Friday, September 09, 2005

Iraq Clusterfuck: Gee, who's running the war? The mercenaries? 

Wait, don't answer that:

Iraqi troops were ordered to reopen Baghdad airport yesterday after a British security company halted commercial flights in a pay dispute, cutting one of the country's few outside links.

The government threatened a showdown with Global Strategies Group, saying the London-based firm overstepped its powers when private guards shut the airport at dawn.
(via Guardian)

But now the story gets even curiouser:

The London-based company said it was forced to suspend operations because the transport ministry, which owns the airport, had not paid it for seven months.

A similar dispute in June shut the facility for two days.

Global has about 550 security staff, mostly Nepalese, American, British and Iraqi, manning what is in effect a fortress with a runway, a sprawl of concrete, razor wire and checkpoints.

Shortly after dawn the company said it would maintain security but there would be no flights, nor passengers allowed entry, until bills were settled. Military flights which have their own runway and facilities continued unaffected.

"Global has been in constant negotiations with senior members of the Iraqi government, which is currently not paying the company," said a statement.

"Once payment has been made by the client, Global will resume its work and thus allow normal air operations to resume."

The mercenaries haven't been paid? B-but, we're spending billions over there. So, where did the money go?

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