Silent in Somalia

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at the changing footprint of American forces in the Horn of Africa. The piece, hopefully completed by the end of the month, will tackle questions of Africom’s [Africa Command] future (a topic oft-ignored in the discussion of Obama’s drone warfare in a increasingly hostile Middle East) and how the fight against terrorist cells across North Africa and the Middle East has become the administration’s “catch-22” moment.

However, a story published on the front page of The New York Times today highlights the role private contractors —clandestinely— are playing in the Horn of Africa, and in particular the fight against piracy in the sea of Aden. While the reporting hints at the now-unveiled nefariousness of private security firm called Saracen, whose reputation is sullied further through ties to Blackwater-mogul Erik Prince, one of the more telling conclusions should be the lack of oversight —whether the actions undertaken are those of private contractors of governments alike.

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