Thursday, February 26, 2009

Does proliferation of private security/military contractors play a role in official troop mutinies?

The mutiny of Bangladeshi border guards may be related to discontent fueled by an increase in the global use of private security and military contractors (many of which have come from Bangladesh). As of December 2008, there were an estimated 1,000 Bangladeshis serving under private contracts in Iraq. And, back in 2000 China's official state news agency, Xinhua News, reported that the Bangladeshi government was considering handing-over some policing jobs to private security companies. The same story reports that, as of 2000, there were over one hundred security companies operating within the country.

The AP reports that: "Among the guards' demands are more food rations and a chance to participate in lucrative, high-paying U.N. peacekeeping missions." The ability to vie for participation in these missions may be the nearest thing border guards have to the lucrative private contracts being snapped up by their co-nationals. Although air transport and similar support services as well as security guards supplied for UN missions have come from the private sector, the UN has so far been loathe to employ private forces for combat purposes.

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