It is always interesting to see the spin placed on a cold hard business decision for the media. Put simply, Eric Prince and his staff have played a blinder over the last 48 hours. Inviting the press into their headquarters, Eric Prince explained that Blackwater Worldwide would be reducing the reliance on security, particularly as this part of the business was an unintended consequence and never part of the overall business plan.
A close and trusted friend of mine has recently concluded pre-deployment training to join a major Private Military Company (PMC) that will support a government department’s own security apparatus. The PMC – that shall remain nameless, as shall the friend and the government department– set deployment standards on its own and will also face additional set of higher standards from the government. The reasoning for this is unclear.
Last week, al-Qaeda’s Deputy in Command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, resumed answering questions previously submitted to Al-Sahab via the internet. His answers and how they have been analyzed and reported by some journalists sheds new light on the growing criticism of the terrorist organization in the “Muslim world”.
It is interesting to see that the Grand Jury investigation into the Sep 16 shootings by Blackwater continues. What is equally interesting is that following the rush of knee-jerk reactions in Congress to throw legislation at the problem that ‘closed the loophole’ by including contractors to the State Department to the Military Jurisdiction Expeditionary Act, which apparently meant that all contractors would now be covered and accountable under US law. Unfortunately, having satisfied themselves that all was now right with the world, the politicians and their staffs wrenched their arms out of their sockets patting themselves on the back for a job well done….if only that were so.
The new reality of the Middle East presents new challenges to US foreign policy makers as they shape future US engagements and/or disengagements in part or parts of that region. On the other hand, this new reality gives the United States a larger degree of maneuverability unthinkable of few years ago. As intelligence is key to national security strategy-making, so is cultural intelligence essential to the development of foreign policy strategies.