The billionaire Erik Prince, who relocated to the UAE in 2010 in the wake of mounting legal problems in the United States, received over USD 500 million to organize an 800-member battalion of foreign troops in the Persian Gulf state, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
Posing as construction workers, dozens of Colombian men entered the UAE last November and were stationed in an Emirati base called Zayed Military City.
The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are recruited and trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, the daily said.
Documents show the force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks, and quell possible uprisings across the state, it added.
Such troops could be deployed if the UAE faced unrest, was challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labour camps in the oil fields or encountered democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year, the paper noted.
The UAE is a close ally of the US and officials in the Obama administration said that Washington was informed about the program.
“The [Persian] Gulf countries and the UAE in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official.
“They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”
However, legal experts doubt that the project has the US official blessing as the company is already enmeshed with a series of scandals related to operations in Iraq, Afghanistan.
Blackwater, which was later renamed Xe Services, came to spotlight after its forces killed over a dozen civilians and injured many more in Iraq’s capital Baghdad in 2007.
Blackwater mercenaries were hated by the Iraqis as they were able to kill many civilians with impunity.
Blackwater security guards were accused of killing 14 Innocent Iraqi civilians in 2007. They also conducted missions in Pakistan and Afghanistan of eliminating the US rivals and the People who were vocal against the US Hegemonial Policies and its autocratic rule , which it is trying to build up over whole of the world. As these Black water gaurds were brought in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the pretext of the security of the US Missions , but they were involved in many Illegal activities .