Blackwater founder Erik Prince, whose former mercenary firm was behind the massacre of civilians in Iraq, has been approached about helping to forge an Arab military force to replace the U.S. presence in Syria, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Erik Prince says he's "been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect of building a force in Syria but that he was waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do."
Because of course he has https://t.co/8PeIxAH7p7
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) April 17, 2018
The Trump administration has reportedly spoken with officials in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about contributing funds and manpower to build a military force in the country to prevent the resurgence on ISIS fighters after U.S. soldiers leave.
President Donald Trump and his advisers have expressed a desire to withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops who are in Syria within the next five to six months.
The White House is evidently considering the advice of Prince, who last summer proposed to the Trump administration a plan to replace U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan with contractors from foreign countries, who would be overseen by "an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion, and contracting—and report directly to the president."
As Common Dreams reported at the time, the war profiteer's concept amounted to "literal colonialism" according to one critic. Washington Post foreign affairs writer Ishaan Tharoor denounced the idea as "sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire."
According to the Journal, "Mr. Prince said Monday that he has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect of building a force in Syria but that he was waiting to see what Mr. Trump would do."
Under Prince's leadership, the American contractors who worked in Iraq were at the center of some of the war's most notorious incidents, with four Blackwater security employees convicted in the killings of several Iraqi civilians in a 2004 shooting.