The controversial security contractor Blackwater is back in the headlines now that its founder – billionaire and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince – has made the case that the United States should replace its small footprint of 2,000 troops in Syria with mercenaries.
Prince’s pitch on Fox Business comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise pullout announcement in December left Washington’s allies – the Syrian Kurdish forces that fought ISIS – fearing for their security in the face of threats from Turkey.
Blackwater, which was renamed, sold and began operating in 2011 as Virginia-based Academi, was mired in controversy after it was banned from Iraq after some of its people opened fire on civilians at a busy traffic circle.
Prince, however, is eyeing a major comeback by offering Trump a way to both safeguard U.S. allies in Syria while pulling out U.S. troops – a promise from his 2016 presidential campaign made all the more relevant by U.S. soldiers being killed by an ISIS bomb in Syria this week.
“If there is not some kind of robust capability to defend from a ground invasion from the very conventional power that the Iranians and the Syrians have, our allies there will be smashed,” Prince told Fox Business this week.