As the fight against the Islamic State unfolds, the take of Erik Prince, the founder of the former private security firm Blackwater, is straightforward: If the United States is unwilling to send in ground troops, “let the private sector finish the job.”
Prince addressed the subject this week in a little-noticed blog post on the site of his newest security and logistics firm, Frontier Services Group. Prince left Blackwater, with its checkered history in Iraq, including the killing by contractors of 17 civilians in a 2007 shooting, in 2010. The trial of four Blackwater guards involved in the shooting in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, has been underway for months.
Prince is currently courting private business in Africa for his new company. He also is preparing to drum up readers for the paperback version of his bestselling book, “Civilian Warriors: The Inside story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror,” out later this month.
The former Navy SEAL declined interview requests for this piece through a spokesperson with his book publisher, the Penguin Group. In his blog post, published Monday, Prince said President Obama’s strategy to counter the Islamic State is “half-hearted at best” and will not be able to dig the militants out of any urban centers where they seek shelter among civilians.
“If the old Blackwater team were still together, I have high confidence that a multi-brigade-size unit of veteran American contractors or a multi-national force could be rapidly assembled and deployed to be that necessary ground combat team,” Prince wrote. “The professionals would be hired for their combat skills in armor, artillery, small unit tactics, special operations, logistics, and whatever else may be needed. A competent professional force of volunteers would serve as the pointy end of the spear and would serve to strengthen friendly but skittish indigenous forces.”
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