A report by the British American Security Information Council said
that private military companies in Iraq have employed Algerian and Israeli
nationals to protect vital Iraqi facilities and help the U.S.-led coalition.
The report said the Middle East nationals have been attracted by salaries of
more than $130,000 a year.
"The lure of higher salaries is causing an exodus of U.S. and British
special forces to PMCs just as these military forces are being asked to play
an increasing role in combating terrorism and helping to conduct
nation-building operations worldwide," the report said. "Competition over
elite troops from private companies is so intense that the U.S. and British
military commanders are formulating new pay, benefits, and educational
incentives to try to retain them."
The report said PMCs have done "reasonably well" in fulfilling their
contracts in Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. The private security personnel were said to have
demonstrated professionalism and appeared more in tune with local culture
than U.S. military forces.
"PMCs are employing personnel from several countries, not just the
United States," the report, entitled "The Case for a Pragmatic Assessment of
Private Military Companies in Iraq," said. "Contractors from Britain, Nepal,
Chile, Ukraine, Israel, South Africa and Fiji are doing a wide variety of
tasks in Iraq but the common link is helping, in one way or another, to
"Security firms are also believed to be employing veterans
of anti-insurgency conflicts in Colombia and Algeria and former soldiers who
fought in the Russian government's war in Chechnya," the report added.
The report, released in October 2004, said those hired by private
military contractors in Iraq include members of elite military and security
units. Basic Research said about 6,000 foreigners were believed to be
working as private security personnel in Iraq.
The largest private military contractor in Iraq was identified as the
British firm Global Risk Strategies, with up to 1,200 security personnel. In
second place was Control Risks Group, with 750 people; followed by
Blackwater USA, 600; Triple Canopy, 350; Special Operations
Consulting-Security Management Group, 300; Olive, 265; and DynCorp, 175
personnel. The South African firm Erinys was said to employ 14,000 Iraqi
nationals as guards.
"PMCs do not constitute the second or third largest army in Iraq," the
report said. "They are not coordinated into one cohesive whole, nor do they
engage in offensive operations."
The Middle East nationals who serve as security contractors in Iraq
provide such services as protection for senior civilian officials,
non-military site security and non-military convoy security. The report said
most of the PMCs have been contracted to guard prime contractor employees.
As of September 2004, at least 58 non-Iraqi PMC personnel have been
killed, the report said. This did not include Iraqi personnel working for
Erinys, which reported 21 casualties.
In some cases, the need for trained foreign security personnel has
clashed with the policies of several countries, the report said. PMCs were
said to have hired 1,500 Indian nationals in violation of New Dehli's ban on
travel to Iraq. U.S. military contractors also tried to recruit ex-soldiers
from Pakistan for non-combatant security operations in Iraq.