Michael Ware


NR: "There are no American contractors involved in this incident."

Length: 2:52

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HEIDI COLLINS: Forty-three Pentagon contractors detained in Iraq. Some of them accused of shooting a civilian.

We want to go straight to CNN's Michael Ware now for us this morning.
Michael, tell us what happened.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, according to the U.S. military, what happened yesterday is that this convoy from a private construction firm that included security guards -- obviously no one can move in this country without security guards -- was driving up the wrong way on a thoroughfare in a central part of the city. Now, as they were doing this, it said that one of their guards or some of their guards opened fired and, as a result, they wounded an Iraqi woman.
Now, this is really bringing us to the cutting edge of how difficult it is to operate in this country and it shows you how insurmountable some of these challenges are at nation-building. I mean, this is the American military. These are Department of Defense contractors. These are the people who are nation-building.
They're doing what the Army once upon a time used to do -- delivering food, building roads, building schools. But they need their own security to protect them. And we're seeing the Iraqi government flex its muscles and crack down on some of their behavior. So this is sure to heighten tensions between the American and the Iraqi governments.
Now, of the 43, the nationalities include Fijians, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, Indians and some Iraqis. Most importantly, the U.S. military says it's up to the Iraqi government what happens to them from this point on. The Iraqi government will decide what, if any, criminal charges are to be applied, and of the 43 detained, most are expected to be released soon, except for those involved in the shooting. On the back of the Blackwater incident last month, this really is going to inflame the situation -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Michael, there have been some questions about whether or not there were any Americans that were being detained. I think that we have learned there are not. Is that correct? Is that the information you have?
WARE: That's absolutely correct, Heidi. I mean, what we heard yesterday from one of the most senior Iraqi government spokesmen, in an odd -- in an unusual turn of events, an Iraqi spokesman had it completely wrong. There are no American contractors involved in this incident, at least.
As I said, there was a range of nationalities that I listed. None of them are American. Certainly this is a construction and logistics company based in Dubai. It has a contract with the American Department of Defense, but, no, there are no Americans right now as a result of this incident in the custody of the Iraqi army -- Heidi.
COLLINS: All right. CNN's Michael Ware live from Baghdad for us this morning.
Michael, thank you.