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Published: February 17, 2016

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior granted Pilgrims Security Services (Iraq) its operating licence for the 12th year in succession at a small presentation ceremony held at the Ministry of Interior’s Private Security Company Directorate.

The re-award is a notable achievement in a highly regulated space into which Iraq’s government has focused increasing levels of attention since a notorious shooting incident in 2007. The event took place in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, where 17 civilians were killed and 20 wounded in a hail of bullets fired by consultants working for a US private military company.

Since the departure of US forces at the end of 2011, the government has further tightened the requirements on foreign companies, the need for which is acknowledged, although some politicians continue to perceive them as a threat.

Most recently, some large international companies have floundered without a licence for up to 18 months, whilst compliance irregularities have been investigated. The Pilgrims licencing record, by contrast, has been exemplary throughout the period.