Alwaght- Trump's measures in the closing days of his presidency are still controversial.
Recently, he issued pardons to some of Blackwater military contractors who committed crimes during the Iraq campaign.
The pardoned military personnel had hands stained in killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including Nicholas Slatton who was given by court a life sentence. This personnel were convicted for opening fire at Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad on September 16, 2007.
Contractors of Blackwater Security Consulting (now Academi), a private military company contracted by the US government to provide security services in Iraq, shot at Iraqi civilians, in Nisour Square, while escorting a US embassy convoy. Sued by the Iraqis and some rights groups, the criminals were given life sentences. But now they are pardoned by the outgoing president.
In Iraq, the reactions to the Trump measure were massive. Hezbollah Brigades published a statement saying that the “evil American government keeps humiliating the dignity of our people. Pardoning the members of Blackwater who committed Nisour Square crime is an act of oppression.”
“This pardon displays the scale of the US enmity to our people and also its bullying policies. The US lives in illusion to think that we will forget its crimes or quit our right for revenge against the murderers.”
The movement called on all political parties, people, and also the government institutions to confront the US action. “Judicial actions must be taken to bring the US to justice for all its crimes,” the statement read.
Iraq’s foreign ministry also released a statement, lashing out at Trump’s decision to pardon four apparently criminal members of the notorious American security company, adding that the move runs counter to the human rights principles.
The statement said that the decision taken by the US leader did not consider the danger of the crimes committed. It also asserted that the move did not comply with the American stated commitment to principles of human rights, justice, and rule of law. “Lamentably, it disregards the dignity of the victims and the rights of their relatives,” the statement held.
Next in the line came the Iraqi parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission that strongly blasted the move. “We will closely watch the actions taken by the foreign ministry in this regard,” it emphasized.
“Iraq should stop and review contracts with American security companies in response,” the commission urged.
Fatah, Saerun, Sadeqoun, Nasr, State of Law, and Iraqioun Parliamentary blocs separately condemned the move and called it a betrayal of the Iraqi blood.
They held that pardoning criminals condemned by internal and international courts is ignorance of these courts and their stance against the operations that massacred the civilians.
The American president has offered legal cover to the Blackwater criminals, one of whom the jury convicted f murder and three others of shooting and carrying arms. According to the court rulings, Slatton was given a life sentence for “first-class murder” and the three others were sentenced to 30 years in prison.
But what does it mean to forgive criminals who are apparently convicted even by the American courts? Why does the US president pardon them while they are serving their terms?
Trump seems to have a promotional goal behind the act. The rightist and racist groups in the US have always been accused of humiliation and mistreatment of other nations of the world. With this pardon, Trump intended to give green light to the rightist and white supremacist groups in the US. Very likely, he wanted to send them a message telling them his time is not over and he may seek power in the upcoming years.
From another aspect, releasing the war criminals carries hallmarks for the implementation of American capitulation in Iraq. When American war criminals are easily forgiven by the US officials, this means capitulation. The capitulation grants legal immunity to a foreign country’s political and military personnel against prosecutions in the subject country.
Also, the step by the American leader leaves no doubt for many Iraqis that not only the US does not respect their dignity but also it is not afraid to do whatever it can against them.
This approach is not peculiar to a specific American party or person. Rather, the humiliation of their nations is a trait of the American policy. While Iraq burst into massive anger at the Trump measure, in the US there was no reaction. Even the Democrats who look for the smallest pretext against Trump, declined to show the least reactions. Their silence may disclose their relative happiness with the pardons.
Experts assert that it is simple-mindedness to assess the behavior of the Democratic and Republican officials towards Iraq are of great difference. The conclusion is that the US occupation and crimes in Iraq are not specific to a single American party. Rather, the totality of the US political system is not afraid to commit war crimes in other countries.