Global Policy Forum

PMSCs in Iraq

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How the US Public was Defrauded by the Hidden Cost of the Iraq War (March 11, 2013)

The tenth anniversary of the US-led military intervention in Iraq has been met with a number of retrospective analyses examining various aspects of the war. This article argues that the Bush administration intentionally hid the costs of war by publically underestimating its costs, recording significant expenses outside of the Pentagons annual budget, and relying on private military contractors rather than traditional military forces. While none of these measures actually reduced the monetary costs of war, they obscured expenses and minimized the potential for public concern. Private military contractors were not only costly, but their involvement in numerous infamous incidents may have had a destabilizing effect, exacerbating the conflict and its costs. Ultimately, the Iraq war demonstrates that, despite the reassurances or subterfuge of political leaders, war is an inevitably costly endeavor. (Guardian)


Contractors in War Zones: Not Exactly "Contracting" (October 9, 2012)

As US troops will soon be out of Iraq and Afghanistan, foreign military presence will remain part of the reality of these two countries through private military and security companies.  As of today, “there are more contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan”. In fact, the Pentagon employs approximately 137,000 private contractors in 20 countries around the world. In this article, David Isenberg presents “how dependent on them the Pentagon has become”. Not only are those mercenaries less accountable and prone to misconduct than regular military forces, but they will perpetuate conflict dynamics outside of the view of Western publics and democratic control. (Time)

The Explosion of Private Militaries and Mercenaries, Post-Iraq (September 25, 2012)

Faiza Patel, Head of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, denounces the increasing presence of private military and security companies in zones of conflict around the world. Taking the example of post-conflict Iraq, she believes that PMSCs “are likely to remain a feature of both war and peace, diversifying into markets ranging from guarding ships in the Indian Ocean to spying in East Africa.” While “the international community [still] lacks the tools and political will to control them or bring them to book”, only a clear and binding international jurisdiction will make them accountable for their potential violations of human rights in times of war. (Public Service Europe)

A Humanitarian Perspective on the Privatization of Warfare (September 14, 2012)

Private Military and Security Companies have been in the limelight recently for the excessive use of force resulting in civilian casualties. Their activities extend from monitoring detention facilities in conflict-zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, to anti-piracy operations on the high seas. This privatization of warfare is accompanied by a lack of accountability. The ICRC looks to International Humanitarian Law to address this problem. PMSCs act outside the military chain of command and are often exempt from the laws of the contracting states. In regard, the ICRC highlights the existing Montreaux Document of 2008, which proposes accountability guidelines as one of the possible solutions to the problem of PMSCs. (ICRC)

Cheap Help from Uganda (May 2012)

By 2008, US private military companies, including Torres, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Sabre, and SOC, had hired 10,000 Ugandans for work in Iraq. But Ugandans were paid less on average $700 dollars a month, while US workers were paid up to $10,000 dollars a month. Ugandans were often forced to work 15 hours a day under bad conditions with no job security. Many Ugandans couldn’t afford to complain or quit due to inflation back home. Some Ugandan workers referred to their situation as modern slavery. In this article, the author examines how the lack of regulation and oversight of private military companies operating in war-torn areas have led to labor-related abuses of hired third world nationals. (Le Monde Diplomatique)

US Control of Contractors in Iraq is Vital (February 1, 2012)

US diplomatic personnel in Iraq are protected by 5,000 private security contractors. In a 2008 survey, almost half of the US State Department personnel who interacted with private security contractors thought the contractors acted insensitively towards Iraqis and their culture. Contractors threw water bottles and other objects at civilians to clear them off roadways. This article published on The Hill questions the ability of private security contractors to properly protect US diplomats, and calls for US policymakers to increase oversight of PMSCs in Iraq. (The Hill)

US Drones Patrolling Its Skies Provoke Outrage in Iraq (January 29, 2012)

In September, 2011, the US State Department placed an online prospectus calling for private military companies to operate surveillance drones in “high conflict” areas, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq. Iraqi officials, however, argue that drone operations disrespect Iraqi sovereignty. Not surprisingly, some Iraqi citizens do not differentiate between surveillance drones and weapon drones, which have destroyed villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan under the pretext of pursuing terrorists. Privatization of surveillance drones to “protect” US diplomats in Iraq would hamper Iraq’s state-building efforts. (NY Times)

Flexing Musicle, Baghdad Detains US Contractors (January 15, 2012)

Iraqi authorities have detained US security contractors with expired documents. Despite the US military’s withdrawal last December, close to 5,000 security contractors still work for the American Embassy in Baghdad. American officials say that private contractors are necessary for “development” in postwar Iraq. But Iraq has been weary of private contractors since the 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, when Blackwater personnel killed 17 Iraqi civilians. For Iraqi’s, contractors remain a powerful symbol of US Influence. Iraqi authorities have been working to ensure that contractors comply with Iraqi procedures rather than US rules. The act aims to strengthen Iraqi sovereignty. (NY Times)


US Hiring Mercenary Air Force for Iraq Rescues (November 14, 2011)

As the US military prepares to pull out of Iraq, the US State Department has begun to look for more private security contractors to “protect diplomats stationed in Iraq”. While the US military is officially scheduled to leave Iraq by December 31st, (spell it out) private military security companies allow the US to continue to wage war while giving the impression that they are scaling down the size of their military. These private contractors, hired for “rescue operations,” will join thousands of other “hidden” contractors left on the ground after the US military officially leaves. (Common Dreams)

The US Departure from Iraq is an Illusion (October 25, 2011)

This Guardian opinion piece examines the false notion that the US will leave Iraq in December 2011. While the US military is scheduled to pull out of Iraq in December 2011, it will continue to maintain its influence by keeping US diplomatic stations,  US military trainers, NATO forces, and increased drones and targeted assassinations. In anticipation of the military-withdrawal, the US has hired additional private military security companies allowing the US to continue its military presence. The US also is said to operate the principal Iraqi Intelligence service.  (Guardian)

Back to Iraq? Only If Invited, Contractor Says (September 29, 2011)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President and CEO of Xe Services LLC (formerly Blackwater) Ted Wright announced that he would like to do business in Iraq again, if the Iraqi government would allow it. Blackwater was evicted from Iraq in 2007 when its contractors killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a shootout in Baghdad. As the US military begins to pull out of Iraq, the US government will rely more on private security contractors.

Australia’s Use of Private Security Firms in Iraq (August 10, 2011)

The use of private military and security companies in place of national forces is becoming increasingly visible. Australia - in line with its withdrawal from Iraq - has now removed 33 soldiers from guarding the Iraqi embassy and replaced them with private security company Unity Resources Group (URG). URG, based in Dubai, won the $9 million contract from the Australian Government, despite controversy surrounding its involvement in the shooting of an Australian citizen in Iraq in 2006. (ABC News Australia)

US Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq (July 22, 2011)

The US State department is looking to deploy more than 5,100 private military security personnel in Iraq from January 2012. The private personnel will supposedly act as an armed “security” force for 12,000 US State department staff members. This article describes them as “a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade.”  The US State department is not disclosing details, however, and is obstructing requests for information made by the independent government watchdog (the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR)). The US State department has hired private security for its diplomats in war zones for more than a decade. Poor control of them caused one of the biggest debacles of the Iraq war. (Wired)

Occupying Iraq, State Department-Style (June 7, 2011)

In October 2011, full responsibility for the US’ presence in Iraq will be transferred from the US military to the Department of State. The US embassy in Iraq is the largest embassy in the world but the Department of State has requested that its budget for 2012 almost triple in size (to $6.3billion) and expects to double its presence to 17,000 personnel. This number includes mercenaries and support roles, with only a few hundred traditional diplomats. Thus, Iraq will continue to be run by a heavily militarized US State Department -- unless Congress refuses to pay for it. This is unlikely to be received well in a changing and increasingly politicized Middle East. (Tom Dispatch)


Use of Contractors Added to War’s Chaos in Iraq (October 23, 2010)

This article highlights the failings of security contractors to coordinate with other security firms, the military, and police, which created a less stable situation in Iraq. Moreover, contractors stood out in their late model SUVs. Because they were easily identifiable, their use was actually detrimental to overall security. (New York Times)

Panel Examines Contractor Drawdown in Iraq (March 29, 2010)

A congressional committee questioned military leaders and KBR, one of the Pentagon's biggest defense companies with contracts totaling $38 billion, about how they plan to reduce the number of private contractor employees in Iraq to no more than 75,000 by August 2010. A recent Pentagon Inspector General report found that KBR contractors were billing the US government for "12 hours of truck maintenance work, but in reality only working an average of 1.3 hours". Congress wants assurance that contractors "don't have unnecessary staff hanging around without work, but still drawing pay."

Army Awards Lucrative Iraq Contract to KBR (March 3, 2010)

The US administration has awarded KBR Inc. an Iraq-based defense contract potentially worth $2.8 billion. KBR stated "The award demonstrates that the government recognizes KBR's ability and expertise in delivering high quality service in challenging contingency environments." However, KBR is the same company that recently was responsible for the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq through incompetence. Further, David Graff from the Pentagon, stated that KBR had "continuing quality deficiencies" and was "not sufficiently in touch with the urgency or realities of what was actually occurring on the ground."


Blackwater Said to Pursue Bribes to Iraq After 17 Died (November 10, 2009)

In September 2007, Blackwater contractors opened fire on a crowd in Nisour Square, killing 17 Iraqi civilians and wounding many others. Following this attack, a US-Iraqi joint investigation was launched, focusing on the shootings themselves as well as on the wider use of Private Security Contractors in Iraq. In order to counter any repercussion from the shootings , Blackwater gave bribes - amounting to one million dollars - to Iraqi officials so as to buy their silence. (New York Times)

US Court Dismisses Iraqi Contractor Torture Case (September 11, 2009)

A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit against two US defense contractors accused of torturing Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison. This ruling upholds the 1992 US Supreme Court decision that private military and security companies have immunity because they are government contractors. (Reuters)

Sometimes It’s Not Your War, But You Sacrifice Anyway (August 17, 2009)

In an attempt to “outsource” the Iraq and Afghanistan war, the US is increasingly hiring the cheapest labor possible. This Washington Post article reports that two-thirds of the 200,000 civilians working in the war zones are foreigners, often coming from many poor countries. Under the Defense Base Act, all civilians workers employed abroad are required to purchase insurance to cover injuries arising from work or war, whether they are US or Foreign citizens. However, foreign civilian workers are rarely informed of this right and their care, or lack thereof, has been relegated to the large scale insurance firms that have a consistent record of denying claims from US contractors, let alone foreign contractors. (ProPublica)

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care from AIG and Other Insurers (April 16, 2009)

1,400 Civilian workers have died and 31,000 have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. These workers are the hidden causalities of the war, the “invisible, discard able military.” These civilian workers rarely get adequate care if they are injured (if any).  Insurance companies, like AIG, have collected more than $1.5 billion in premiums paid by US taxpayers and earned more than $600 million in profits for insuring civilian workers. However,  they have rejected almost half the claims filed by contractors, forcing these injured workers to wage costly and lengthy court battles for basic medical care and benefits. (LA Times and ProPublica)

Blackwater: We Will Leave Iraq if US Orders it (January 30, 2009)

Blackwater, which has been operating in Iraq without formal license since 2006, states that it is willing to leave Iraq if ordered, but that such a move "would far more hurt the reconstruction team and the diplomats trying to rebuild the country than it would hurt us as a business." Blackwater's contract with the State Department accounts for about one-third of the company's overall revenue. Following a shooting in 2007 with 17 civilian deaths, the contractor has a reputation for "operating aggressively and with excessive force. (International Herald Tribune)


State Department: Drop Blackwater in Iraq (December 17, 2008)

A report by the US State Department's Inspector General may recommend that Blackwater should lose its license in Iraq after the trial of six Blackwater officials for the killing of 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. US investigators say Blackwater guards were involved in 70 shooting incidents involving civilians before the 2007 shooting. (Huffington Post)

Blackwater Operatives Indicted for Slaughter of Iraqi Civilians (December 9, 2008)

The US Justice Department is charging five Blackwater operatives with manslaughter for the killing of seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in September 2007. The employees will be prosecuted under the Military Extraterritorial Act of 2000 and charged under provisions in an anti drug law, despite the fact that no drugs were involved. The Blackwater company will be exempt from any of the charges. (The Nation)

A Whitewash for Blackwater? (December 9, 2008)

Eugene Robinson argues the US Justice Department should investigate Blackwater executives for their part in the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. The Justice Department should consider whether the security firm provided adequate training for its guards and whether Blackwater promotes a culture of violence. (Washington Post)

Military Contractor in Iraq Holds Foreign Workers in Warehouses (December 2, 2008)

Employees of the Kuwaiti firm Najlaa International, who are subcontracted by the US firm KBR, are protesting against their ill treatment. Najlaa keeps around 1000 of its workers in cramped windowless warehouses for months at a time without pay. (McClatchy)

Blackwater Busted? Six Guards May Be Charged in Iraq Massacre (November 15, 2008)

Six Blackwater operatives face indictments from the US Justice Department for the killing of seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdads Nisour Square on September 16, 2007. The US Defense Department will also investigate the private security firm for illegally smuggling 900 automatic weapons into Iraq. US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky says Blackwater operates recklessly with immunity and must be banned from operating in Iraq. (The Nation)

Blackwater Bodyguards Promised Immunity (October 29, 2007)

During a US State Department investigation into the deaths of numerous Iraqi civilians, Blackwater guards were granted immunity from criminal prosecution. Legal commentators suggest the "Garrity immunity" is usually reserved for police or law enforcement officers. News of the immunity angers the Iraqi government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki demands that Iraq be allowed to prosecute the contractors.

It All Makes Sense Now - Blackwater and the ICC (October 1, 2007)

In this article, the author speculates whether the US opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) was part of a long term plan to provide immunity to contractors working for or on behalf of the US in Iraq. The Hague Invasion Act was passed by the US Congress in 2002, prior to the invasion of Iraq, and prohibits US courts from extraditing any person to the ICC. The author cites numerous atrocities committed by private security contractors working in Iraq including Blackwater USA, to demonstrate how these firms operate without any accountability to the ICC.

One Fifth of Iraq Funding Paid to Contractors (August 14, 2008)

A report by the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts that private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost US taxpayers more than US$100 million dollars by the end of 2008. The CBO report revealed that about 20 percent of funding for operations in Iraq has gone to contractors. At least 190,000 contractors operate in Iraq, creating a ratio of about one contractor per US soldier. According to Inter Press Service, the report scrutinizes groups such as Blackwater, who shot seven Iraqi civilians last year with no legal ramifications.

Iraq Case Sheds Light on Secret Contractors (July 17, 2008)

US contractor MVM Inc. is responsible for the personal security of US intelligence agencies in Iraq. A former MVM employee accused the firm of covering up a 2004 incident in which MVM employees opened fired on Iraqi civilians. The Iraqi parliament remains adamant that contractors like MVM and Blackwater must be held accountable for crimes committed against Iraqi citizens. (Wall Street Journal)

Iraq Hints at Delay in US Security Deal (July 3, 2008)

Neither US officials, nor Iraq's foreign minister, believe that the two countries will reach a full security agreement this year. The negotiations are deadlocked over issues like Iraqi control over US military operations and the right of US soldiers to detain Iraqi suspects. But the two countries have agreed to lift immunity for security companies, like Blackwater USA, subjecting them to prosecution under Iraqi law. The security companies have a history of using excessive force when protecting foreign clients, which became a political issue in 2007, as Blackwater shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.Blackwater's Employment Investigated (March 11, 2008)

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department are reexamining the murder of seventeen civilians in Baghdad by the private security firm, Blackwater. Security personnel outnumber US troops in Iraq and remain immune from Iraqi law. House oversight committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman is calling for increased scrutiny of Blackwater, which violates domestic law by classifying their contractors as independents and thereby skirting millions of dollars in taxes.


The Top 100 Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan (November 20, 2007)

The Center for Public Integrity says US contracts with private security companies and construction firms has increased by 50 percent annually from US$11 billion in 2004 to US$25 billion in 2006. According to the Center, the recipients of contracts worth up to US$20 billion have only been identified by the US Defense and State Departments as foreign contractors. Commentators suggest this signals the lack of accountability and oversight of government contracts. Number one on the list, construction firm, KBR won over US$16 billion in contracts from 2004 and 2006, nine times greater than that awarded to number two, private security firm, DynCorp International.

State Department Suspends Iraq Audit of DynCorp (October 23, 2007)

An audit of a US$1.2 billion contract with DynCorp International for the training of Iraqi police reveals that the State Department failed to oversee the contract and as a result its records and invoices do not account for most payments. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction suggests the US State Department suffers from serious contract management issues and is vulnerable to waste and fraud. Despite these problems, DynCorp is the rumored replacement of Blackwater USA as the security service for diplomats in Iraq.

America's Own Unlawful Combatants? (October 15, 2007)

In the aftermath of the September 2007 Blackwater shootings, lawyers for the US State, Justice and Defense departments debate whether private security contractors fall under the same broad definition of "unlawful combatants" which the Bush administration uses to justify detentions in Guantanamo Bay. Legal commentators criticize the Bush administration for failing to clarify the legal status of contractors before putting them into military roles.

Guards Kill Two Women in Iraq (October 10, 2007)

Guards working for an Australian run private security company, Unity Resources Group, are accused of shooting and killing two women in Baghdad who were driving behind the company's convoy. The shooting comes less than a month after the deaths of numerous Iraqi civilians by the US security firm, Blackwater. In both cases, the Iraqi government argues that the contractors should be subject “to justice, law and accountability.” (Washington Post)

House OKs Bill to Prosecute Contractors (October 4, 2007)

The US House of Representatives passed a bill in which all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones will be subject to prosecution by US courts. In a statement, the White House criticizes the bill as having intolerable consequences for crucial and necessary national security activities and operations. Despite opposition from the White House, the legislation signals a shift away from the immunity enjoyed by US contractors for crimes committed in Iraq. 

It All Makes Sense Now, Blackwater and the ICC (October 1, 2007)

In this article, the author speculates whether the US opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) was part of a long term plan to provide immunity to contractors working for or on behalf of the US in Iraq. The Hague Invasion Act was passed by the US Congress in 2002, prior to the invasion of Iraq, and prohibits US courts from extraditing any person to the ICC. The author cites numerous atrocities committed by private security contractors working in Iraq including Blackwater USA, to demonstrate how these firms operate without any accountability to the ICC.

Security Firm Faces Criminal Charges in Iraq (September 23, 2007)

The Iraqi interior ministry is investigating a total of seven incidents involving the actions of private security firm Blackwater USA. Both the Iraqi and US governments are investigating the shooting of numerous Iraqi civilians in the Nisour area of Baghdad. The other six episodes being investigated involve the deaths of 10 Iraqis and 15 wounded in incidents during 2007. Iraqi officials say they will consider all seven incidents to determine the practical and legal consequences for Blackwater and other security firms operating in Iraq.

Iraq to End Contractor 'Immunity' (September 25, 2007)

The Iraqi interior ministry drafts legislation responding to the shooting of 11 Iraqis by employees of the private security firm Blackwater. Commentators suggest the legislation includes provisions which will remove the immunity granted to contractors under the Coalition Provisional Authority laws. Under the draft, contractors will be monitored by Iraq's interior ministry, they will be required to adhere to set guidelines and they will be subject to Iraqi law. The draft legislation signals the intention of the Iraq government to control contractors, who many Iraqis believe are "private armies acting with impunity on their soil."

Iraqi Premier Says Blackwater Shootings Challenge His Nation's Sovereignty (September 24, 2007)

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the shootings of Iraqi civilians by the private security firm Blackwater presents a "serious challenge to the sovereignty of Iraq." According to Iraqi authorities, the September 16, 2007 shooting of 11 civilians in Baghdad is one of seven incidents involving Blackwater. Despite initial calls by the Iraqi government for the removal of Blackwater, Maliki has since said he will allow the firm to stay until an investigation is completed and in order to avoid a security vacuum in the capital.

Security Firm Faces Criminal Charges in Iraq (September 23, 2007)

The Iraqi interior ministry is investigating a total of seven incidents involving the actions of private security firm Blackwater USA. Both the Iraqi and US governments are investigating the shooting of numerous Iraqi civilians in the Nisour area of Baghdad. The other six episodes being investigated involve the deaths of 10 Iraqis and 15 wounded in incidents during 2007. Iraqi officials say they will consider all seven incidents to determine the practical and legal consequences for Blackwater and other security firms operating in Iraq.

US Pays Millions In Cost Overruns For Security in Iraq (August 12, 2007)

The US military is spending large sums outsourcing military and intelligence work to private security contractors. Contracts signed between the US Defense Department and two private security companies, Aegis Defence Services and Erinys Iraq, have cost the US Army US$548 million in the last three years, US$200 million in excess of the budget. The size of these and other contracts contrasts with minimal spending on humanitarian relief for millions of displaced Iraqis.

A Very Private War (August 1, 2007)

"What happens here today, stays here today" describes the attitude of some 48,000 employees of private military or mercenary firms working in Iraq. While private military firms take advantage of the billions of dollars in contracts offered by the US government, crimes committed in Iraq by employees of these firms have gone unpunished. Recent reports of civilian killings and violent incidents involving contractors of a US based mercenary firm, Blackwater highlight the lack of democratic control in the privatization of war.

Silent Surge in Contractor "Armies" (July 18, 2007)

The number of civilian contractors providing key services for US forces in Iraq has risen "faster than the Pentagon's ability to track them."? According to some estimates, as many as 180,000 private contractors operate in Iraq - often with little oversight. In light of the rapid privatization of the Iraq war, some observers warn of a sinister new dimension of the "military-industrial complex."

UN on the Offensive Against Iraq Mercenaries (July 13, 2007)

The UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination visited Chile to investigate private Chilean security companies. These companies, which recruit former soldiers and send them to Iraq as mercenaries, have been charged with human right abuses, illegal association, possession of explosives and unauthorized use of army weaponry. Chile has not yet signed the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, approved by the UN General Assembly in 1989, but it has stated that it will sign and ratify the treaty by the end of 2007. 

Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues (July 11, 2007)

The US uses private security contractors in Iraq to provide security services for individuals, nonmilitary convoys and to train Iraqi police and the military. Information on the costs of the contracts and the background and training of the contractors is not made public by the US military. In this report, the Congressional Research Serviceanalyzes concerns in Congress about the accountability and transparency of security contracts. The report stresses the need for clarification on the legal status of private companies and their employees as a number of contractors are implicated in violent incidents in Iraq.

US Is Fighting a Contractor War (June 21, 2007)

The outsourcing of services that the US Army would normally undertake has considerably hiked up the cost of the war in Iraq. Billions of dollars in contracts have gone to underperforming private firms driven by "profits and personal safety considerations." As contractors seek to gain from the devastation in Iraq and at the expense of civilian wellbeing, the privatization of the Iraq conflict continues to grow exponentially and with little accountability.

Making a Killing: America's Private Army and the Business of War (March 25, 2007)

The US is privatizing the Iraq War and private military contractors constitute the second largest forces in the country. According to the Government Accountability Project, 48,000 of these contractors work as mercenaries, approximately six times the number of British troops in Iraq. Yet, they operate with no legal constraints as they have immunity under Iraqi law and, further, neither US nor international law applies to them. The private soldiers serve US political interests as their deaths are not included in the death toll.

'Mercenaries' to Fill Iraq Troop Gap (February 25, 2007)

This Scotsman article reveals that the UK government is privatizing the Iraq War, replacing the soldiers who have been withdrawing with mercenaries. Since the beginning of the occupation, the British government has already paid £160million to private security companies and these firms could expect more lucrative work during the post-occupation phase. Pressure groups have continually warned that the British government has failed to control the activities of these companies, allowing mercenaries to operate completely outside the law. (Scotsman)

Our Mercenaries in Iraq (January 25, 2007)

Private military companies constitute the second largest forces in Iraq after US troops, with about 48,000 private soldiers. Yet, they are working with almost no oversight or effective legal constraints. This Los Angeles Times article discusses the meaning of privatizing the national war machine and warns of the risk of the rising power of the military-industrial complex for democracy.


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