Four years after Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq was revoked over the killing of 17 Iraqis, Xe Services LLC — the company formerly known as Blackwater — wants to return to the country.
In an interview published Thursday, Xe President and Chief Executive Ted Wright told The Wall Street Journal that he would like to do business in Iraq again.
“Would I like to go back into Iraq?” Wright said. “Certainly.”
“Would the Iraqi government accept us in Iraq? That’s really the question.”
Wright’s renewed interest in operating in Iraq comes at a time when the U.S. State Department is considering adding 5,000 private contractors to replace some of the U.S. troops that will be withdrawing by the end of the year.
On September 16, 2007, a Blackwater private security detail escorting a convoy of U.S. State Department vehicles through Baghdad opened fire on Iraqis in al-Nisoor square, killing 17. The next day, the U.S. government revoked the company’s license to operate in the country. While the U.S. reinstated Blackwater’s license in 2008, the company was forced to discontinue operations again the following year because Iraq refused to extend the license.
Xe, under Wright’s leadership, has tried to restore the company’s image, but Iraqis will not be quick to welcome them back.
“I would love to do business there,” Wright explained. “I think that we could serve all customers there very well, whether they are commercial customers or government customers.”