The Emer­gence of Pri­vate Se­cu­rity in Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Dr. Twana Faris Bawa *

The pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try is still re­garded as a rel­a­tively new phe­nom­e­non where both In­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic law have not man­aged to catch up its rapid de­vel­op­ment.

The emer­gence of pri­vate se­cu­rity in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion can be seen as a re­sult of the 2003 Iraq War, which is widely con­sid­ered to be the first “pri­va­tised war”. From the con­flict’s in­cep­tion, coali­tion forces be­gan to dis­man­tle Sad­dam Hus­sein’s se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, lead­ing to a se­vere se­cu­rity vac­uum across all of Iraq (with the ex­cep­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, be­ing gov­erned by the KRG). This weak­en­ing of state se­cu­rity meant that coali­tion forces were un­able to ad­e­quately pro­vide se­cu­rity for diplo­matic mis­sions, NGO re­con­struc­tion ef­forts or hu­man­i­tar­ian aid mis­sions. It is ar­guably be­cause of this that many do­mes­tic se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions were out­sourced to pri­vate mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity com­pa­nies.

One of the key fac­tors in the emer­gence of pri­vate se­cu­rity in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is that many saw Kur­dis­tan as syn­ony­mous with the rest of Iraq, and sub­se­quently as­sumed that the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion was the same. Many of the com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the south of Iraq, where se­cu­rity was se­ri­ously lack­ing, saw Kur­dis­tan in the same light, and there­fore de­manded the same level of pro­tec­tion of­fered by the pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies in the south.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is on the rise thanks to huge in­vest­ment from Western com­pa­nies that are able to utilise the vast ar­eas of nat­u­ral re­sources such as oil and nat­u­ral gas. This Western in­volve­ment has been made pos­si­ble due to the large num­bers of PSCs pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate se­cu­rity pro­vi­sion for the en­ergy in­dus­try, and other in­vest­ment projects. Sim­i­larly, many do­mes­tic PSCs are filling the gaps in the se­cu­rity sec­tor by pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion for NGOs and the hu­man­i­tar­ian com­mu­nity, sup­ple­ment­ing se­cu­rity in the en­ergy sec­tor, pro­tect­ing the business com­mu­nity, and pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion for ho­tels, shop­ping malls, and gated com­mu­ni­ties. Pri­vate se­cu­rity is in­trin­sic to the pro­vi­sion of ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion to busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als in the re­gion, and PSCs are also be­ing used to train the KRG se­cu­rity forces in an at­tempt to re­form the state se­cu­rity sec­tor.

Whereas pri­vate se­cu­rity emerged as a re­sponse to the con­flict in the Iraq, it has proven in­valu­able to the re­con­struc­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, en­abling great lev­els of for­eign in­vest­ment. Pri­vate se­cu­rity is vi­tal to fur­ther­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, and has be­come an in­te­gral part of the fab­ric of the state. Pri­vate se­cu­rity is in­cred­i­bly wide­spread and op­er­ates through­out the re­gion in many roles. Be­cause of this, it is vi­tal for the pub­lic to trust and un­der­stand the na­ture of this newly de­vel­oped in­dus­try that sim­ply did not ex­ist prior to the 2003 Iraq War and the majority of Kur­dish cit­i­zens are un­aware of the ex­is­tence of the pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try. There­fore, it is clear that there must be con­sid­er­able de­vel­op­ments in the ar­eas of reg­u­la­tion and leg­is­la­tion as the ex­ist­ing KRG’s Min­istry of In­te­rior guide­lines for pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try in Kur­dis­tan sim­ply con­sist of ba­sic day-to-day pro­ce­dures. In­deed, the KRG should be applauded for tak­ing the ini­tia­tive and be­ing re­form-minded enough to al­low the pri­vate se­cu­rity in­dus­try de­velop into an im­por­tant player in Kur­dish se­cu­rity pro­vi­sion. Many other Mid­dle East­ern states hold the mo­nop­oly on se­cu­rity, and have de­vel­oped into to­tal­i­tar­ian po­lice states, some­thing which the KRG wishes to avoid. It must be re­mem­bered that Kur­dis­tan is sec­u­lar, and mov­ing strongly to­wards the Western model. It re­jects the strong anti-Western stance of oth­ers in the re­gion, and openly seeks al­liance with the UK, US, and other Western states. The in­volve­ment of both for­eign and do­mes­tic PSCs to bol­ster state se­cu­rity and carry out se­cu­rity sec­tor re­form must be viewed as a pos­i­tive step to­wards the de­vel­op­ment of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

* Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Stud­ies Univer­sity of Buck­ing­ham

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.