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Published On: Sun, Aug 13th, 2017

Blackwater founder Eric Prince wants to privatize Afghanistan war and install a viceroy

nsnbc : Eric Prince, founder of the notorious Blackwater company proposed to privatize a large portion of the United States’ war in Afghanistan. US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering his highly controversial proposal that was met with more than skepticism in Kabul.

Eric Prince_Eric D. Prince_Blackwater_Xe_Academi_USA_Hong KongThe proposal came during the now months long review of the war in Afghanistan by the Trump administration and criticism from the likes of Senator John McCain who stressed that there is an absence of a consistent and effective strategy.

The United States is bogged down in an apparent stalemate in Afghanistan after 16 years of war efforts there, started under the so-called “global war on terror” against the very Taliban and Al-Qaeda the USA supported during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Prince, founder of the notorious Blackwater, touts his plan as a cost-effective option to turn the war around. Under the proposal, about 5,000 contractors would replace U.S. troops currently advising Afghan forces. They’d be backed by a 90-plane private air force. The contractors would operate under Afghan control, Prince said. Speaking to reporters Price would advertise his plan as an initiative “under the control of the Afghan government”, and noting the contractors were no local militia group.

However, a large number of prominent Afghan leaders including ex-president Hamid Karzai reject Prince’s “for profit military” as unaccountable while referring to atrocities and crimes carried out by Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s.

The Afghan government has not yet officially responded to the proposal. Besides questions about the reputation of prince and company, the plan also raises legal questions about the – also highly controversial – Afghan – US mutual security agreement. Moreover, it raises questions about the legality of private militaries and international law, the convention against the use of mercenaries, the Geneva Conventions, among others.

Prince wants viceroy and private air force badged as Afghan jets

Price, for his part, noted that the United States is currently spending more than the entire U.K. defense budget, just in Afghanistan an that the U.S. can’t continue that forever. Price claims to be able to do the job for less than $10 billion a year. Under his proposal, the U.S. war would be coordinated by a “viceroy,” who would consolidate what Prince calls Washington’s “very chaotic and disorganized” approach to the country.

The 5,000 contractors would attach to Afghan military units and would “live with, train with and fight alongside them, when necessary,” Prince said. They would report to Afghanistan’s government, he added. ‘These would be contracted professionals attached to the Afghan army. So even by United Nations definitions, those are not mercenaries. They would be attached to and serving with the Afghan forces,’ he claimed.

Blackwater founder Prince also proposes a “big increase” in air support. The 90 planes in his private air force ‘would be badged as Afghan aircraft, with Afghan call signs, with an Afghan on board, and Afghans making the weapons release decisions,’ he said. Prince, a former Navy SEAL, said he also wants to keep about 2,000 U.S. special forces in the country to ‘maintain a unilateral ability to go after terrorist targets.

Thanks Black Prince but no Viceroy needed here

Hamid Karzai_Afghanistan_2017Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai already tweeted that he “vehemently” opposes the plan. Karzai called it a blatant violation of Afghanistan’s national sovereignty. Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil said the plan would result in more civilian anger that would only help Taliban recruitment. Karzai has said that if such step as implementing Prince’s plan is taken, then the security situation in the country would get as worse as Iraq.

Karzai’s office has said that outsourcing war management to a private firm would be against the sovereignty and the constitution of Afghanistan. “Taking such a step would mean that the war will be prolonged and the killing of innocent civilians, women, and children will continue,” he said. Karzai also stressed that the past experiences have shown that such steps were not helpful, but rather had negative impacts.

Prince was the founder and CEO of Blackwater Worldwide, later – after numerous scandals – rebranded as Xe and Academi. Prince sold the scandal outfit in 2010. He now owns a Hong Kong-based company that would carry out the proposed plan. Trump, for his part, has indicated that he is nearing a decision on Afghanistan. In addition to Prince’s proposals, Trump’s options would include boosting the presence of US troops in the country implementing a new strategy, or to – as unlikely as that would be – to remove them entirely.

CH/L – nsnbc 13.08.2017

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