Peacekeeping: September 23, 2003

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There are several different types of security forces at work in Iraq. The obvious ones are the coalition armed forces and the newly reformed Iraqi police. But there are also thousands of foreigners hired to provide security for fixed, non-military, locations. These men are hired through security companies and are mostly former military men with experienced in peacekeeping. For example, over 400 former Fiji soldiers were hired for this duty. The Fijians have long been noted as fearless and disciplined soldiers. As peacekeepers, they have a reputation for being immune to intimidation, and being will and able to respond to force with force. The Iraqi assignment had no trouble attracting suitable volunteers. There are currently some 15,000 former Fiji soldiers with peacekeeping experience. The Iraqi job pays from $1,300 a month for the lowest ranking troops to $2,400 a month for the Fiji commander of the contingent. There is high unemployment in Fiji, and the peacekeeping has become a major source of income. Most of the peacekeeping duty was during 25 years of service in Lebanon, on the Israeli border. During that, 35 Fiji soldiers were killed. There is also a lot of resentment at the deal the Fiji had with the UN, where the Fiji army got the payments for peacekeeping services, took a cut and passed on the rest to the peacekeepers. This is a common problem with low paid peacekeepers from Third World countries.

 


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