In case you missed it, The New York Times carried a story this weekend about how Eric Prince, former founder and CEO of Blackwater Worldwide, the company that dominated private contracting in Iraq and whose men have been accused of murdering innocent Iraqis, is working with the royal family of the United Arab Emirates to form a mercenary army: “… The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts … Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.” The US government, as usual, is ambivalent about the mercenary force and the royal family are big US allies.

But there’s a small detail that caught my eye. They’re mostly recruiting from former US soldiers and those who served in the armies of dictatorships like Apartheid South Africa: “… some veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts or suppressing rebellions against African strongmen in the 1990s.”

You can read about it in The New York Times.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.