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Iraq bans security firms on oil fields

UPI  March 19, 2012

BAGHDAD, March 19 (UPI) — With U.S. forces gone from Iraq, Baghdad has banned foreign security contractors, long abhorred by Iraqis, from the 12 major oil fields being developed by international companies, mainly in the south.

But the government may find that hard to enforce.

Iraq’s military and security forces, still being trained by Americans, have shown themselves incapable of maintaining stability and protecting these vital and vulnerable facilities amid a surge in political violence since the U.S. withdrawal was completed Dec. 18.

The order by Iraq’s Oil Ministry was issued Feb. 29 and signed by Director General Faisal Walid. The contractors, the ministry declared, will be replaced by Iraq’s Oil Police who “will provide the necessary protection.”

Whether the 31,000-strong U.S.-trained force is capable of shielding Iraq’s vast oil and gas infrastructure, that includes 4,500 miles of pipelines which Baghdad is expanding under a $50 billion upgrade program, remains to be seen.

The ban reflects a wider drive by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government to impose tough restrictions on the tens of thousands of private security personnel who remain in Iraq, and eventually to throw them all out

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March 19, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment