Military

Blackwater to Teach Somalis True Meaning of Democracy

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Hillary was certainly not expecting the handshake tickle she got from Somali President Sheikh Sharif

Last we met our intrepid Somali legislators, they were trying to tame Somalia's anarchic wireless telecom market. The story was a little odd considering that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) only controls a few blocks of territory with the al-Shabaab insurgency closing in fast, but yesterday we learned from The New York Times why they're so confident: Blackwater's coming to town!

Well, not quite Blackwater—Erik Prince, the infamous mercenary firm's founder, has cobbled together a sinister-sounding coalition of apartheid-era South African mercenaries and two-bit Ugandan potentates under the name Saracen International, and they're gunning for contracts with Africa's most hapless governing body. Previously the firm had been involved with anti-piracy efforts funded by the United Arab Emirates and the unrecognized Somali state of Puntland, but they are now poised to make landfall in Mogadishu. The mercenaries will apparently be paid by the TFG, but the deal was brokered by former U.S. officials:

The officials, Pierre-Richard Prosper, a former United States ambassador at large for war crimes [Ed.—you can't make this shit up], and Michael Shanklin, a former Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Mogadishu, are both serving as advisers to the Somali government, according to people involved in the project. Both Mr. Prosper and Mr. Shanklin are apparently being paid by the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the backlash that the TFG has faced since their contracts with Saracen came to light, the mercenary firm is wasting no time. They've already begun renovating a military hospital, and given the TFG's sudden ambitions, it looks like they're gearing up for yet another battle of Mogadishu (you know what they say—tenth time's a charm!).

Learning from the disastrous direct intervention in the early '90s and the American-funded Ethiopian invasion in 2006, the U.S. has perfected the art of meddling-by-proxy: Even The New York Times didn't note that the mercenaries' Krugerrands, despite being routed through the nominally-independent TFG, are coming mostly courtesy of the American taxpayer. At least Bill Clinton had the balls to own up to his invasion—President George W. Bush and Barack Obama's interventions have been more circuitous, but no less harmful.

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  1. So, helping thwart Islamists and pirates is considered bad now? Good luck to them.

    1. But America….BlackWater…guns….the evil!!1

      1. Say, isn’t this kind of similar to Ron Paul’s plan to send mercs after bin Laden?

  2. STEVE SMITH TRY MAKE FUNNY ALT-TEXT NOT ABOUT RAPE, BUT STEVE CANNOT! STEVE IS WHAT STEVE IS!

    1. new interns Josh Brokaw and Stephen J. Smith represent The Greatest Generation OF RAPE.

      1. This never gets old.

    2. “In America, men don’t put that in a woman’s hand until they get to know her better.”

    3. truly the most unfortunate name for a reason intern ever.

      I think Matt secretly saw the application and the name and said to himself “Oh fuck yeah we are hiring this guy”

      1. Or, more likely, Matt and the other editors here are laughing at you, not with you. The Steve Smith gag isn’t funny. Not now, not ever.

        1. Everyone outside of Tori Amos finds the steve Smith gag funny. Inside Tori Amos, it’s PTSD and bad piano music.

  3. I seem to recall reason a long while back defending private armies effectiveness in Africa – can’t find it with quick search – anyone? Prince seems like an evil guy but as long as US tax money isn’t involved (though certainly it is), I don’t really have a problem, so I guess I got a problem…

  4. did Clinton invade Somalia?

    1. Landed on the beach just before dawn shortly after his inauguration, wearing only his jogging shorts and clutching his dagger between his teeth.

      Stopped at the first McDonalds and that was the end of that.

    2. No, Bush the 1st got us in and Clinton went after some warlord. Sent in underequiped soldiers then fled.

    3. As explained at 3:30 into this video, he EthcalatedTheViolenth? due to warlords intercepting food supplies.

  5. Too bad for them Executive Outcomes closed up shop.

  6. At least Bill Clinton had the balls to own up to his invasion?President George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s interventions have been more circuitous, but no less harmful.

    Hey, hey, whoa, whoa, motherfucking WHOA.

    This is providing JOBS to mercenaries who would OTHERWISE BE OUT OF WORK!

    It’s all part of the stimulus, man.

    Cause without the stimulus….———> SOMALIA!!!!!11!!

    Oh, wait….

  7. Good Lord. How can this possibly turn out well? If I was trying to draw up a worst-case scenario, I doubt I could do better (worse?) than American-funded mercenaries trying to install an illegitimate kleptocratic regime over the objections of well-armed warlords.

    1. However, this has the makings of a GREAT movie script!

      Tommy Lee Jones needs to be in it. And Matt Damon. And Milla Jovovich.

      That’s good enough to get started on a script – I’M ON IT!

      1. Given blockbuster movie budgets these days, I wonder why Hollywood doesn’t just fund, supply, staff, and film a war?

        1. Don’t forget the hero. Every war needs a hero.

          1. We don’t need another hero.

            1. That’s Mad Max. I’m thinking more Wag the Dog.

              1. Bad movie but accurate.

        2. Why not just pay everyone in a war to put cameras on their helmets? Reality TV.

    2. Oh, it will be peachy.

    3. The TFG actually includes those warlords. They are fighting our common enemy, the Islamists.

      1. Maybe the Islamists are our enemies because we go out of our way to fuck with them even when it doesn’t serve our interests to do so?

  8. Better mercs than US troops. Executive Outcomes did a fine job in Sierra Leone, until their contract was canceled by the government whose democratic election EO made possible. Chaos resumed, and eventually Britain had to send in the Royal Marines to restore order. Hopefully Prince can do something similar in Somalia.

  9. You do know they’ve changed their name to Xe, right? (IMO, the people they most need to be shooting are their marketing consultants…WTF kind of a name is “Xe?”)

    1. Short for “Xenophon”.

    2. Maybe they’re trying to restore their reputation by identifying themselves with a noble gas.

      1. I almost went there, but decided against it. Not because I was afraid of a reaction, though.

    3. Xe is the first 2 letter in Xerox making it near impossible to see the number of contracts awarded and the amounts while searching federal databases.

      1. Saracens presumably comes from the english rugby team by the same name…

    4. I thought it was the English phonetic spelling of some obscure Chinese character signifying war.

  10. Is it just me or does Hilary look like a cross between a chicken and The Joker in that photo?

    1. The Somali is a ni–

  11. I assume Michael Shanklin is not the same guy who posts all those libertarian videos on Youtube?

  12. hi i live at 35 burseldon road hedgend southampton i goes to the hexagon centre in chandlers ford staffork close i really like two meet up with rob james collier please i like to be an actor to please so much now could you please pass this message on to him please could he please email me first please to let me if he will visit me please i really like him so much now think hes good looking thanks

    1. I’ll pass that message right along. Could you post a photo of yourself?

  13. Try to remember that tbe Ethiopian invasion was a SUCCESS. Somali terrorists were attacking Ethiopia and the Islamic Courts were doing nothing to stop it. So Ethiopia invaded, not to rebuild Somalia, but to peotect their country. They didn’t attack because we told them to; they would have probably attacked if we’d told them not to. And they SUCCEDED. Somali attacks on Ethiopia stopped.

  14. Ooooh, a sinister army of mercenaries in an African country. I played that game! It was sort of a ripoff of Heart of Darkness, or Apocalypse Now, take your pick. They had roads, though… I mean, dirt roads.

  15. Oh, I expect this will end well.

  16. I just don’t understand how this libertarian country that has its worthless government confined to a few small blocks isn’t thriving in their freedom…maybe its because they haven’t totally eliminated their government…yeah…that’s it…

    1. its worthless government confined to a few small blocks

      Blocks imply streets…

      where the fuck did those come from?

    2. Living standards in Somalia are still higher than in similar African countries with a government.

      1. “Similar”?

      2. What does that even mean? Living standards are slightly higher if you only look at a subset of countries that include somalia, and those worse off?

        How bout we look at all african countries. Or all worldwide countries. I’m told less government is better. How’s that actually working out?

        Damn they must love their freedom…i’m sure the last thing they’d want to give up is their liberty to a government that actually functioned and provided them with benefits. Down with tyranny! Up with liberty! Somalia forever!

          1. Wow, you learn something every day.

            For example, i found out that somalia is better off with no government than a poor one.

            Now where’s the peer reviewed paper that says they’re better off without a government than a good one?

            Still waiting for libertopia…where is it?

    3. Libertarianism does not warlordism equal

      1. So you hope. Provide empirical example.

        I have one: somalia. Inconvenient, isn’t it?

        Funny how this no government thing doesn’t lead to utopia…but dammit, it should, right?

  17. They’re invading Anarchistopia?

  18. “They’ve already begun renovating a military hospital, and given the TFG’s sudden ambitions, it looks like they’re gearing up for yet another battle of Mogadishu (you know what they say?tenth time’s a charm!).”

    At last, military leaders equal to my calibre!

  19. What does all this have to do with me?

  20. Prince would be king…

  21. “The officials, Pierre-Richard Prosper, a former United States ambassador at large for war crimes [Ed.?you can’t make this shit up]”

    He’s a former “United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues”, not a former ambassador at large for war crimes.

  22. Who is the idiot that said the Ethiopian invasion was a success? Anybody (assuming they’re sane) following recent events in the Horn of Africa will tell you that was a fucking disaster. There wasn’t any legitimate reason to attack the ICU to begin with, but the hilarious part is where the ICU (relatively sane, as far as religious groups go) disintegrated and was reincarnated as the Shabab, which make Al-Qaeda look like atheists. Forget the fact that the ICU was the first legitimate government in Somalia for roughly 20 years. And now we’re back to square one in Somalia.

    Another genius piece of foreign policy by Dubya.

    Yee-Haw!

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