Thursday, June 19, 2008

Activists Turn to Blackwater for Darfur Security

Talk of a role for Blackwater in Darfur has gotten considerably more serious, appearing in the sober-minded Financial Times. The British newspaper reports that actress and activist Mia Farrow, "frustrated by the stalled deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force," has approached Blackwater's Erik Prince "to discuss whether a military role was either feasible or desirable."

“Ms Farrow, who represents Dream for Darfur, a human rights group, and other lobbyists this week lambasted the UN Security Council for its 'shameful' failure to halt killings in the Sudanese province.” Many critics of UN deployment to Sudan - not least the Chinese government, which has a guns-for-resources relationship with the regime which has backed the genocide - have expressed concern that the Sudanese government might not like to have peacekeepers in its backyard, be they UN, Blackwater or otherwise. “Did Adolf Hitler get to choose which troops should be deployed to end his genocide?” Ms. Farrow shot back at the Security Council. “How long will you continue to allow the government of Sudan to manipulate this body?”

As this blog has previously noted, Blackwater's greatest contribution would not be in supplying boots on the ground; African nations are willing and able to provide that. Where Blackwater could make a real difference is in organization, logistics, training and communications. Blackwater's extensive experience with both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, in some of the world's most inhospitable environments, would be a major force multiplier for any African-lead peacekeeping effort.

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