Emily B. Hager and Mark Mazzetti
May 16, 2011
The United Arab Emirates confirmed on Sunday that it had hired a company run by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, to provide “operational, planning and training support” to its military. But it gave no details of the company’s project to build a foreign mercenary battalion for the Emirati government.
A written statement from a top Emirati general, issued through the U.A.E.’s official news agency, said that the country had relied extensively on outside contractors to bolster its military, and that all work with contractors was “compliant with international law and relevant conventions.”
The statement, by Gen. Juma Ali Khalaf al-Hamiri, said that the U.A.E. had signed a contract with Reflex Responses, Mr. Prince’s company, but made no mention of the hundreds of Colombian, South African and other foreign troops now training at an Emirati military base. The statement did not mention Mr. Prince by name.