Alwaght- The Iraqi government has signed a contract with a US security firm to secure a road between Baghdad and Amman, the Jordanian capital.
Doctor Muwaffak al-Rubaie, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee has revealed that the Olive Group is notorious Blackwater security firm which rebranded to Security Consultants Group following killing of the civilians in Iraq. The company again renamed to Olive Group after merger with a British protection company with the same name. Now it is returning to Iraq with an all-new face after signing a deal with the Iraqi government that will see it maintain and secure the international highway that connects Iraq to Jordan through their capitals.
The move by the Iraqi government comes in accordance with the US plans to distance the Public Mobilization Forces (PMF), a militant force formed in opposition to the ISIS terrorist group, and the national security forces as a whole from some cases. The measure is said to be signaling the government’s distrust in the capabilities of the national forces. Some Iraqi sides have called for halting the policy of asking help from the private security forces from foreign countries to secure the country’s infrastructure, particularly the Baghdad-Amman Highway which plays role of a lifeline for the Iraqi capital.
Second, the most surprising issue for the Iraqi people is that the new contractor is originally the Blackwater though under a new brand. The Backwater is remembered by the Iraqis for its shocking massacre. In September 2007, the employees of the firm shot at Iraqi civilians, killing 17 and injuring 20 in downtown Baghdad, a crime now recognized as Nisour Square massacre.
The new post-merger Olive Group is a security firm based in the UAE, with Iraq standing as its main area of contracting. The company provides protection services to the government offices as well as the important figures. The important thing about the company is that its activities are fairly restricted to Iraq while its central office is in the UAE.
The UAE has been a center of the Blackwater. The company was hired to provide service not only in Iraq but also the Persian Gulf Arab states until 2007, the year it was expelled from Iraq by the government. Blackwater, however, remains active in other Arab countries, particularly the UAE where, according to the American press including the New York Times, it has undertaken protection of the prisons. Moreover, the firm signed a contract with the ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to establish a secret force of 800 employees for more than $500 million.
All in all, Olive Group is a redesigned version of Blackwater and seeks returning to Iraq quietly without provocation of the Iraqi people who to date are disgruntled with the older abuses.
The experts warn that the issue cannot go on silently, calling for the Iraqi people and the politicians to consider the big harms of return of these type of security companies to Iraq under the cover of investment projects to build roads, bridges, and also help provide job opportunities to the Iraqis, specifically the Al Anbar youths.
Iraq is itself having potentials to maintain and secure roads. The recent gains of the national Iraqi forces, among them the PMF, against the ISIS terrorists are apparently indicating that they can guard the country’s vital infrastructure and government offices.
Another matter is that such contracts will increase the American forces in Iraq, though in a different form. Something warned against by the member of the parliament Mansur al-Baigi who asserted that entrusting the Baghdad international highway security to a foreign company requires the approval of the parliament’s political factions. He cautioned the government against any further security agreement with the Americans.