Monday, January 29, 2007

The Baghdad 'Surge' and the curse of Mercaneries, aka Private Military Companies ... 

This is really not encouraging…

Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new top U.S. commander in Iraq told Congress that he might supplement efforts to secure Baghdad using the Iraqi Facilities Protection Service, a 150,000-man force that guards Iraqi government agencies. But that service is widely considered unreliable, and elements were described in July by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "more dangerous than the
Washington Post 27 Jan 2007

If the US ‘One More Heave’ so-called surge strategy in Baghdad is relying on this kind of support to succeed we are all in more trouble than we realised..

And this might be a particular British point of recent historical shame… see this from the New York Times of 24 May 2006.

Shiite leaders are indignant about the Facilities Protection Service, a 145,000-man force spread throughout 27 Iraqi ministries, each with its own agenda. The officers, Iraqi officials say, are at the disposal of each minister."Now, in every ministry, there are 7 to 15,000 men who carry weapons and official identification cards," said Mr. Hakim, the Shiite leader. "They are under the command of the ministries. Some of them have committed many crimes."
One of the largest forces is assigned to the Oil Ministry, which maintains 20,000 troops to protect refineries and other parts of the country's oil infrastructure. According to the force's director, Mr. Thuwaini, the first 16,000-member paramilitary police force was cobbled together in a haphazard way by a British-based consulting firm that neither trained the men nor checked their backgrounds for criminal records or ties to Mr. Hussein's security services.
"The British company hired people randomly, without training — they were profiteers," said Mr. Thuwaini, a Shiite civil servant not affiliated with any of the major parties. He took over the oil protection force in July 2005. "That is what we are trying to survive now."

The question of Private Security Forces in Iraq and elsewhere has come up before… wonder which one of the alphabet soup of British it was…

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