One Third of the “Coalition of the Willing” are Mercenaries

By M Taqi
Apr. 01, 2007

A UN report published recently showed that the number of mercenaries working in Iraq has been steadily increasing and is now estimated that the number of such professional mercenaries to over 30%. Between 30,000 and 50,000 mercenaries are working in Iraq, making them the second largest military force there after the occupying United States.

The case of Iraq "is a new manifestation of the use of mercenaries that has caught the UN by surprise", Spain's Jose Luis Gomez del Prado -- a member of the UN working group on mercenaries -- said Friday during a visit to Peru. The United States has 130,000 soldiers in Iraq, he noted. Britain has 10,000 troops.

The report published by the UN working group on mercenaries and being presented to the committee for human rights described the increasing tendency by the invading forces to use paid mercenaries in areas of high tension in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Prado who heads the study group said that there is no doubt that the mercenaries are the second largest armed forces in Iraq after the US forces of occupation, and their duties include the protection of the Green Zone and other areas in Baghdad, which are the responsibility of the American forces of occupation. Indeed, contrary to common belief and the vibrant war propaganda, mercenaries in Iraq are given fighting duties as well as logistics.

The use of mercenaries is favoured by the forces occupation as a form of 'human-sheild’ inserted between US regulars and the forever rising potency of Iraqi insurgency. The mercenaries are seen as 'dispensable’ because the killing of mercenaries is not reflected in the US government statistics of 3,245 dead soldiers as reported by CNN online at the time of writing this article.

Mr Prado warned of the danger of using mercenaries since they are not accountable to any law or the type of chain of command often associated with regular armies. Other experts who contributed to the report went further by saying that it is in the interest of those mercenaries and the firms they work for, to keep Iraq in a constant state of war since this guarentees constant flow of work for them. This can explain the numerous reports from local Iraqis of mercenaries involvement terrorist activities. Besides the diminished responsibility and conformance to any law or discipline, most of the mercenaries often do not know the goals of their missions, and their focus is on the exercise of barbarities for a fistful of Dollars.

Pardo indicated that the majority of the mercenaries are supplied to the forces of occupation by US security firms which are in close collaboration with the US Department of Defence. Pardo estimates that the mercenary industry in Iraq alone is worth a total of $100billion paid for by western tax-payers.

Most mercenaries are recruited from South America, whilst those at officer level tend to come from eastern Europe and South Africa. The report warns that these mercenaries are highly trained in the inhumain methods of torture, brutality and barbarity; they often employ these methods against the local population. In addition, former officers in the former South African aparthide regime are known to be training of Iraqi goverenment secret security forces and police.

The report reveals that only 5% of the crimes committed by the mercenaries in Iraq have been prosecuted with sentencing being extremely light in comparison to the crime committed.

M Taqi is an independent freelance writer and may be contacted on [email protected]

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