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The UAE Acknowledges Its Big Secret Mercenary Army

Former Blackwater head Erik Prince has a new business venture: a United Arab Emirates-incorporated company called Reflex Responses, charged with providing a variety of internal security services throughout the UAE. The reported value of the company’s contract is more than half a billion dollars for services until 2015. The force run by R2 will be extremely diverse–aerial and naval units, intelligence gathering, and a range of special mission capabilities like sniping and explosive ordinance disposal. The apparent focal point of R2’s roles will be an 800 man quick reaction force, designed to be able to protect vital centers like commercial buildings or offshore oil wells. The UAE is, like its neighbor Saudi Arabia, an extremely insecure country. It has rich financial centers, large oil fields, and a massive non-native population–only around 19% of people in the UAE are Emirati. It thus has a need for a massive defense establishment–it is estimated to be the world’s sixteenth-largest military spender. Considering that it is only 93rd in the world in population size, it leads the world in military spending per capita.

Former Blackwater head Erik Prince. (Image: Wikipedia)

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