Security Contracting In Iraq
September 8 2012 – The majority of troops have left Iraq, but a number of civilian security forces remain to protect diplomats and to continue training the Iraqi police force. This is news you won’t be hearing on the local or cable networks, especially during a presidential campaign. It wouldn’t look good for Washington or the State Dept. When those special forces are killed by IED’s or combat fire you won’t hear about it. They are the expendable forces that our government uses in place of military. They are also the people who trained some of our own military who served in Iraq.
Here is a report from Will Grant, that gives you some insight on what is going on quietly, out of the news media.- JRoycroft
Eight months ago, the US military made its formal withdrawal from Iraq. And though the troops and equipment, for the most part, were shipped home, scores of US contractors remained in country to satisfy a variety of needs. The current number of security contractors in Iraq is currently just over 3,000.
At the time of the withdrawal, which concluded on December 18, speculations circulated about the future of the Iraqi government and its ability to maintain a stable, democratic state and hold back the tides of insurgency that never seemed far from the surface. Also in question was the ability of the nascent government to avoid Iranian influence.
It’s safe to say that the jury is still out on many of those concerns. Especially with Iraq’s allowing Iranian aircraft to use its airspace as a corridor to Syria. Many suspect the Iranian aircraft of transporting weapons to Syria through Iraq, and the US would like to see Iraq require the Iranian airliners to land for inspections.
For security contractors in Iraq, the troop withdrawal was foreseen as a major factor in changing the operating environment. The troop pullout was also accompanied by the Department of State’s takeover of the job in Iraq.
Some speculated that providing security in Iraq would become more dangerous without the US military there. At the time of the troop pullout, the Department of State had failed to secure a contractor for aerial operations. The ability of the DoS to handle the job in Iraq, to manage the thousands of contractors was also very much in question.
So what does the situation look like eight months later? The short answer is: It’s hard to say.
Reported contractor deaths in Iraq have been few. But the undercounting of such deaths is a worry, and the magnitude of the undercounting is really the question. There seems to have been no abdominal increase in improvised explosive device incidents or planned attacks by insurgents, though security concerns still prevent US diplomatic personnel from traveling within the country.
As far as how the DoS is handling the contractors under its watch, many of the old concerns continue to linger. The biggest of those concerns seems to be oversight, both of government spending and the accountability of US personnel continuing the mission.