Less than a week after the discovery of online video footage of an American Iraqi hostage, Issa Salomi, 250 former Blackwater security guards have been formally asked to leave Iraq (Iraq orders former Blackwater security guards out Washington Post, By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, February 11, 2010). One of the kidnappers' demands, as presented by Salomi in the online video, was "the expulsion of former Blackwater security guards."
That's an uncomfortably strange coincidence.
Iraq expels 250 ex-Blackwater staff
Al Jazeera, February 12, 2010
Making the announcement on Thursday, Jawad Bolani, the interior minister, said: "We have sent an order to 250 former Blackwater employees, who today are working with other security companies in Iraq, to leave the country in seven days and we have confiscated their residence permits.
"All of those concerned were notified four days ago and so they have three days to leave. This decision was made in connection with the crime that took place at Nisur Square."
Bolani was referring to an incident at the busy Baghdad square in September 2007, when five guards employed by Blackwater were accused of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in a gun and grenade attack, and wounding 18 others.