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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blackwater rocks the world.

Blackwater Facts: Abbas Considers Blackwater Protection

The World Tribune reports that Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, wants Blackwater to train his bodyguards. It is unclear if the deal - which appears to be just talk at this point - will go through; Blackwater does nothing abroad without explicit U.S. government approval.

However, some interesting points have come out of this story. One Western security source explained:

Abbas likes the U.S. approach to VIP security, which is unobtrusive, quiet and highly professional.

A source within the Palestinian Authority echoed these sentiments:

Abu Mazen [Abbas] was very impressed by the security around President [George] Bush during his visit to Ramallah [in January 2008].... Abbas has already discussed this with senior U.S. officials.

As it turns out, the United States already funds the training of the PA security detail. The World Tribune writes,

The United States, as part of an $86 million program, has been financing the training and equipping of PA forces. In January, a battalion of PA National Security Force officers was sent for training to a U.S.-financed police center outside Amman. The center trained more than 30,000 Iraqi police officers from 2004 through 2007.

Abbas is opposed by several members of his own Fatah movement and does not trust Force 17, one of the units responsible for his protection. One source said,

Force 17 has no loyalty to Abbas.... They are all Arafat's people and this makes Abbas uncomfortable. He does not feel they will protect him.

Only time will tell if Blackwater gets a contract to train the PA guards. However, the US officials responsible for enhancing PA security are said to support Blackwater as a means of significantly bolstering PA capabilities.


Other news: Taiwan wants a piece of Blackwater!

Security agencies around the world have taken notice of Blackwater's professionalism and expertise. Defense News reports that the Special Protection Service of Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) has begun training with the North Carolina-based security contractor.

"An NSB source stated that training began in 2007 and was conducted at Blackwater facilities in the United States. The source stated the NSB was satisfied with the training, and further training programs are being considered."

Defense News cites a former US official as saying that “the key thing would be to have special operations training for Army, Marines and Reserve units in Taiwan.”

In addition to special protective service, the National Security Bureau is also responsible for national intelligence work and unified cryptography in Taiwan.