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Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

Privatising War

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2008 at 10:38 pm

By Galal Nassar

As quelling foreign populations becomes a staple of warfare, private mercenary forces are increasingly relied upon as a tool of foreign policy

31/05/08 “Al-Ahram” — It is not just government forces, the resistance and sectarian strife that have wrought chaos in Iraq. The US invasion of Iraq and subsequent policies were what triggered the security breakdown and unleashed the chaos. To make matters worse, on the heels of the occupying forces followed thousands of personnel from private firms that offer military services for hire. The corporate mercenary business is a relatively recent phenomenon and this article attempts to probe what function it plays and how it operates in Iraq and elsewhere.

There are now more than 50 private security firms currently operating in Iraq and their number is likely to increase, according to recent reports. Officially their function is to protect vital facilities (from government buildings to oil wells) and important persons (the US ambassador, for example). Some of these companies have special information gathering and analysis departments whose staff has access to state-of-the-art military and security technologies. Global Risks is one such company. Charged with protecting Baghdad International Airport, it has hired for this purpose 500 Nepalese and 500 Fijian soldiers who are apparently the cheapest of the 30 nationalities of mercenaries currently in Iraq.

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