Last month, President Trump approved sending more US troops to Afghanistan. Not everyone in Washington was happy with the move. Advisors said that Trump should have listened to what Blackwater founder Erik Prince had to say first.
Prince, the founder of Blackwater — the private military company which gained notoriety in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003, has returned to the American political arena after several years in the shadows. His return has been made possible in part by the fact that he has new, powerful allies in Washington, including Betsy DeVos, Prince’s sister and the current US Secretary of Education, as well as Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, and Vice President Mike Pence.
Prince’s proposals are nothing new, the journalist noted. In 2006, the former Navy SEAL-turned businessman was discussing the possibility of creating mercenary-based ‘peacekeeping’ forces, meant “to replace the slow and indecisive UN forces, and quickly and efficiently establish order in hot spots around the world.”
Nearly a decade later, in 2014, “Prince visited Nigeria and offered to destroy Boko Haram and stop the theft of oil in the country with the help of contractors for a sum of $1.5 billion. A year after that, Prince proposed creating a private coast guard service in Libya, which [he said] would stop the flow of refugees to Europe in four months time.”
Prince pitched the latter idea to Brussels and what remained of the Libyan government – the project to be funded by unfreezing Libyan bank accounts seized following Muammar Gaddafi’s 2011 ouster and murder in a NATO-sponsored uprising. But the idea never did found support from the right people, and subsequently petered out.
The founder of the world’s best known private military company in the world also offered to crack down on ISIS in Iraq and Syria and to do so in short order, without any excess geopolitical games. In Prince’s view, this would have been cheaper than all current operations in the fight against the Islamists. But with politicians ever mindful of the fact that much of the chaos in Iraq was created at the hands of Blackwater in the first place, the proposal predictably fell on deaf ears.
And then there is the case of Afghanistan.”Even if the US and coalition forces were to increase their presence in the country to 20-25,000 troops, there is little reason to believe that they would be able to do something better than the 140,000 that were deployed there in earlier years, according to some military analysts.
It’s for this reason that Steve Bannon and [Trump advisor and son in law Jared] Kushner wanted to organize a meeting between Pentagon chief Gen. James Mattis, Eric Prince, and billionaire Steve Feinberg, owner of DynCorp International, one of the most powerful military contractors in the world. Feinberg, incidentally, had already met with Trump previously to discuss Afghanistan policy and the work of intelligence agencies, and Erik Prince had consulted with White House officials and met with general H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser.
An Afghan ‘New East India Company’
Prince, in keeping with his grandiose customs, has proposed to create an Afghan version of the British East India Company, “establishing the semblance of a ‘viceroy’ who would be responsible for everything that happens in the country, as was done by the British in India in the 18th century. This viceroy, under Prince’s plan, would resolve all issues in the country personally, without the bureaucratic delays and endless meetings with Washington, and would answer only to the US president, according to the analyst Ilya Plekhanov who spoke to RIA on this topic.
In addition, this unelected official would have the power to make all sorts of decisions involving Afghanistan’s legislation, the budget, infrastructure, contracts, politics, military policy, etc. Prince proposed as a model General Douglas MacArthur’s position in post-war Japan. In the late 1940s, the Allied Commander was able to help substantially reduce corruption and participated in the creation of a Japan’s new post-war constitution.
Another ‘innovation’ in the businessman’s plan, in Plekhanov’s view, was that he proposed to send mercenaries to Afghanistan not on a rotating basis, but for many years at a time (if not their whole lives), to live and serve in military units alongside Afghans, learning the local language and culture. This, according to Prince, would help convince Afghans’ of the West’s ‘good intentions’.
For sure, very interesting proposal and probably new jobs for all those who are not given up yet.