So Somalia’s embattled Transitional Federal Government plus the government of autonomous Puntland in nothern Somalia hired mercenary firm Saracen, along with with former Blackwater head Eric Prince, to train up pirate-fighting militias. A supplies shipment to the new Puntland force was intercepted by breakaway Somaliland and held for violating a U.N. arms embargo. The U.S. State Department was equally nervous about the training deal, saying it was “concerned about the lack of transparency regarding Saracen’s funding, its objectives and its scope.”
Now the TFG has canceled the contract, citing Saracen’s sketchy background.
But it’s not just Saracen that should sound alarms. The current project is itself suspect. According to the Associated Press, Saracen and Prince would establish a pirate-fighting force in Puntland, followed by “a second 1,000-man anti-piracy force … planned for Mogadishu, where insurgents battle poorly equipped government forces.”
Thing is, there are no pirates in Mogadishu. The city’s only port is controlled by African Union peacekeepers. Any new troops for the capital would not be battling pirates. So what would their mission really be?