Blackwater Founder Wants Mercenaries to Replace US Troops in Syria

Last month, President Trump announced the withdrawal of all United States troops from Syria†– apparently without†discussing†this plan†with his military advisers. Despite severe doubts expressed by critics –†including myself†– over the logistics and time frame needed for such a move, the Trump administration seems adamant about demonstrating forward movement on withdrawal.

On Jan. 11, U.S. military equipment began leaving Syria,†but officials declined to acknowledge whether or not troops had also†returned home.

Even with a†major drawdown on the number of uniformed U.S. troops remaining in Syria, it appears more likely than ever that a U.S.-backed military presence will continue for the foreseeable future. And that’s due to the high chances that U.S. troops will be replaced by hired mercenaries — or as they are more formally known, private military contractors.

Erik Prince, the infamous founder of U.S.-based private military group Blackwater, recently went on Fox Business to pitch just this to the American public.

In 2011, Prince sold Blackwater, which was then rebranded multiple times — most recently renamed as Academi. Blackwater originally gained widespread notoriety in the wake of the 2007 Nisour Square massacre, an incident that†killed 14 civilians.

Though he’s no longer affiliated with the group, Prince has been busy cultivating privatized military efforts around the world –† recently and most notably in China. Prince, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos‘ brother,†has also been questioned by the Robert Mueller investigation over allegations that he was involved in coordinating contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

In 2017, Prince made a similar push to let private military contractors take over for uniformed troops in Afghanistan, suggesting a radical reorganization of the U.S. presence there. These ideas are far from novel, however.

In 2016, a Pentagon report to Congress†publicly acknowledged that under then-President Obama, there had been a quite shift toward an increased use of mercenaries in place of U.S. troops

Itís worth pointing out that not only did President Trump vow to pull out of Syria in December, but he also stated that 7,000 U.S. troops would soon be leaving Afghanistan. Local authorities†claim they had not been consulted on this decision. Could it be that Trump had decided to unilaterally embrace a large-scale privatization of the wars in Syria and Afghanistan?

There are several reasons doing so would have great appeal for Trump, especially right now. No doubt feeling mounting pressure — given midterm setbacks and indications that Muellerís investigation is drawing to a close — Trump needs a few wins. No doubt this is precisely whatís behind his decision to dig in his heels over funding for the border wall,†one of his most touted campaign promises.

Defeating the Islamic State†in Syria and Iraq, as well as leaving Afghanistan, also ranked high among Trumpís most lofty presidential goals. Not only would bringing home uniformed troops be great for optics, but it would also open the door to more aggressive — and potentially war crime-prone — tactics that couldnít be used by U.S. troops.

This accountability became a major point of contention when private military contractors became more prominently used during the Iraq War, thanks to U.S. law being unable — and, more importantly, unwilling — to hold mercenaries to the same legal standards as uniformed servicepeople.

This is why the convictions related to the Blackwater massacre of Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square — the most recent of which was handed down last month — were so significant: Hired mercenaries committing such crimes are rarely held accountable for their actions.

Take Action!

Tell President Trump that if he plans to withdraw American military forces from Afghanistan and Syria, he must deliver more than lip service.

Removing uniformed troops and replacing them with taxpayer-subsidized private military contractors is not the answer. Add your name to†this Care2 petition to tell the Trump administration that the American people will not accept the privatization of war!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

53 comments

Joan E
Joan E2 months ago

Prince is just like Trump. He will do any evil thing if there is money in it for him. Prince's sister, the terrible Secretary of Education, is another rotten apple on the Prince family tree..

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill2 months ago

thanks for your article.

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Carole R
Carole R2 months ago

Thanks for posting.

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Lorraine A
Lorraine Andersen2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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S M
S M2 months ago

America has had mercenaries in Syria for years, - they are the USA proxy army, the rebels fighting the elected rulers of Syria. ..... All for the benefit of USA and Israel for oil and a pipeline through Syria. Dick Cheyney as well as that already has his oil company drilling oil by the Golan Heights in Syria. The audacity of that man and amorality knows no bounds!
So now it seems America wants profits, not paying out to Middle East rebels!

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Chad Anderson
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

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Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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David F
David F2 months ago

Gene J got his talking points from President Trump: "All people deserve the right to live freely without fear and pursue whatever dreams they may have. These regressive religious governments don't allow that and that's a crime against humanity. I don't know how to prevent it but it should be a world wide effort not solely an American one."

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Caitlin L
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

thank you for posting

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