A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North Africa
by Manlio Dinucci
May 24, 2011
In Zayed Military City, in a training camp in a desert area of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a secret army is in the making.
This secret army of mercenaries, which is slated to be used not only in the Emirates but throughout the Middle East and North Africa, was created by Erik Prince, a former member of Navy SEALS who in 1997 founded Blackwater, the largest private military company on contract to the Pentagon in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones. The company, which in 2009 was renamed Xe Services (also in order to escape legal action for the massacres of civilians in Iraq), owns a large training camp in the United States, where more than fifty thousand “specialists of war and repression” have been trained. And Xe is in the process of opening other training camps.
In Abu Dhabi, Erick Prince, without appearing in person but through the joint-venture Reflex Responses, signed a first contract of $529 million (the deal was signed on July 13, 2010, according to the New York Times).
In several countries including South Africa and Colombia, they started recruiting mercenaries to form an initial battalion of 800 men. They are trained in the UAE by U.S., British, French and German military professionals, with a background in special forces and the secret services. The trainers are paid 200-300 thousand dollars a year, while the recruits receive about $150 a day.
Once the efficiency of the battalion has been tested in a “real action” scenario, Abu Dhabi will fund with billions of dollars a whole brigade of several thousand mercenaries. It is expected to set up a large training camp in the UAE, similar to that operating in the United States.
The main supporter of the project is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who was trained in the British military academy Sandhurst.
Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed is a trusted Pentagon associate. He also supports military intervention directed against Iran. The crown prince and his friend Erick Prince, however, are the executors of the project, which was decided in Washington. Its purpose was revealed in documents quoted by the New York Times:
“[the secret army trained in the UAE will conduct] special operations missions to put down internal revolts, like those sweeping the Arab world this year”.