Iraq

Ex-Blackwater Guards Out of Iraq

About 250 private security guards once employed by Blackwater and still working in Iraq have been ordered to leave the country within seven days, the Iraqi interior minister said. The order is seen as a response to the dismissal by an American judge of criminal charges against five Blackwater guards accused of shooting 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007, though Vice President Joe Biden said last month that the U.S. would appeal that decision. Some of the guards affected work for a subsidiary of Blackwater, now called Xe, and others have moved to different private contracting firms. The shooting incident took place in the Baghdad intersection Nisoor Square, when guards protecting American diplomats opened fire on the square. Women and children were among the dead. Iraqis are now extra suspicious of American private security guards, and they are routinely stopped, searched, and questioned at checkpoints.