If anything, Blackwater's rivals were angered not so much by the Iraqis' threatened expulsion of Blackwater, but by the Maliki government's flip-flopping on the issue, said Singer. "This was a business opportunity that opened up for them and then very quickly closed off. Blackwater has lots of competitors, and they didn't get a slice of the pie," Singer adds. "But if they are prosecuted, then yes, it's going to cause a lot of wringing of hands in the contractor corps, particularly among non-Iraqi nationals, and especially among western companies, including those from the U.S. 'Am I now going to potentially be prosecuted by an Iraqi kangaroo court?'"
With the Maliki government incensed over the Nisour Square shootings and the State Department attempting to simultaneously protect Blackwater and mollify the Iraqis, Singer observes that the long-simmering feud over security contracting has thrown the U.S. off its diplomatic game. Instead of pressuring Maliki on passing benchmark legislation, the U.S. is trying to appease the prime minister over the security company's continued role in Iraq, post-shooting. "We're damned if we do and damned if we don't," he says. "That's the corner we're painted into by outsourcing first and not even bothering to ask questions later."