In a world where budgets are tight, and bottom lines daunting, it makes sense that governments around the world have to do more with less, or they just have to do less. Surprisingly, one part of the state apparatus that most countries seem happy to outsource is one of its most fundamental—security. At home, cash-strapped American cities, and even communities, are turning to private forces to protect public order. And a report out of the UN on Monday shows that the private security industry is experiencing a global economic boom that many of its customers would love.
All along Libya’s two thousand miles of coastline one encounters barriers and skirmishes between various forces. It appears that the armed Jihadist militants hold the most sway here, though the lack of a capable, centralized state is not a problem unique to Libya, with its neighbors in Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt also experiencing similar problems. However, here the problem is particularly acute. The country once ruled by Gaddafi—under whom Libya wallowed without a systematized political process for 42 years—is balancing on a tightrope that continues to fray and break strand by strand.
The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war, U.S. officials said. But the CIA program is so minuscule that it is expected to produce only a few hundred trained fighters each month even after it is enlarged, a level that officials said will do little to bolster rebel forces that are being eclipsed by radical Islamists in the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He is known as the Father of the Taliban, a radical Pakistani cleric who calls the Taliban’s one-eyed leader an “angel” and runs a seminary described as the University of Jihad. Bespectacled and soft-spoken, Maulana Sami ul-Haq is a revered figure in Pakistan and Afghanistan whose views carry enormous weight among the Taliban on both sides of the border. Tucked away in a dusty Pakistani town, his Darul Uloom Haqqania university was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the 1990s.
In a shocking revelation, it is reported that former LTTE members – both men and women – are being threatened to join the SL military in the East. The paramilitary operatives of Karuna and Pillaiyan groups are being used by the SL military intelligence for this purpose. The former Tiger fighters are threatened that their parents will be in danger if they refuse to join the military. The intelligence operatives have been conducting doo-to-door campaign in areas including Vaakarai, Vellaave’li, Kudumpi-malai and Veappa-vedduvaan in Batticoala district intimidating the former Tiger fighters to enlist themselves with the occupying SL military.
Western intelligence services have made much of Hezbollah’s military support for the embattled Damascus regime in Syria’s civil war, but there’s another, less well-known threat emerging there. That’s the growing force of Iraqi Shiite fighters who’re also fighting to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. Many of them were trained by Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to fight the Americans in Iraq, and now form a major element in Iran’s new “foreign legion,” intelligence officers and military experts say.
Pakistan-based militants are preparing to take on India across the subcontinent once Western troops leave Afghanistan next year, several sources say, raising the risk of a dramatic spike in tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.
Intelligence sources in India believe that a botched suicide bombing of an Indian consulate in Afghanistan, which was followed within days last week by a lethal cross-border ambush on Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir, suggest that the new campaign by Islamic militants may already be underway.
“It’s hard work but worth it,” Garcia says. Amazon Indians like Garcia, who inhabit a Denmark-sized region along the borders with Venezuela and Brazil, have for decades made a living exploring the rain forest for valuable rocks that contain tantalum and tungsten, both of which are used to manufacture smartphones and other mobile devices. While the Indians do the digging, they rely on another, more powerful group to get the ore to market: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. The rebel army uses the cash it makes from selling metals to help finance one of the world’s longest-running guerrilla wars.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been buying up a vast collection of AR-15 assault rifles for agents and training them in the proper use of those weapons. In May 2013 U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) questioned why the federal agency needs to arm its agents with assault rifles. Duncan asked about the AR-15 situation after he traveled to a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Maryland and witnessed a handful of IRS agents using AR-15s at an indoor 100 yard firing range.
United Nations is assessing private military and security companies and their commitment to international norms, an envoy said from New York. The United Nations announced a panel discussion on the use of mercenaries and private security companies is scheduled next week at the U.N. headquarters. Group director Anton Katz said the United Nations has an opportunity to influence the standards and behavior of the private security industry in a way that puts it in line with international human rights laws.
A group of jihadists from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan are reported to have formed a “brigade” to fight the Burmese government. A Burmese branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami that is based in Karachi, Pakistan and has been in operation since the late 1980s is likely involved in recruiting Pakistanis to fight in Burma. “A brigade of Mujahedeen from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan under the leadership of Abu Safiya and Abu Arif reached Burma,”.
A British intelligence report said Wednesday that other nations are hiring hackers to launch attacks against their enemies, a trend it described as particularly worrying. The warning over cybermercenaries came in an annual report published by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a watchdog body of senior lawmakers that oversees Britain’s spy agencies. Citing testimony from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the report described the mercenaries as “skilled cyber professionals undertaking attacks on diverse targets such as financial institutions and energy companies.
Scores of militants linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, now locked in an explosive confrontation with the Egyptian army over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, are reported to have moved into the Sinai Peninsula to fight the military.
They’re expected to join forces with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida who have established bases in Sinai’s vast desert wastes since 2011 and are already clashing with Egyptian security forces.
Despite harsh criticism from two northern legislators and an outcry from anti-mining activists, a spokesman for Gogebic Taconite said Tuesday that armed, paramilitary-style guards will continue to patrol the site deep in the Penokee Range where the company wants to build a large open pit iron mine.
Bob Seitz, a Madison lobbyist representing Gogebic, said the guards are necessary because of a confrontation between 15 to 20 protesters and an unknown number of mine workers a month ago.
Fighting in Afghanistan could be stopped “in weeks” if Pakistan told the Taliban to end the insurgency, the head of the Afghan army has told the BBC. Gen Sher Mohammad Karimi said Pakistan controlled and gave shelter to Taliban leaders, deliberately unleashing fighters on Afghanistan. Pakistan denies controlling the militant group. It was one of the Taliban’s main supporters from its launch in 1994 until the 2001 fall of the regime. Most of the Taliban’s leaders reportedly then fled to Pakistan and the group is still considered to be heavily dependent on the support of certain elements in the country.
Beijing sent paramilitary police into the streets this weekend and dispatched its top law enforcement official to the northwestern province of Xinjiang in a high-profile show of force after a week when at least 35 people died in the worst sectarian violence since large-scale unrest in 2009.
Eyewitnesses in the capital, Urumqi, where a large security force presence was deployed on Saturday, said the situation had calmed by Sunday and travellers returning from areas affected by the violence reported no unrest and only slightly heightened security along the way.
Ever wonder what the largest private armies in the world are? Even though nowadays many countries are struggling to protect peace, there are several official “war” conflict zones on Earth. In many cases, major countries can interfere with their own troops. However, in order to prevent the risk of losing soldiers from a national army, or in case a country doesn’t have enough of a military force, a government can hire mercenaries. Mercenaries are soldiers who are fighting in exchange for a gain or material compensation.
As Lebanese Army officers gather the intelligence that may anticipate a Hezbollah coup attempt, ostensibly to protect “the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon,” the possibility that an army coup d’état cannot be ruled out, even if the likelihood of such a development was remote. There were two reasons for such reservations: First, because Hezbollah is now mired in Syria and unlikely to open a second front. And second, because army officers believed in and accepted the separation of powers.
Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, has passed in the first reading a bill that allows state energy corporations Gazprom and Transneft to maintain extensive armed security forces. This reflects a steady rollback of previous efforts to cut down on the proliferation of private security forces in Russia but may also reflect an interest in moving into the global private military services industry. The energy sector, it should be noted, has traditionally had greater leeway, reflecting both its power within the political system and also its need to secure facilities and pipelines which are often remote and sometimes in volatile regions.
A mortar attack on an Iranian dissident camp killed three people in Baghdad on Saturday, police sources said, and the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK) group said Iran was probably to blame, with Iraqi complicity.
MEK said two of the camp’s residents were killed and 40 wounded in the attack. An Iraqi died when a stray mortar round hit a residential complex for Baghdad airport employees nearby. A similar attack on the camp in February killed at least five members of the MEK, which was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organisations last year.
German “Die Welt” daily said that only 5% of the armed terrorists in the so-called Free Army are Syrians, while 95% of them are extremist groups which came from several African countries to jihad in Syria backed by the Gulf and Arab countries.
A member of the German intelligence said that some terrorist groups in Syria wok in full coordination with al-Qaeda, but the extremist groups are most dangerous than al-Qaeda since they commit genocide against children and women.
Myanmar’s most heavily-armed and powerful rebel group has said it is looking to carve out a legitimate state, as experts say it is flexing its muscles amid tense relations with the government.
The United Wa State Army, which commands an estimated 30,000 troops, holds sway over a remote mountainous area on the northeast border with China that is believed to be awash with drugs and has long been aloof from central Myanmar control.
While the diplomatic grouping known as the Friends of Syria met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday to discuss a U.S.-Russian plan for peace talks, a low-key yet perhaps equally important gathering was being quietly held in Istanbul between Saudi officials and half of the 30 members of the Free Syrian Army’s Higher Military Command, which claims to represent most of the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The informal talks, which were held at a seaside hotel, marked the first gathering of the rebel group’s Military Command and Saudi officials since, according to senior members of the Military Command, Saudi Arabia stepped up earlier this month to become the main source of arms to the rebels.
Venezuela’s president has ordered the creation of a new workers’ militia to defend the country’s “Bolivarian revolution” at a time when the government faces economic problems and political turmoil.
President Nicolas Maduro gave few details about the militia, including how many members it would consist of, but said it would be part of the Bolivarian Militia created by late President Hugo Chavez, which consists of roughly 120,000 volunteers. Analysts have said only about one-fourth of that force is combat ready.
Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the US.
About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border. That would be the highest daily loss for the Iranian-backed movement in Syria, highlighting how it is increasing its efforts to bolster al-Assad.
The security services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states will be closely monitoring the movement of mercenaries from CIS nations fighting in Syria, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) head Alexander Bortnikov said on Wednesday.
According to the FSB, some 200 mercenaries from Russia, as well as from CIS member states and Europe, are fighting in Syria’s civil war. “They [mercenaries] pose a severe danger. It is highly important to track their movements following the end of hostilities,” the FSB chief said. The future fate of mercenaries active in Syria is of concern not only to the CIS special services, but European secret services as well, Bortnikov added.
Hizbullah fighters have been advancing swiftly into southern Syria and have reached the flashpoint southern town of Daraa near the border with Jordan, media reports said on Tuesday.
The source pointed out that Hizbullah fighters are not just groups backing the army regime but comprehensive fighting units that includes a full logistic team. It said that Hizbullah’s military leadership is organizing the transfer of the units and providing them with weapons.
A leading member of a United Nations investigatory commission says there are “strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that Syrian rebels have used the nerve agent sarin.
Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor for U.N. tribunals investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made the comment in an interview Sunday with a Swiss television channel, the BBC reported. She said the evidence emerged from interviews conducted by investigators with victims, physicians and others in neighboring countries.
Armed protests targeting Libya’s ministries and media in the capital this week have alarmed international observers who say deteriorating security conditions are becoming a matter of serious concern. Reporters without Borders said there was cause for “grave concern about recent violent attacks on Libyan journalists, whose safety conditions are deteriorating drastically” and called on the government to act. Gunmen in heavily armed vehicles remained in control of Libya’s Foreign Ministry for a fourth day on Wednesday, while the Justice Ministry was similarly surrounded on Tuesday and other institutions including the media have been targeted.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) may soon be planning to launch retaliatory attacks on “elite Hezbollah forces” reportedly fighting in Syria, retired Jordanian major-general Fayez al-Doueiri told Al Arabiya on Monday night. Doueiri, who is now a military analyst, said the reported continuing battles between the FSA and Hezbollah fighters could be a “positive development for the FSA as it is managing to inhibit Hezbollah’s elite forces.” This may mean the “FSA is preparing to launch reverse operations to gain back what it lost in the past few weeks,” he added.
German soldiers are moonlighting illegally at private security firms while off-duty, a newspaper revealed on Monday. Working as heavily armed guards on freighters or in war-zones, some do it for the cash and others for the adrenaline kick.
As members of the German army, Bundeswehr, soldiers are not allowed to work as mercenaries for private companies – yet many are doing it, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) found out. Exact figures on how many of Germany’s soldiers, or former soldiers, work the private security circuit are unknown. According to the FAZ’s research, the field is growing and critics are warning of a “mercenary renaissance”.
Residents of a number of Sunni cities in Iraq have announced the formation of “military forces” to counter attack the Iraqi army and its crackdown against protesters calling for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki – a Shiite – to step down, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. The announcements come after Sunni tribesmen were called to arm following a government sponsored military raid on a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest at a camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk, on Tuesday. Dozens of people were killed and injured in the initial incident. It set off a wave of revenge attacks that hit five different Sunni-majority provinces, killing at least 110 people.
In Syria, for scores of men called each month to join the army for deadly combat, there is a more attractive alternative: stay home, join a loyalist paramilitary group, and get a share of the loot in raids on President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies.
Now into the third year of the uprising against Assad, which began with peaceful protests and became an armed rebellion, Syria’s regular army has been weakened. Sectarian faultlines that are increasingly dividing the nation are now fragmenting an army whose strength was already eroded by desertions and defections to rebels.
Clad in sombreros and baseball caps and clutching assault rifles, shotguns and machetes, the men take defensive positions on a hillside neighborhood of the ramshackle mountain town of Tierra Colorada and gather residents from their homes. You have suffered too much at the hands of kidnappers, extortionists and drug cartels, they tell them. It is time to fight back. “If you are in favor of our community police and want to join or support us, then step forward,” says Esteban Ramos, a leader of the local militia.
Shama Ha-Cohen reveals in his Knesset website what he worked in Aman, the IDF military intelligence department. He served there in a group that was called the “special unit for counter-espionage and special investigations” (היחידה המיוחדת לסיכול ריגול וחקירות מיוחדות). As is usual for Israeli spookery, this is spy lingo that euphemizes the real nature of what the group did. “Special investigations” means it engaged in, among other things, foreign assassinations.
Central African Republic rebels clashed with government forces inside the capital on Saturday as they sought to topple President Francois Bozize, prompting France to send in more troops to secure the international airport.
The Seleka rebel coalition resumed hostilities this week in the mineral-rich former French colony, vowing to oust Bozize whom it accuses of breaking a January peace agreement to integrate its fighters into the army. A Reuters reporter in the northern suburbs of the riverside capital said the rebels had taken control of the neighborhood around Bozize’s private residence, known as PK12. Rebels in civilian clothes had infiltrated other areas, residents said.
Protests against the Muslim Brotherhood continue to rock Egypt without a word being said from the White House. Now, the Brotherhood and allied Islamists are taking a cue from their Shiite counterparts in Tehran and have announced they are setting up a civilian force with the power to arrest those they deem to be criminals.
At around the same time, Jama’a al-Islamiya threatened to set up a pro-Brotherhood militia to “protect private and public property and counter the aggression on innocent citizens.”
The Vatican has dismissed the allegations against the new Pope as a “left-wing anti-clerical attack on the church.” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi insisted there has never been a “concrete or credible accusation” against Bergoglio.
On Sunday, an Argentinian newspaper published a government memo that seems to definitively prove that Bergoglio did indeed provide information to the murderous dictatorship. Furthermore, Gregoglio is alleged to have sold the priests out even while he personally promised them his protection.
“Blackwater’s work with the CIA began when we provided specialized instructors and facilities that the Agency lacked,” Prince told me recently, in response to written questions. “In the years that followed, the company became a virtual extension of the CIA because we were asked time and again to carry out dangerous missions, which the Agency either could not or would not do in-house.”
A prime example of the close relationship appears to have unfolded on March 19, 2005. On that day, Prince and senior CIA officers joined King Abdullah of Jordan and his brothers on a trip to Blackwater headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina, according to lawyers for the company and former Blackwater officials.
Desperate to keep a 2010 election campaign to significantly reduce violent crimes and prevent murders, the administration of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has turned to a brigade of retired cops and private volunteers to form a new phantom force to ferret out gangs, secretly investigate crime and run intelligence operations for the Ministry of National Security without telling the police high command and the public.
But when some of the new Flying Squad members began to surface and speak out, National Security Minister Jack Warner and other cabinet colleagues steadfastly denied its existence, the millions channeled to the squad, its daily interface with the ministry and the payment for vehicles rented from private dealers.
At least 200 Russian-speaking Salafi Muslims are fighting against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, according to an expert at a state-run think tank. Rais Suleimanov, head of the Kazan-based Volga Center for Regional and Ethno-Religious Studies, said he got this number from Russian militants themselves, who he said have “no interest in exaggerating it.”
He said the militants come from CIS countries including Ukraine and from different regions of Russia, among them Tatarstan and the volatile North Caucasus, where Russian law enforcement is battling an intractable insurgency of separatist Islamist militants.
A pre-dawn raid on a Thai military base ended with 16 Muslim insurgents killed on Wednesday in the deadliest violence in the country’s south in nine years, marking a dangerous escalation in one of Asia’s least-known conflicts.
Acting on a tip-off, marines lit flares and opened fire as up to 60 insurgents wearing military fatigues approached the base at about 1 a.m. in Narathiwat province on the Malaysian border, said Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Pramote Phromin. He revised the death toll to 16 from an earlier 17. None of the Thai military defenders of the base was hurt, he said.
Citing unnamed US and Middle Eastern officials, the Washington Post said Iran’s goal appears to be to have reliable operatives in Syria in case the country fractures into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.
Iran claims to be backing as many as 50,000 militiamen in Syria. Efforts to find a political solution to the nearly two-year-long conflict, which has killed more than 60,000 people, appear to be deadlocked.
There are nearly 9,000 companies and 400,000 registered active private security guards. That’s more than the police and army combined, according to South African officials.
“The security industry is bigger than what it has ever been in South Africa,” says Zinn. “I think the growth in the industry is definitely attributed to the fact that, let’s call it a weak policing or ineffective policing, and it created the opportunity for private individuals to move into the market.” Some of those individuals have a military background.
Vigilantes patrol a dozen or more towns in rural Mexico, the unauthorized but often tolerated edge of a growing movement toward armed citizen self-defence squads across the country.
“The situation Mexico is experiencing, the crime, is what has given the communities the legitimacy to say, ‘We will assume the tasks that the government has not been able to fulfil,’” said rights activist Roman Hernandez, whose group Tlachinollan has worked with the community forces.
In early 1995, Sierra Leone was on the brink of collapse. A violent civil war had ravaged the country, leaving thousands dead and countless others wounded. The insurgent rebels, infamous for recruiting child soldiers, were just weeks from the beleaguered capital, Freetown, and appeared unassailable.
Several months later, however, the tide had turned: the government’s authority was strengthened, rebel forces were repelled, and control over the country’s major economic assets was restored. Executive Outcomes, a private military contractor armed with helicopters and state of the art artillery, helped change the course of the war.
In the late 1990s, in one of many chapters in the Colombian government’s decades-old dirty war with leftist guerrillas, more than 15,000 people in the northern region of Curvaradó were forced from their land. First came the army, they recall. And they told us to leave. ‘Don’t be afraid of us,’ the soldiers said. ‘Be afraid of those that follow us.’
Those that followed were las mocha cabezas—the beheaders—paramilitary death squads fighting as the military’s proxies. Thousands fled their massacres, bombardments and executions.Behind the beheaders came the agribusinesses, which converted the territory into African palm plantations and cattle ranches under paramilitary protection.
Indonesia’s U.S.-funded police anti-terror squad has killed seven suspected militants recently, reviving allegations that the force is not trying to take suspects alive – a trend that appears to be fueling the very extremism the predominantly Muslim country is trying to counter.
Haris Azhar, chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, an independent human rights group, said it appeared that the suspected militants were victims of “extrajudicial killings” and called for an independent investigation. He said Densus 88′s tactics were driving militancy because they added to feelings among some Muslims that they were under siege.
The US helped to train and now equips the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF). The forces are used by Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki to help him centralise power and repress opposing Sunni politicians.
Robert Tollast in The National Interest maintains that even as the US prepared to drawn down its forces “elements of ISOF were already being used as a private army by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.”
ISLAMABAD: At least three hundred Baloch insurgents are getting training across the border to spread unrest in Pakistan, a report stated. According to Daily Dunya, Pakistani intelligence officials handed over a secret list to Central Investigation Agency (CIA) during a meeting in Washington. The report published by Rauf Klasra states that insurgents are getting $300 a month as their salary.
“We ask our French cousins and the United States of America, the great powers, to help us to push back the rebels … to allow for dialogue in Libreville to resolve the current crisis,” President Francois Bozize told thousands of supporters at a rally in Bangui.
“There is no question of allowing them to kill Central Africans, of letting them destroy houses and pillage, and holding a knife to our throats to demand dialogue,” said Bozize, who himself seized power in a coup in 2003. “It is a plot against the Central African Republic, a plot against its people.”
President Enrique Pena Nieto laid out a security strategy Monday that creates a new national force, or gendarmerie, to combat organized crime and restore law to the most distant corners of Mexico.
The paramilitary force will be set up with 10,000 members but may grow to 40,000 in coming years, following models like those of Spain’s Civil Guard or the Italian Carabinieri.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and a new generation of drug gangs (known locally as “Bacrims”) are increasingly turning to gold mining to finance their terrorist acts, reveals a report released Thursday by political risk firm Exclusive Analysis.
“FARC and drug gang involvement in gold mining increases extortion and property damage risks, particularly in Antioquia and Putumayo,” said Carlos Caicedo, head of Latin America forecasting. The expert says that funds coming from mining operations are now the main income source for the revolutionary groups.
Syrian rebels are gaining ground and might win, Russia’s Middle East envoy said Thursday, in the starkest such admission from a major ally of President Bashar Assad in 20 months of conflict.
“One must look the facts in the face,” Russia’s state-run RIA quoted Mikhail Bogdanov as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”
With the new vacancy on the fifth floor at Langley, a robust debate has resumed over whether the Central Intelligence Agency should continue trending toward paramilitary activity and targeted killings, or return to its traditional focus on sending spies to recruit agents and collect human intelligence.
The controversy was foreseen as early as 2003, when Robert Kaplan essentially argued one side of the discussion now underway. He pointed to the “old rules” whereby small groups of men overthrew large governments, and asserted that future technological developments will “make assassinations far more feasible…”
Members of the FSA and its Syrian supporters now say that the group is no longer composed of those purely interested in overthrowing Assad. Criminal opportunists have entered its ranks or taken up its name, forcing the group to police its own.
“Revolutionary Security was founded two months ago and it’s main mission is to observe the FSA and work with the civilians,” says Capt. Abu Hamdu, chief of Revolutionary Security in Aleppo. “We’re watching and observing the FSA fighters to make sure they don’t make any mistakes dealing with the civilians.”
“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince said. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Prince said his new company, Frontier Resource Group, was seeking Asian investors. Earlier this month, Prince arrived in Hong Kong for meetings with potential Chinese investors and partners. In 2012, Beijing said it would provide $20 billion in loans to Africa by 2015.
“But the problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own,” Prince said. “You have to get support and maintenance there.”
The courtship of Hamas between rivals Iran and Qatar has been one of the Middle East’s intriguing subplots of the Arab Spring. The bloodshed in Gaza has now sharpened their competition for influence with the Palestinian militant group and the direction it takes in the future.
Qatar has sought to use its vast wealth to win over Hamas with investments and humanitarian aid and encouraging Arab partners to do the same — part of the hyper-rich U.S. allied nation’s broader campaign to bring under its wing Islamist movements that have risen to power
REBELS backed by Rwanda have seized the strategic provincial capital of Goma in Congo, raising the spectre of a regional war.
The M23 rebel group, created just seven months ago, took the city of one million people in the east of the country and its international airport yesterday. Explosions and machine-gun fire rocked the lakeside city as the M23 fighters pushed forward on two fronts: toward the city centre and along the road that leads to Bukavu, another provincial capital to the south.
The industry’s growth has been paid for by Western governments, keen to limit the political cost of military boots on the ground. Supply has also come mostly from the West: 70% of firms are British or American. As the big conflicts of the past decade come to an end, however, private armies are beginning to chase new business, according to Sean McFate of America’s National Defence University. Industrial firms, which are increasingly setting up shop in unstable places, are expected to be a growing chunk of the customer base.
The first question to ask: Has the CIA become too much of a paramilitary organization? The second: Should this be the time to put the agency’s main emphasis on being the premier producer and analyst of intelligence for policymakers, using both open and clandestine sources?
That doesn’t mean losing its counterterrorism role. Terrorists remain a threat, but the rest of the world is changing so fast that the president and policymakers down the line need the best information available.
Syrian rebels have seized control over two towns in the buffer zone with Israel, The Daily Telegraph reported late on Tuesday. According to the report, which cites an Israeli military intelligence source from the Northern Command, 200 or more rebels took control of Be’er Ajam and Bariqa.
Earlier in the month, the Syrian military caused a stir when three of its tanks entered Be’er Ajam, prompting Israel to raise its alert levels and complain to the United Nations.
Syria’s opposition needs to be more representative and inclusive, say U.S. officials mindful of the dangers of an increasingly sectarian civil war. But the scale of the challenge in creating an opposition that draws in ethnic and religious minorities sometimes more fearful of the rebellion than they are of the regime was highlighted in last week’s clashes in Aleppo, between units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a local Kurdish militia.
The group’s possession of so sophisticated a craft (which was assembled from Iranian-made parts) is further evidence that Hezbollah is the most advanced and best-equipped militia of its kind the world has ever seen. Ever since it forced the Israelis’ panicky retreat from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah has been building up an immense military force, with firepower that 90 percent of the world’s countries don’t possess
At this stage, the “battle for Syria” is a specific role for foreign intelligence agencies, which in the summer of this year, significantly expanded its operations in the country. American, British, Turkish, French and Qatari and Saudi secret services are particularly active on the weakening of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Their subversive work is multifaceted. Until recently, Western intelligence agencies have shown themselves very carefully. This was explained by fears of the U.S. and its European allies to help to strengthen the Islamist component of the Syrian opposition.
It is unlikely that the recent U.S. and NATO setbacks in the war and the Taliban successes could have occurred without enemy “moles” within the Western forces. An eventual history of this Afghan war will likely highlight the successful espionage efforts of the Taliban and its allies within Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI).
The government wants big companies working in the Middle East to use British private armed security firms where possible. They are promoting a private security strategy that was disastrous in Iraq and Afghanistan after discussions with a security company whose director is a Tory donor.
Trade Minister Lord Green runs a “Middle East task force” of company bosses to advice on government policy in the region.
It seemed like a simple idea: In the chaos that is Somalia, create a sophisticated, highly trained fighting force that could finally defeat the pirates terrorizing the shipping lanes off the Somali coast. It involved dozens of South African mercenaries and the shadowy security firm that employed them, millions of dollars in secret payments by the United Arab Emirates, a former clandestine officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, and Erik Prince
You should know that MEK was only taken off of the US’ terrorist list after years of high pressure lobbying by a veritable galaxy of the some of the biggest and most expensive stars in Washington. Bill Clinton placed them on the terrorist list in 1997, and this decision was reaffirmed by the Bush administration in 2007.
It’s a sad commentary on the way things get done in DC, but it’s extremely doubtful whether the terrorist designation change on MEK could have been accomplished any other way. Political celebrities were hired by the dozens to sing the praises of MEK. If you want Democrats, you could find Howard Dean, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, or Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Russia’s significant economic interests abroad often operate in “difficult” conditions, and such companies would facilitate their work, said Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s military-industrial complex.
“We are thinking about whether our money should go toward financing foreign private security [and] military companies, or whether we should consider the feasibility of such companies in Russia itself,” he said.
The ‘School of the Americas’ (SOA) occupies a very dark place in Latin American history.
The U.S. military academy, based in Fort Benning, Georgia, has been training Latin American soldiers for well over half a century. More than 64,000 have passed through its doors, a significant number of which have been accused and convicted of human rights abuses. It has educated 11 dictators, including Panama’s former drug-dealing strongman, Manuel Noriega, and El Salvador’s Roberto D’Aubuisson, who controlled that country’s infamous death squads.
The Ministry of Defense considered plans to connect the army for participation in anti-terrorism operations currently under way in the North Caucasus by the secret services and the Ministry of the Interior. According to sources from the Defense Ministry “NG”, plans are due to increased losses incurred in the security forces, including the army. Only for the last week of August in the North Caucasus, killed 15 and wounded 11 soldiers and law enforcement officers and Ministry of defence. Such losses were in the early nineties, when troops fought in Northern Caucasus active hostilities.
A meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission on the situation in the Georgian-Russian border was held at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Head of Georgian representation in NATO Nugzar Mgaloblishvili informed the commission about the situation in Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border, where law enforcement conducted an operation to neutralize militant group penetrated from Russia.
The sides expressed concern over the situation and called for a solution to all the problems on the basis of internationally accepted norms. NATO officials declared inadmissibility of intensity export of the North Caucasus to Georgia.
Turkey has roughly 217,000 private security guards who are employed in public offices and private companies, a figure that outnumbers the soldiers in the armies of six countries in Europe — Austria, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic.
Federation of Private Security Associations (TÖGF) President Bülent Perut told the Hürriyet daily on Tuesday that the number of private security guards in Turkey is rapidly increasing. Private security guards maintain security in various institutions, such as banks, hospitals and shopping malls. Counting those carrying the title of private security guard but not currently working as such, the number of such personnel is as high as 604,000 in Turkey.
Even though Turkey continues to deny reports that it has been setting up bases for the Syrian opposition — for example in Adana — it is no longer a secret that it is providing military support to the Syrian opposition.
One of the centers in Turkey used as a military base for the Syrian opposition is the Reyhanli “military” refugee camp, located in Hatay province. This camp is exclusively reserved for Syrian officers, among them generals and colonels, and their families who have defected to Turkey. This camp, which hosts around 1,000 Syrians, is tightly guarded by Turkish security forces. Even foreign diplomats who want to meet the camp residents are not allowed to enter.
Lebanese newspaper “Al-Jumhuriya” reports last week that the terrorist organization “Hezbollah” had the most extensive maneuvers in its history, in the event of a possible new military conflict with Israel.
The publication notes some important points of these maneuvers is the total number of participants reached 10,000 fighters, and among them were many young terrorists, aged 16 to 20 years who have not participated in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. In addition, some of the stages maneuvers Secretary General of “Hezbollah” Nasrallah personally inspected.
Scores of foreign jihadists have crossed into Syria from Turkey in the past two weeks, some of them telling Syrians that they are planning to travel to Aleppo to join a decisive battle against regime troops, says Martin Chulov, correspondent of The Guardian.
According to locals who have dealt with them, the new arrivals embrace a global jihadist worldview that sets them apart from most leaders in the armed Syrian opposition and is stirring deep discontent among the rebel leadership.
Rebel leaders inside Syria say about 15-20 foreign fighters have been crossing each day since mid-July, trying to join up with an estimated 200-300 foreigners in Syria.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell plc spent nearly $383 million, between 2007 and 2009, to protect its oil installations and staff in Nigeria, revealed London-based oil watchdog Platform on Sunday, with part of the money alleged to have gone into a 1,200-member private security force, which has been accused of human rights violations in the past.
According to a Guardian report, the world’s largest company by revenue had spent nearly $1 billion on worldwide security between 2007 and 2009; while 40 percent of the total cost had gone into security in Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region.
The US on Thursday said Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile was not ‘endangered’ following a daring terrorist attack on the key Kamra Air Force base, believed to house atomic weapons.
“I do not have any indication that this particular attack (Kamra) has endangered the Pakistani nuclear stockpile,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters during an off camera news conference.
He was responding to news reports coming from Pakistan that the attack on the military base in Kamra had threatened the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
Veteran fighters of last year’s civil war in Libya have come to the front-line in Syria, helping to train and organise rebels under conditions far more dire than those in the battle against Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan-Irish fighter has told Reuters.
Hussam Najjar hails from Dublin, has a Libyan father and Irish mother and goes by the name of Sam. A trained sniper, he was part of the rebel unit that stormed Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli a year ago, led by Mahdi al-Harati, a powerful militia chief from Libya’s western mountains.
Harati now leads a unit in Syria, made up mainly of Syrians but also including some foreign fighters, including 20 senior members of his own Libyan rebel unit. He asked Najjar to join him from Dublin a few months ago, Najjar said.
The continuing rocket attacks from Pakistan on eastern provinces of the country have cost two high-ranking officials their jobs and threaten to further destabilize the country’s fragile central government.
Early last month, Abdul Rahim Wardak, the country’s defense minister, was forced to step down after members of parliament called for his removal because of the ongoing shelling. Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, who controls the Afghan National Police, was also forced to step down.
President Hamid Karzai said he would respect parliament’s views and remove the two ministers, but he asked the two to stay on until replacements could be found. Wardak refused the president’s request.
Meanwhile, there is growing anger in Kabul as rockets continue to fall on the eastern Kunar province.
The Turkish armed forced have launched military exercises in Qamishli, an Armenian-populated Syrian city lying 1km off the country’s north-eastern border.
According to Svobodanews.ru, the trainings involve 30 tanks, armored cars and missile stations. The Turkish forces are reportedly active at night hours too. They are deployed along the borders of the Qamishli and Nusaybin. Both cities are said to be under Kurdish control.
Insurgencies are Darwinian contests where failure by either side to evolve and adapt to changing battlefield circumstances almost guarantees eventual defeat. Furthermore, the grueling nature of insurgencies means they can last a long time before one side or the other can proclaim victory. It took 22 years before Lebanese resistance groups were able to drive Israeli troops from Lebanese soil. In Sri Lanka, it took government forces 26 years before finally defeating the Tamil Tiger insurgency.
Hired assassins are stalking witnesses to a Philippine massacre in which a political warlord allegedly led the slaughter of 57 people, victims’ relatives and a rights group said almost two years into a complex trial.
Three witnesses and three relatives of others who planned to testify have been killed in what locals regard as chilling messages for anyone speaking out against the politician and other clan members on trial for the massacre.
Syrian rebels are forming a special unit to secure the country’s chemical weapons, a rebel leader said in an interview published Saturday in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“We have a group just to deal with chemical weapons. They are already trained to secure sites,” said General Adnan Silou, the most senior member of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to have defected and joined the Free Syrian Army, DPA reported.
According to the newspaper, analysts believe Syria has the world’s largest stocks of chemical weapons, consisting principally of sarin, mustard gas and cyanide.
On Turkey-Syria Border: There is much talk here of shadowy CIA men vetting rebel brigades’ suitability for US taxpayers’ largesse. Everyone seems to want a piece of that action, but how to get in on the game seems to baffle many.
“It’s all very foggy,” agreed Mahmoud Shaikh Al Zor, a slim, bespectacled former heavy-equipment salesman in Atlanta who gave up selling Caterpillars and returned to his homeland to fight. He, like others, came to Turkey seeking help for his battalion, known as the Brave.
The forum said that the increasing UN use of these companies is “dangerous,” may increase rather than reduce threats and attacks on UN buildings and personnel and suggests the system is “unaccountable and out of control.”
Even incomplete UN data shows a steady rise in the number of security contracts, with the value increasing from $44 million (£28.8m) in 2009 to $76m (£48.8m) in 2010, the latest data available.
Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on the Assad regime, according The Guardian.
Officials in the Saudi capital embraced the idea when it was put to them by Arab officials in May, according to sources in three Arab states, around the same time that weapons started to flow across the southern Turkish border into the hands of Free Syria Army leaders.
Turkey has also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is co-ordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria.
Private companies will be running large parts of the UK’s police service within five years, according to the world’s biggest security firm.
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.
The prediction comes as it emerged that 10 more police forces were considering outsourcing deals that would see services, such as running police cells and operating IT, run by private firms.
Why on earth have the Syrian rebels been hanging out in Kosovo?
The tiny southeast European ethno-state created in the wake of the Balkan wars is not an obvious destination for the ragtag fighters seeking to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad: Kosovo is probably the least influential or wealthy country in Europe; in fact, half of Europe doesn’t even recognize it as a country.
But there’s no question the rebels have been staying in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, and that has led to dark suspicions that the fighters are being trained by veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic-Albanian force that battled Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and whose former fighters now dominate Kosovo’s administration.
National flags from around the world flutter in the bright sunshine by a city gate made of shipping containers painted in the Libyan national colours. A uniformed militiaman examines my passport, then waves me through with a smile. Welcome to the Republic of Misrata.
Libya’s third largest city, recipient of a six-month pummelling during last year’s revolution against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, has transformed itself into what is an independent state in all but name. Libya is due to hold national elections in 10 days, but these look like they may be delayed as any sense of post-Gaddafi national unity dissipated long ago.
Are Syrian rebels ready to kill their own just to get attention and possible military intervention from the US and NATO? Russia says “Yes”.
The U.N. Security Council met on Sunday to discuss the recent massacre in the Syrian town of Houla, which the US, UK and most NATO allies have blamed on the Syrian government but Damascus and Moscow suggested was due to a rebel attack.
At least 116 people, including many children, were killed in the Houla attack, the head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria General Robert Mood told the 15-nation council, according to a diplomat who was in the closed-door meeting. The diplomat spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Human Rights Watch yesterday condemned the Urban Management Law Enforcement agency, known as the chengguan, and urged Beijing to reform or even abolish the force.
The force, nicknamed X-Men by the media, has been accused of rampant brutality and illegal detentions for even minor offences.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a 76-page report documenting abuses by the chengguan.
“In numerous recent Chinese state media editorials, the chengguan have been … derided as law-breaking X-Men,” the group said in the report, entitled “Beat Him, Take Everything Away”.
AMISOM and Somali government troops have vowed to flush out al-Shabab militants from their major stronghold of Afgoye. Clashes launched by AMISOM on Tuesday left several militants dead and caused civilians to flee.
Hundreds of Somali troops backed by AU forces (AMISOM) and tanks launched attacks on Somali millitant group al-Shabab in Afgoye town, which is home to 400,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).
The attack left scores of militants dead, while many civilians fled.
Syria’s rebels have seen an influx of arms including anti-tank weaponry for their fight against President Bashar al-Assad regime, in an effort coordinated with the help of the United States, a report said today.
Officials in President Barack Obama’s administration insist it is not directly supplying the weapons or providing funding, with Gulf states paying for the new arms, the Washington Post said, citing US and foreign officials.
But Washington has stepped up links with the rebels and regional militaries allying with them, playing a role in the rebel’s foreign support network, the report said.
A new armed group on Friday tightened its grip on the Malian city of Timbuktu as the Tuareg rebels reached the center.
Members of the National Liberation Front of Azawad (FLNA), which was set up this month, on Thursday arrived in vehicles and seized control of entries to the east and south of the ancient city.
On Friday the group, which says it has neither a secessionist nor Islamist agenda, moved into Timbuktu’s central area.
“Around 100 vehicles full of armed FLNA fighters came today to the (central) Sans Fil area of Timbuktu. They are armed to the teeth,” said a Malian security source in the town.
TEK was created in September 2010 by a governmental decree, shortly after the Fidesz government took office. TEK exists outside the normal command structure of both the police and the security agencies. The Prime Minister directly names (and can fire) its head and only the interior minister stands between him and the direct command of the force. It is well known that the head of this force is a very close confidante of the Prime Minister.
TEK was set up as an anti-terror police unit within the interior ministry and given a budget of 10 billion forints (about $44 million) in a time of austerity. Since then, it has grown to nearly 900 employees in a country of 10.5 million people that is only as big as Indiana.
Tensions were high in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Tuesday, less than a week after the murder of five Macedonians near the capital of Skopje, as a mysterious “army” threatened a “liberation of occupied Albanian lands”
Recently unknown “The Army for Liberation of Occupied Albanian Lands”, in a statement published by Macedonian media, gave the government an ultimatum to withdraw in two weeks from what it called “occupied Albanians lands” or face reprisals.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Aslam Raisani has said the province is being pushed to civil war through a plan.
While chairing a meeting to review law and order situation in the province, Aslam Raisani said that the government would launch a targeted operation in Quetta for the restoration of peace.
Provincial Home Minister Zafarullah Zahri, Ali Madad Jatak, religious leaders and representatives of law enforcement agencies were also present on the occasion.
Raisani urged the religious leaders to play their role to normalize the situation in the province.
Sudan and South Sudan on Wednesday ordered mass civilian mobilisations for defence as their armies battled along their contested border, raising the spectre of a return to all-out war.
A day after Southern troops seized the contested oil-producing Heglig region from Khartoum’s army amid heavy artillery bombardments and air strikes, the parliaments in Juba and Khartoum called for preparation for conflict.