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Iraq bans security firms on oil fields

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...The contractors, the ministry declared, will be replaced by Iraq's Oil Police who "will provide the necessary protection."...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...These companies using heavily armed mercenaries, most of them ex-military men, have a reputation in Iraq for reckless operations in which innocent civilians have been killed and with few of the perpetrators being brought to justice. [refers to Blackwater (now Academi)]

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