Where does the future lie for the private military industry? (When) Iraq, the mother of all private military contracting opportunities … draw(s) to a close
Most likely they will return to their point of origin, Africa. In fact, some are already there.
AFRICAP contracts have a ceiling of approximately $500 million, or $1 billion total. In February the State Department sent out a notice that it was looking to re-complete the contracts.
The depth of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the difficulty the next president will face in pulling personnel out of the country are illustrated by a handful of new contract proposals made public in May. … The proposals reflect multiyear commitments.
A more serious concern was noted by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In a study released in March, the institute concluded that “the image of DynCorp creating an armed elite is disconcerting to many Liberians.”
The establishment of the U.S. military’s latest regional command, the new Africa Command, has also played a role in opening up the market. Private contractors have been seen as an integral part of AFRICOM since its inception. This is not surprising, considering that in October 2003 James Jay Carafano and Nile Gardiner, both from the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, proposed to the Bush administration the creation of a centralized Africa command for the U.S. military. Their proposal made clear that the objective was to preserve U.S. access to African oil and other natural resources on the continent. The Heritage report also points to the strategic importance of Africa in the global “war on terror.”
A study published in spring 2007 by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces noted that “Africa may do for the (private military) industry in the next 20 years what Iraq has done in the past four, provide a significant growth engine.”
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Dirk Adriaensens has been involved with Iraq for 17 years. He is on the executive committee of the BRussels Tribunal and is the coordinator of SOS Iraq. He writes:”
Security guys and gals don’t have to abide by the Geneva Conventions. They do as they wish. No rules, no regulations. They can operate with impunity.
As such these “security companies” can be called “death squads”. Not “Angels of Death” but “Devils of Death”. For this, they make a lot of money. Privatization of war is big, big business.”
In the second term of Ronald Reagan (1984-1988), and with help from the Thatcher government in Britain, [US] support was stepped up for the SADF, UNITA, Mobutu and the anti-communist forces in Southern Africa. It should be stated here that at this time all African freedom fighters had been deemed terrorists. Both Osama Bin Laden and Jonas Savimbi were at this time allies of the USA in the fight against communism. While Savimbi was called a freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela had been branded a terrorist by the USA and the South Africans. … This period is most important in so far as the very same forces in Washington that supported Jonas Savimbi and Osama Bin Laden are the same political forces seeking to mobilize the world against today’s so called war on terror.
The Heritage Foundation, which initially proposed AFRICOM to Donald Rumsfeld, were the same people who supported and promoted Renamo in Mozambique, promoted funding them through apartheid South Africa, and and promoted funding and support for Savimbi in Angola. Both Renamo, and Savimbi’s UNITA maintained long and brutal campaigns of terror. Considering the violence against civilians that characterizes the current involvement of the US and US contractors in Somalia and in the Great Lakes Region, there is no reason to think AFRICOM will be any improvement. A larger investment just means more harm.