Private military contractors could replace US troops withdrawing from Syria, Blackwater founder Erik Prince has suggested.
The former security firm chief said contractors could protect US allies and counter Iranian influence after the US leaves the country, he told Fox Business.
[ December 5 2017 Blackwater spy network for U.S.? ]
Executive Office figures are considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies.
[July 11 Erik Prince & Bannon on the use of mercenaries for US soldiers in Afghanistan ]
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and another senior advisor, Steve Bannon, asked two military contractors, including the founder of Blackwater, to help form an alternative defense strategy in Afghanistan.
Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon asked Stephen Feinberg, the owner of DynCorp International, and Erik Prince, of Blackwater fame, to submit proposals on the use of contractors in place of US soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon is known to be considering a troop surge in the country where the US battled the Taliban for 16 years.
Bannon brought up the contractor approach to Defense Secretary James Mattis July 8 but the Pentagon chief was not interested. Mattis and Lt. Gen. HR McMaster both support a troop surge in Afghanistan. Late last month, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan left the post of Special Representative – commonly known as SRAP – along with her deputy, triggering speculations that Trump might eliminate the post altogether.
Eliminating the post created in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama to monitor and handle the volatile situations in Kabul and Islamabad would go in line with Trump’s announced pledge to cut the State Department’s budget.
Senator John McCain during his visit to Rawalpindi on July 5.“We have made it very clear that we expect they (Pakistan) will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organizations.”
[April 3 Prince met with Putin aide ]
Trump supporter Erik Prince reportedly met Russian close to Putin in meeting coordinated with United Arab Emirates officials
[February 17 Prince’s Frontier Services contracting with Chinese]
Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Donald Trump, brother to the new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up Blackwater-style training camps in two Chinese provinces
Frontier Services Group said all of its security services were unarmed and therefore not regulated. “FSG’s services do not involve armed personnel or training armed personnel.” The training at the Chinese bases would “help non-military personnel provide close protection security, without the use of arms.”
Asked about Frontier’s claim that Prince was planning “unarmed” security projects, both sources dismissed it, and emphasized that was not their understanding. It is “ridiculous,” said one.
“Are they using sonic weapons,” joked the other. “Is it psychic powers?”
Erik Prince, the chairman of Hong Kong stock exchange-listed Frontier Services Group (FSG) and ex-CEO of Blackwater, private security firm which gained notoriety during the invasion of Iraq and who now leads FSG,a Hong Kong company aiming to play a key role in China’s “new Silk Road” initiative , received a “personal invitation” to the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. Prince has described his relationship with the newly installed 45th president as one of “mutual respect” but rejected suggestions that he is offering advice on intelligence matters to Trump.
[January 18 ]
Erik Prince has been advising the Trump team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments says a former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition. . Prince sold Blackwater and now heads up a Hong Kong-based company known as Frontier Services Group.
[June 7 2011 Reflex Responses: State refuses to say whether licensed ]
A State Department spokesman said the Obama administration was aware of R2’s operations, but would not say whether the company was operating with licenses from the department.
In letters sent to lawmakers and Obama administration officials, the head of Reflex Responses, a company based in Abu Dhabi, said that Mr. Prince “has no ownership stake whatsoever” in the business.
“He is not an officer, director, shareholder, or even an employee of R2,” wrote the company’s president, Michael Roumi, referring to the company by its common name.
Five former employees, speaking on condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, said Mr. Prince had overseen the hiring of American military and law enforcement veterans for the project, as well as European and South African contractors. They said he made occasional trips to the desert camp where the foreign troops, many of them Colombians, were being trained. And some of R2’s top managers had worked with Mr. Prince at Blackwater.
The former employees said that Mr. Prince took pains to mask his role in the operation, and that his name did not appear on contract documents between R2 and the U.A.E. that were provided to The Times. R2’s origins and affiliations are unclear; most corporate records are not public in Abu Dhabi. R2’s commercial license lists two other companies as partners, and the name of a third business was posted outside the office suite R2 had been using in the last year.
American laws governing the export of defense technology are murky, but American citizens involved in training foreign troops run legal risks if the State Department does not grant permits for the training. A State Department spokesman said the Obama administration was aware of R2’s operations, but would not say whether the company was operating with licenses from the department.
An article on May 15 about efforts to build a battalion of foreign mercenary troops in the United Arab Emirates referred imprecisely to the role played by Erik Prince, the founder of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide. He worked to oversee the effort and recruit troops. But Mr. Prince does not run or own the company Reflex Responses, which has a contract with the government of the U.A.E. to train and deliver the troops, according to the company president, Michael Roumi. An article on May 16 repeated the error.