Some security consultants believe that Mr. The contract includes a one-paragraph legal and ethics policy noting that R2 should institute accountability and disciplinary procedures. International laws governing private armies and mercenaries are murky, but would the Americans overseeing the training of a foreign army on foreign soil be breaking United States law? Susan Kovarovics, an international trade lawyer who advises companies about export controls, said that because Reflex Responses was an Emirati company it might not need State Department authorization for its activities.
But she said that any Americans working on the project might run legal risks if they did not get government approval to participate in training the foreign troops. Basic operational issues, too, were not addressed, the former employees said. What if civilians were killed during an operation? And could a Latin American commando force deployed in the Middle East really be kept a secret? Imported Soldiers. The first waves of mercenaries began arriving last summer. His assignment included manual labor at the expanding complex, he said.
Other former employees said the troops — outfitted in Emirati military uniforms — were split into companies to work on basic infantry maneuvers, learn navigation skills and practice sniper training. But the secrecy of the project has sometimes created a prisonlike environment. Other recruits admitted to never having fired a weapon. Rethinking Roles.
As a result, the veteran American and foreign commandos training the battalion have had to rethink their roles.
Making matters worse, the recruitment pipeline began drying up. Former employees said that Thor struggled to sign up, and keep, enough men on the ground. Chambers, who helped develop the project, left after several months. A handful of other top executives, some of them former Blackwater employees, have been hired, then fired within weeks. To bolster the force, R2 recruited a platoon of South African mercenaries, including some veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African company notorious for suppressing rebellions against African strongmen in the s. They would secure the situation before quietly handing over control to Emirati troops.
But by last November, the battalion was officially behind schedule. Emirati military officials had promised that if this first battalion was a success, they would pay for an entire brigade of several thousand men. The new contracts would be worth billions, and would help with Mr. But before moving ahead, U. That has yet to happen. So far, the Latin American troops have been taken off the base only to shop and for occasional entertainment.
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On a recent spring night though, after months stationed in the desert, they boarded an unmarked bus and were driven to hotels in central Dubai, a former employee said. There, some R2 executives had arranged for them to spend the evening with prostitutes.
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An article on Sunday about the creation of a mercenary battalion in the United Arab Emirates misstated the past work of Executive Outcomes, a former South African mercenary firm whose veterans have been recruited for the new battalion. Executive Outcomes was hired by several African governments during the s to put down rebellions and protect oil and diamond reserves; it did not stage coup attempts. Some former Executive Outcomes employees participated in a coup attempt against the government of Equatorial Guinea, several years after the company itself shut down.
An article on May 15 about efforts to build a battalion of foreign mercenary troops in the United Arab Emirates referred imprecisely to the role played by Erik Prince, the founder of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide. He worked to oversee the effort and recruit troops. But Mr. Prince does not run or own the company Reflex Responses, which has a contract with the government of the U. An article on May 16 repeated the error.
Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. Mother Nature and ancient civilizations together have crafted a magical, inspiring place like no other. While other global destinations march toward homogenization, Nubia inches along on its own timeless path. This will be an adventure like no other. Read More…. From here we drive across the magical eastern desert on our way to the city of Karima, the eastern desert, once known as an area of gold mines and until nowadays, remains of Paleolithic, Neolithic sites scattered in remote areas away from our road, enjoy the very charm and a touch of this unique dessert.
We then follow our traditional road, visiting all the archaeological sites, towns, crossing Bayoda deserts on our return to Khartoum.
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Latest Posts. Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe November 19, Destination Kerma. It has been claimed that this stone circle, which predates Stonehenge by 1, years, is the earliest known astronomically aligned structure.
The Sahara Desert has not always existed. As the climate changed over millions of years, the borders of the sands have shifted. Just as scientists can search for ancient evidence of water on Mars , so have they turned their attention to the history of the Sahara.
The remains of the river in Mauritania were noticed when an undersea canyon off the coast was discovered that had been carved by the river. River sediments also turned up in unexpected places. The final confirmation of the presence of a lost river was made by satellite. Over geological time, what was once an ocean has become one of the driest places on Earth.
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Known as Whale Valley, it is one of the best, if unlikely, sites for discovering whale fossils. When the ancestors of modern whales died in the sea 37 million years ago, their bodies were covered with sediment. As the crust of the Earth rose, their former home was turned to land. Today, the meter-long 50 ft skeletons are being studied by paleontologists, as are the creatures they shared the sea with. Beside the whale bones, the teeth of large and vicious sharks have been found. The seas have always been home to monsters. Some million years ago, a 9-meter-long 30 ft crocodile , Machimosaurus rex , called what is now the Sahara Desert its home.
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The area where M. There, it used its huge head, incredible bite strength, and short, brutal teeth to crack the shells of ocean turtles and snatch fish. Without plants and soil getting between them and the rocks beneath, scientists are often able to simply stroll through eroding areas to pick up amazing findings. Continuing the theme of nautical discoveries made in a desert, Spinosaurus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered. Living 95 million years ago, Spinosaurus aka Spinosaurus aegyptiacus stood around 7 meters 23 ft tall and measured 16 meters 52 ft long, exceeding the better-known T.
Spinosaurus looked, and lived, nothing like its better-known rival. Spinosaurus had a huge sail of bones sticking up from its back and a number of other adaptations that have baffled scientists. Now, it is thought that Spinosaurus is the only known truly semiaquatic dinosaur.
Since the bones of the originally discovered Spinosaurus were destroyed in World War II, it was not until another set of fossils were discovered in Morocco that researchers were really able to study Spinosaurus. Among the evidence pointing to Spinosaurus living partly in the water are its long, flat feet for paddling, as well as the nostrils placed high on its snout to allow it to breathe even when mostly submerged.
Somewhere on the journey, both the aircraft and its young pilot disappeared.
The aircraft was mostly intact, having never been disturbed, and there was still evidence of a parachute having been used to create a shelter. Some felt the aircraft should have remained where it was as a memorial to its young pilot.