heavily armed private security contractors could be expelled from Iraq in a government crackdown.

For more than two years such contractors have roamed with impunity. But now the interior ministry has imposed rules requiring all their firms to be registered and weapons to be carried only by guards holding an official licence.

If any of the companies is considered to be a threat or if it angers a government official its official permit could be revoked and the business ordered to depart....


But under the new rules confirmed yesterday all such firms will be brought under the authority of the Baghdad government.

All companies will have to provide details of their number of employees, jobs undertaken and office addresses.

Most significantly their employees will no longer be allowed to possess a weapon without approval. Many of the firms have considerable firepower. As well as AK-47s and assault rifles some have heavy machineguns and anti-tank rocket launchers.

One company, Blackwater, even has its own fleet of helicopters which criss-cross Baghdad with machine guns poking out from the side.

When the deadline for registration is reached next month anyone unofficially holding a gun will face arrest and a prison term.
Well, that doesn't sound at all bad (although how long until some fatarsed goon lands up rotting in a SCIRI dungeon, and what then?), even if this last line is a little strange:
The initiative has been largely welcomed by established firms in Iraq.
Indeed. Beware the risks of relying on a cowboy security contractor and only use a reputable hitman.

We can but hope that this means the mercs are going to get the, ahem, Bout...

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