Guest post by Kristinn Taylor
An ISIS parade in Mosul Thursday.
The Washington Post inexplicably buried the lede in Thursday night’s story on U.S. contractors starting evacuations from Iraq.
One has to read to the ninth paragraph (out of eleven) to read of the report that U.S. security contractors traversing embattled areas are engaging in gun battles as they try to evacuate other civilian contractors:
“Contractor evacuations began Wednesday, if not earlier, said Ginger Cruz, CEO of Mantid International LLC, a consulting firm that works with numerous companies in Iraq…
“On Thursday, the electronics giant Siemens was working to get about 50 employees out of Baiji, Cruz said. It was not clear exactly what their operation there entails, but the company announced in February that it had signed a deal to provide service and maintenance to a large gas power plant there. The oil refinery city is some 130 miles north of Baghdad.
“Cruz said that her firm has recommended using teams of U.S. and Kurdish private security firms to evacuate the contractors because the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq’s north had sent its security forces known as pesh merga to take control of the city of Kirkuk after Iraqi security forces abandoned their bases and equipment and fled. The Kurdish forces now control roads in the region.
“Negotiations were ongoing to secure the safety of foreign personnel in Baiji and to get them out of harm’s way. U.S. security contractors involved reported that they engaged in gunfire to get through the region, Cruz said.”
The article closed noting the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Iraq are currently maintaining a full staff.