Updated at 7:07 p.m. EST, Feb. 11, 2010
Hundreds of former Blackwater security guards have until Sunday to leave Iraq in a clear act of retribution for the dismissal of a U.S. court case against the company. The Iraqi government, meanwhile, also complained about former PM Allawi’s "dangerous" statements about civil war. At least three Iraqis were killed and eight were wounded in light violence, while a U.S. soldier died of injuries received in a non-combat incident.
Late yesterday, Iraq ordered about 250 former Blackwater security guards to leave Iraq by Sunday. Although the guards now work for other private companies, the order came just weeks after a U.S. judge threw out criminal charges against five guards accused of murdering Iraqis in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Following the controversial shooting, Blackwater changed its name to Xe.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh called former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi‘s statements on a possible civil war over an elections blacklist dangerous. The blacklist was purportedly designed to eliminate Ba’ath Party supporters from running in next month elections, but many, including Allawi, believe the list is being used to help Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki retain power. Late in the day, an appeals panel issued their final ruling on the eligibility of two prominent Sunni lawmakers. Despite evidence to the contrary, Saleh al-Mutlaq and Dhafir al-Ani were disqualified for their alleged loyalty to the Ba’ath Party. Twenty-eight others, however, were cleared to run.
A spokesman for the Peshmerga said that about 450 of the Kurdish fighters are now working alongside Iraqi and U.S. forces. The joint operation is designed to reduce tensions between the Kurdish and Arab residents of northern Iraq. In recent years clashes have broken out between Peshmerga fighters and the regular Iraqi army. While the Peshmerga are preferred by the local Kurds, the Iraqi government has pushed its own troops into the area to undermine Kurdish claims to oil-rich but historically Kurdish territory.
Five people were wounded during a clash between gunmen and police in Haditha. Three policemen, including a former chief were among the wounded.
In Baghdad, a blast in Bayaa left two civilians with injuries. Gunmen killed an imam last night in Amiriya. The Justice Ministry released 85 detainees from two Baghdad jails for lack of evidence against them.
A blast in Qahira wounded one civilian.
Security forces found 27 mortars buried in Karbala.
A bomb was defused and a weapons cache was discovered in Souk al-Shyoukh.
Twenty-one suspects were detained in Basra province.
Several gunmen were arrested in Arab Jabour. One stands accused of being the "electricity minister" for the Islamic State of Iraq armed group.
Five suspects were captured in Balad.
Six suspects were detained during an operation in Kirkuk and Diyala provinces.
During an operation in Dhi Qar at an Iraqi army depot, security forces defused a live bomb.
Four suspects were arrested near Touz Khormato.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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