Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

Private war is still ongoing in Iraq!

It’s not the first time that a convoy of armed persons working for Private Security Companies (PMSCs) is attacked in the streets of Baghdad , but this time it looks like that we are talking about a turn in the story of the “Private War” in Iraq .  The Private War that was brought by the American and British, during and after the invasion in 2003, is not over yet! Today, the 4th of October 2012, a car bombing happened in al-Mansur neighborhood- west Baghdad. The bombing was targeting a convoy of one of the local Private Security Companies that works in Iraq. According to France Press news agency[1], Sixteen persons were injured, between civilians and privet security persons , at least four of the civilians were killed. When we hear about the Private Security Companies in Iraq , we might remember first the case of Al-Nisur square in Baghdad , when an international PMSC open fire on civilians and killed seventeen innocents persons. However,  for Iraqis  ‘Al-Nisur case’ is only one example of many cases where civilians lost their life and property because of the Private armed persons simply don’t respect human lives  and properties, what do they care about is Just to “accomplish”  their missions and protect who is sitting in the armored car by any means! What is different about today’s attack  is that we are talking here about a local PMSCs that are now many in Iraq and they run a big business. These companies are now in competition with each other,  and many of them , maybe the majority are linked to political parties and politicians in Iraq. While, in Afghanistan, a national regulation prohibited high-ranking officials and their relatives up to the second degree from being the owner or partner of a security company. However, in Iraq such a law that can regulate this and other issues concerning the activities of PMSCs has been delayed and is pending for discussion since 2008. Big contracts with this companies to protect Iraqi politicians , VIPs, and important facilities all over Iraq  is for sure part of the spread  corruption. An high ranked officer that works with Iraqi army and refuses to mention his name , had stated after the last attack to a local electronic newspaper “Altahreernews” that : “probably this attack was organized by another Private Security Company ,as part of the conflict of interests and the competition among local and international PMSCs working in Iraq”.  He also said Iraq “will face a new security challenge as the war for gaining more money and contracts in Iraq will go on between these mafias”    the last word was exactly his expression about the PMSCs and one of the faces of what we call Private War in Iraq! Al-Masur neighborhood used to be one of the richest  areas in  Baghdad , before 2003 war, many companies and embassies used to have their offices there. After the war it is still an important neighborhood but known as more risky than the center of Baghdad for example. But yet the civilians all over Iraq feel that they are more exposed to explosions and random shootings and other kind of human rights violations , when these kind of convoys pass their neighborhoods. A PMSCs convoy means : armored cars with blinded windows, persons inside with lots of weapons pointed to the people, they don’t spot in traffic lights most of the times ,  they used to drive in the opposite direction to overcome traffic jumps and they shoot fire if they feel any risk ! It’ is a big contradiction to see a country like Iraq with almost one million armed persons between soldiers and policemen and other kinds of governmental security forces  and lots of weapons , that still needs to depend on private companies to provide its own security ; it’s hard to tell if this Private War have limits or any end in the foreseeable future. by : Ismaeel Dawood

[1] The Link related to this news (in Arabic )