More than 50,000 private guards work
in Iraq [EPA]

More than 50,000 heavily armed private guards are in Iraq under contract with either the US government or private companies.

Their job is to protect the lives and property of mostly American and British company employees who are involved in reconstruction projects in Iraq.

But the violent conduct of these mercenaries has fuelled more anger and resentment among Iraqis.

Private security contractors have been involved in scores of civilian shootings in Iraq, but none have been prosecuted.

Under the law, they have immunity in Iraqi courts from all wrongdoings. This gives little recourse to Iraqis seeking justice for wrongful shootings of innocent people.

What is worse is that the insurgents are attacking US and Iraqi troops in retaliation for such killings.

There are grave risks faced by these security contractors in Iraq but the rewards are extremely high. 

The Pentagon says since 2003 at least $766million in contracts have been awarded to such companies.

Inside Iraq looks at the legal loophole which protects the misdeeds of private security companies and the impact of their continued presence in a country that is facing increasing sectarian violence.

Our guests this week are Brad Blakeman, a former senior White House advisor, and Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC.

Watch this episode of Inside Iraq here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from Friday, December 14, 2007 [Originally aired on June 08, 2007]

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Source: Al Jazeera