Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Iraq Says US Has Agreed to Strip American Guards of Legal Protections

If the Iraqi foreign minister is to be believed, the United States "has agreed" to strip legal protections from Americans who guard US officials from terrorist attacks.

If true, this means that the US is agreeing to place private security contractors in the hands of Iraq's dysfunctional and corrupt judicial system. Current policy protects American private security contractors from prosecution in Iraq, though they may be tried in the US under American law.

The French AFP news service quotes Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying, "The immunity for private security guards has been removed. The US has agreed on it."

Zebari made the comment to AFP after he briefed Iraqi lawmakers on an Iraqi-American security agreement currently under negotiation.

However, the US isn't saying anything. A US Embassy spokeswoman in Baghdad declined comment, telling AFP, "We do not comment on the contents of ongoing negotiations." Separately, a White House official declined comment to the New York Times.

The Washington Post reports that Iraq is also pushing for the US to lift legal protections for American military personnel.

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