BAGHDAD ø The United States, increasingly dependent on private
security, has launched an effort to coordinate military and security
contractors in Iraq.
The Coalition Provisional Authority has drafted plans to create a
structure that would ensure cooperation among leading military and security
contractors. Officials said such a body would provide assistance to these
contractors as well formalize cooperation to facilitate their missions amid
the insurgency war in Iraq.
Under the plan, the CPA would first launch cooperation among the 10
largest prime contractors and their subcontractors. The authority's
program management office has invited bids for security cooperation that
would cover the $18.4 billion in reconstruction projects financed by the
Officials said the CPA could launch the security cooperation project by
the third quarter of 2004. They said the CPA was trying to coordinate with
private security contractors and provide them with a daily threat assessment
report as well as a schedule of operations. About 20,000 foreign security
personnel were said to be working in Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported.
The CPA also plans to register security firms and their weapons as well
as establish rules for the possession and use of firearms. The plan would
also define the type of weapons that could be employed by security
On April 8, Democratic leaders in Congress urged the Pentagon to
investigate the role of U.S. security contractors in Iraq. Thirteen
Democrats in the Senate relayed a letter that called on Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld to provide what they termed "an accurate tally" of the
privately-armed non-Iraqi security personnel in Iraq.
The senators also demanded that the Pentagon adopt guidelines for
military and security companies in Iraq. They warned that the presence of
the security firms could increase resentment against the U.S.-led military
"It would be a dangerous precedent if the United States allowed the
presence of private armies operating outside the control of governmental
authority and beholden only to those who pay them," the letter said.
Peter Kuznick, a history professor at the American University in
Washington, said many of the non-U.S. employees in private military and
comprise former soldiers for dictatorships. Kuznick cited nationals from
and South Africa, some of whom have been offered up to $1,000 per day.
"The South Africans were the former military personnel under the old
apartheid regime," Kuznick said. "One of the groups that's well represented
in Iraq now are the Chileans. They are the former thugs for the old
[Augusto] Pinochet dictatorship. So we've got some people there who I would
suspect don't share America's values, and there's not a lot of restraint on
what they do."
On April 12, seven U.S. contractors were reported missing following an
attack on a convoy in Abu Gharib near Baghdad. The seven missing civilians
worked for Kellogg Brown & Root, which suspended some of its regular
convoys to supply U.S. military troops in Iraq.