Joe Biden Will Be Pressured By Iraq To Reverse Donald Trump’s Blackwater Pardons, Report Says

President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly face lobbying to reverse Donald Trump’s recently announced pardons for the Blackwater mercenaries involved in the 2007 Iraqi massacre, The Guardian reported.

Paul Slough, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, and Nicholas Slatten opened fire on a crowd of unarmed people in Nisour Square, Baghdad with grenade launchers, machine guns, and a sniper in what the publication called one of the “lowest points” in the United States’ invasion of Iraq. The massacre killed 14 people, including an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old.

Biden previously backed a new prosecution of Slatten after the initial move was thrown out by a federal judge. An aide to Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Khadimi said that the incoming head of state will definitely face heavy lobbying by Iraqi officials to walk back Trump’s decision.

“It will be the first thing we discuss with him,” he said.

The Guardian reported that Trump’s pardons have sparked outrage in Iraq, and Baghdad residents allegedly view his recent announcement as an insult to their people.

Dr. Haidar al-Barzanji, an Iraqi researcher and academic, claims that the president has “no right” to offer clemency to the mercenaries on behalf of the victims’ families.

“It is at odds with human rights and against the law. In Iraqi law they can only be pardoned if the families of victims pardon them. I encourage the families of the victims to request a complaint against Trump when the Biden administration starts.”

The outrage doesn’t mean the pardons are unexpected. A former classmate of Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, one of the Nisour Square casualties, claimed that Trump’s announcement did not come as a shock for many Iraqis.

“The Americans have never approached us Iraqis as equals,” she told AFP.

“As far as they are concerned, our blood is cheaper than water and our demands for justice and accountability are merely a nuisance.”

During the U.S.’s occupation of Iraq, The Guardian claimed that contractors supporting the American military and logistics companies were often accused of “heavy-handed and disrespectful behaviour towards locals.”

The Blackwater pardons are among several that Trump has granted to American military contractors and personnel that have been convicted of crimes against civilians and non-combatants in war zones. The recent wave has sparked theories that Trump is eyeing a private army that could involve Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who has advised in the U.S. leader’s administration and has a long history of training CIA operatives and organizing foreign mercenaries.

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