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Iraq Ends Licence For Blackwater  
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1512 times:

This seemed likely to happen:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7857844.stm

"The contract is finished and will be not be renewed by order of the minister of the interior," said interior ministry spokesman Maj Gen Abdel Karim Khalaf.

He said the decision had been sent to the US embassy in Baghdad and "they have to find a new security company".

He added that the decision had been prompted by the incident on 16 September 2007.


Evidently the US renewed Blackwater's contract in 2008. US officials are stated to be working with the Iraqi government to address the implications of the decision.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1500 times:

Who is going to fill in the holes left by these Blackwater soldiers? I'm not sure the U.S. army can fill this void - will NATO step in, perhaps?

User currently offlineFridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1473 times:
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Quoting Elite (Reply 1):
Who is going to fill in the holes left by these Blackwater soldiers? I'm not sure the U.S. army can fill this void - will NATO step in, perhaps?

No, NATO will not step in Elite. There are several security companies over here that are in good standing with the Iraqi Govt.

AEGIS and DynCorp are two outstanding companies that come to mind. They are more than capable of picking up the slack left by Blackwater.

F



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User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1457 times:



Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 2):
AEGIS and DynCorp are two outstanding companies that come to mind.

I've never heard of them before - but I suppose that is a blessing in disguise. Blackwater is well known, but for the wrong things.

Quoting Baroque (Thread starter):

He added that the decision had been prompted by the incident on 16 September 2007.

And a whole host of other incidents that have occurred, from what I've read.

Quoting Baroque (Thread starter):
US officials are stated to be working with the Iraqi government to address the implications of the decision.

Anyone have any idea whether U.S. officials will try to make the Iraqi government revoke their decision? In my opinion, I think that the U.S. will try to negotiate for an extra 9 - 12 months of Blackwater service to allow them to find a suitable and capable replacement.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1448 times:



Quoting Elite (Reply 3):
Anyone have any idea whether U.S. officials will try to make the Iraqi government revoke their decision? In my opinion, I think that the U.S. will try to negotiate for an extra 9 - 12 months of Blackwater service to allow them to find a suitable and capable replacement.

Dunno. But the Iraqi statement seems clear. The quote comes from Maj Gen Abdel Karim Khalaf, not from me!!

From 18 December 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7788641.stm

Blackwater could be denied a licence to operate in Iraq, rendering it unable to provide security for US diplomats, a US State Department internal report says.

The report, commissioned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said the department should look for other ways to protect diplomats, US media said.

Ms Rice ordered a review of the use of private security firms after Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians.


Bearing that in mind, the recent decision might not have been a total surprise????


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1431 times:

I would expect that neither the basically lawless status of the mercenaries nor the exorbitant costs will sit well with the Obama administration. I'm certainly no expert, but my expectation would be that they will re-consolidate most of these kinds of missions under the official roofs of the regular governmental organisations (Pentagon, CIA, ...).

Blackwater et al thrived primarily through the Bush administration's eagerness to "keep things off the books" by outsourcing (quasi-)military missions to mercenary firms. The way Obama has acted thus far I would expect this market to dry up rather quickly.

Possibly improved pay and/or benefits for specific parts of the military or other government agencies should be able to get the same (or better) services at lower cost – and not least with full accountability!


User currently offlineFridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1373 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 5):
Possibly improved pay and/or benefits for specific parts of the military or other government agencies should be able to get the same (or better) services at lower cost – and not least with full accountability!

Klaus, other US Govt agencies and US Military will not take those missions on. They are stretched thin enough as it is, nor are they trained for that. No, Private Security Companies (PSC) will still do the job but they will be regulated by Iraqi law and if under US Govt contract, US Laws will also apply.

How that is accomplished remains to be seen. But rest assured, there will be HEAVY oversight and accountability on those companies over here!

I have a friend of mine who works for a PSC sitting across from me as I type this and that is what he has been told!



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User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1362 times:



Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 6):
Klaus, other US Govt agencies and US Military will not take those missions on. They are stretched thin enough as it is, nor are they trained for that.

Private firms don't work for free either, so financing shouldn't really be the argument once you make a serious decision about who's going to provide the services.

Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 6):
No, Private Security Companies (PSC) will still do the job but they will be regulated by Iraqi law and if under US Govt contract, US Laws will also apply.

How that is accomplished remains to be seen. But rest assured, there will be HEAVY oversight and accountability on those companies over here!

Since there are status questions involved, I still wouldn't be surprised if they'd want to bring these services under direct public control as soon as practical (which can take a while).

Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 6):
I have a friend of mine who works for a PSC sitting across from me as I type this and that is what he has been told!

Good to hear that things are going to change already!


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1356 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Private firms don't work for free either, so financing shouldn't really be the argument once you make a serious decision about who's going to provide the services.

I don't think financing is the only problem the U.S. army faces, but rather the lack of personnel. U.S. troops are deployed all around the world and it is no secret that the U.S. army is strained at the moment. Tours are constantly being extended, and recruitment targets are not being met until recently, due to the financial downturn. The Surge required a lot more troops, and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan will also require more U.S. troops. So when it comes to guarding the embassy, I suppose it would be better for private firms to do this and allow the troops to focus fighting on the front lines.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1348 times:



Quoting Elite (Reply 8):
I don't think financing is the only problem the U.S. army faces, but rather the lack of personnel. U.S. troops are deployed all around the world and it is no secret that the U.S. army is strained at the moment.

No doubt about that, but the people at the external firms aren't pulled from thin air either and improving the situation in the US military (and for veterans) will have to be one of the priorities of the new administration anyway.

Even with the best-trained and -overseen private firms there still remains a difference in status which could be a problem abroad in certain situation. Whether that difference is large enough to warrant organisational changes in view of other considerations is of course the question.

But given that there seems to be a real push for accountability on all levels, it might stop being a serious problem in the near to medium term which is definitely a welcome change.

There are plenty of problems on everybody's plates as it is.


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2796 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1342 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
difference in status

Difference in status, representation, authority, accountability, and a lot of things. Ideally, the U.S. troops could replace private firms, but that is only ideal and needs working on.

The length is becoming a problem. The War is now longer than World War II, and I'm no military expert but I think the U.S. army is not suited to these long, stretched out wars.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 54
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1328 times:



Quoting Elite (Reply 10):
The length is becoming a problem. The War is now longer than World War II, and I'm no military expert but I think the U.S. army is not suited to these long, stretched out wars.

At least not at the very high deployment rate it's got so far. But ultimately the problem wasn't so much deficiencies in the military itself but the problematic tactics and strategies devised at the top which the military had no realistic chance of compensating for.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1308 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Quoting Fridgmus (Reply 6):
I have a friend of mine who works for a PSC sitting across from me as I type this and that is what he has been told!

Good to hear that things are going to change already!

Indeed that is good to hear. Good luck Fridgmus, I am sure it is not an easy situation.

Quoting Elite (Reply 10):
The length is becoming a problem. The War is now longer than World War II, and I'm no military expert but I think the U.S. army is not suited to these long, stretched out wars.

Not quite if you look at the full duration for the UK and Aus (and Canada and NZ). By my calcs that will happen about end Feb 2009 (but I always did have problems counting fence posts and spaces!). Rather than length, planning for the war is/was a problem and not being ready to do what was necessary to win it are larger problems.

I do not recall much in the way of PSCs during WWII for example. I mean if you want to fight a war, you really have to accept all that comes with being at war and not imagine your "peacetime" army and no extra taxes to pay for it will suffice. I know that the term peacetime army is a bit problematical for the US post 1945, but we could probably come to an agreement. The point is if you want to fight a war, you need to be ready for it.

To my knowledge the last person who risked a war and took a couple of years (more like three depending on how you count) to agree to put his economy on a war footing was Herr H. Even Stalin was quicker on the uptake.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1273 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 12):
I do not recall much in the way of PSCs during WWII for example. I mean if you want to fight a war, you really have to accept all that comes with being at war and not imagine your "peacetime" army and no extra taxes to pay for it will suffice. I know that the term peacetime army is a bit problematical for the US post 1945, but we could probably come to an agreement. The point is if you want to fight a war, you need to be ready for it.

Well, during WW2, the British had a few irregular (like the No. 1 Demolition Squadron aka Popski's Private Army in North Africa which operated in the Western Desert behind the German and Italian lines and blew up airfields and supply dumps) and semi-regular units (like the Local Defence Volunteers, who later became the Home Guard and were initially the brainchild of several anarchist and communist Spanish Civil war veterans of British nationality until the regular army took over) or the SOE, ( which ran sabotage operations on the contnent and coordinated and assisted the operations of the various resistance organisations in Europe and Asia) operating under British command, but this came mostly from basically having been caught with the pants down by the Germans and Japanese and being forced to improvise. The longer the war continued, the more these units were standartized and the often excentric, but efficient leaders removed and replaced with regular forces types.
It also helped that Churchill himself had been involved in irregular warfare during the second Boer War and had a flair for special operations.

Jan


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1217 times:



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 13):
Well, during WW2, the British had a few irregular (like the No. 1 Demolition Squadron aka Popski's Private Army in North Africa which operated in the Western Desert behind the German and Italian lines and blew up airfields and supply dumps) and semi-regular units (like the Local Defence Volunteers, who later became the Home Guard and were initially the brainchild of several anarchist and communist Spanish Civil war veterans of British nationality until the regular army took over) or the SOE, ( which ran sabotage operations on the contnent and coordinated and assisted the operations of the various resistance organisations in Europe and Asia) operating under British command, but this came mostly from basically having been caught with the pants down by the Germans and Japanese and being forced to improvise.

He joined the British Army in 1940, getting a commission in the Libyan Arab Force. For his activities in the unit he later formed read his history of the unit he formed: "Popski's Private Army".

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Vladimir-Peniakoff

And he was attached to LRDG which while a tad unconventional was very much British Army. LDV were a bit different but by the time they were the Home Guard they were quite formal.

SOE may have been unconventional but they were a part of the military/security services. The nearest to irregulars would be the coastwatchers, but even they were formalized pretty quickly. Do not be mislead by the British habit of referring to unconventional folk as irregulars. SOE was linked to the FO, War Dept and SIS - how regular can you get in three different ministries?

Same with the Chindits. They fought an unconventional war but were from and of the army.

Those who fought in the Spanish Civil War are different but they too would have been within the formal Spanish Army structure AFAIK.

I don't think it helps to mix irregulars with special ops and both are entirely different kettles of fish to the private armies being run in Iraq.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1164 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 14):
Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 13):
Well, during WW2, the British had a few irregular (like the No. 1 Demolition Squadron aka Popski's Private Army in North Africa which operated in the Western Desert behind the German and Italian lines and blew up airfields and supply dumps) and semi-regular units (like the Local Defence Volunteers, who later became the Home Guard and were initially the brainchild of several anarchist and communist Spanish Civil war veterans of British nationality until the regular army took over) or the SOE, ( which ran sabotage operations on the contnent and coordinated and assisted the operations of the various resistance organisations in Europe and Asia) operating under British command, but this came mostly from basically having been caught with the pants down by the Germans and Japanese and being forced to improvise.

He joined the British Army in 1940, getting a commission in the Libyan Arab Force. For his activities in the unit he later formed read his history of the unit he formed: "Popski's Private Army".

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Vladimir-Peniakoff

And he was attached to LRDG which while a tad unconventional was very much British Army. LDV were a bit different but by the time they were the Home Guard they were quite formal.

SOE may have been unconventional but they were a part of the military/security services. The nearest to irregulars would be the coastwatchers, but even they were formalized pretty quickly. Do not be mislead by the British habit of referring to unconventional folk as irregulars. SOE was linked to the FO, War Dept and SIS - how regular can you get in three different ministries?

Same with the Chindits. They fought an unconventional war but were from and of the army.

Those who fought in the Spanish Civil War are different but they too would have been within the formal Spanish Army structure AFAIK.

I don't think it helps to mix irregulars with special ops and both are entirely different kettles of fish to the private armies being run in Iraq.

Sure. There is a big difference between a government using a mercenary outfit to bypass accountability or a government using "unconventional" talent (like the Sahara explorer Peniakoff), but keeping the oversight.
As I have stated, the unconventional units and organisations used by the British in WW2 came from the fact that there was nothing else there, especially after Dunkirk. The regular forces were still too much controlled by traditionalists (who e.g. ignored the experiences of Tom Wintringham and other Spanish Civil war veterans in fighting German and German trained troops, mainly due to political reasons. The top military brass and civil servants were mostly conservative, while Wintringham, Orwell etc. were very much on the political left).
All of these organisations had chaotic beginnings, but latest from the middle of WW2 they were firmly integrated into the political and military chains of command, which left them on a long leash when tactically required, but demanded full accountability.

Jan


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