So it begins.
It’ll be harder to extract our military from Iraq than we’ve admitted to ourselves (and that’s saying something), because with all the mercenaries and their support systems we’ve really got over a quarter-million people on the ground. Of course about a quarter of them are Iraqis, but a lot of those will want to leave.
They’ll have to catch something other than Expat Airlines, though. So will the Indians and Pakistanis who’ve been employed in large numbers by the various contractors, as described for example in Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City.
Pro Group, with offices in Amman and the United Kingdom, is launching Expat Airways in conjunction with the Jordanian Air Force. The Baghdad flights will use Jordan’s Marka Airport.
Ashraf Mraish, managing director for Pro Group, based in Amman, said Jordan’s tight visa restrictions drove the decision to exclude non-Westerners. Refugees have overwhelmed Jordan, which has imposed strict entry requirements for Iraqis.
“It would cost us much more to accommodate non-Westerners,” Mraish said this week. “We hope this flight is a solution to make (contractors’) lives easier.”
You can see why the Jordanian Air Force would consider it a national security issue to get Americans and other Westerners out of Baghdad, can’t you? Well, I can’t. It looks to me like a US operation under Jordanian cover. Probably Blackwater and Halliburton types starting to draw down.
According to the article, US taxpayers are funding payroll for 180,000 contract workers in Iraq. And of course we also have about 150,000 uniformed military folks there. It’s gonna take a while to get that many people out. But with those in the White House seeing clear signs of desertion in Republican ranks, the panic they deny is obviously setting in.
So it looks like they’re starting to decamp. But they don’t want anyone to know that, a perfect symbol of which is that Expat Airlines planes will have no logo.