The United States has banned all diplomatic road convoys outside Baghdad’s Green Zone, because of fears of attacks following a fatal shooting involving the American private security firm Blackwater. The US embassy in Iraq said the ban was imposed to reassess security procedures. Blackwater has a contract to protect US officials in Iraq. The company has been accused of opening fire recklessly in Baghdad on Sunday, killing up to 20 civilians. Its permit to operate in Iraq has been withdrawn.
Baghdad’s Green Zone is supposed to be the most secure area in Iraq. Embassies and military headquarters are within its perimeter. Blackwater is one of some 180 security firms working in Iraq. With military forces at full stretch, they provide additional protection. Some Iraqis however accuse them of being private armies acting outside the law.