Iraqis Angered as Blackwater Charges Are Dropped

BAGHDAD — Iraqis on Friday reacted with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation to news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007 in an incident that left 17 dead.
The Blackwater guards said they believed that they had come under small-arms fire from insurgents when they began firing machine guns, grenade launchers and a sniper rifle in Nisour Square, a busy Baghdad traffic intersection. But investigators concluded that the guards, who were escorting American diplomats, had indiscriminately fired in an unprovoked and unjustified assault.
The problem with the court case, according to the federal judge who issued the ruling, was that statements given by the guards had been improperly used, compromising their rights.
The shooting, a signal event of the war here, helped calcify anti-American sentiment in Iraq and elsewhere. It also raised Iraqi concerns about the extent of its sovereignty because Blackwater guards had immunity from local prosecution, and stoked a debate about American dependence on private security contractors in the Iraq war.
Many Iraqis also viewed the prosecution of the guards as a test case... >>>

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