Between Iraq And A Hard Place

Iraq is currently engulfed in a bloody civil war between Government forces and Islamist militants. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled their homes and the humanitarian crisis is going from bad to worse. There appears to be no end in sight to the violence and certainly no easy answers. Prior to this recent crisis Priavo Security Operatives were members of a multi-national Hostile Environment Team assigned to a private security mission in Iraq, one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Their task was to safely escort a group of senior U.S. military officials and civilian engineers to inspect various sites throughout the country. Our Close Protection Operatives in this case were all former British Special Forces members with extensive combat experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hostile zones across the world. Having had ” Boots-on-the-Ground” service in these countries proved invaluable on this operation.

Many of the clients were from a non-military background, scientists, doctors, academics, who were older and not in the best physical condition to endure the Iraqi desert temperatures which can top 50 degrees. This meant extra medical expertise was always at hand to ensure the safety of the group. In addition to escorting the clients around each individual site, our operatives had to supervise the transits between these sites which proved a major challenge. The majority of attacks on identified targets happen en-route.

Iraq has the most dangerous roads in the world. These include the feared Route Irish.

This is the 12 kilometer highway linking the International Zone, the heavily fortified central area of Bagdhad, to the city’s airport. For years it has been a killing field.

Politicians, foreign aide workers, soldiers, civilians and members of the media have all met their end on this stretch of road.  At any time of the day or night there is a constant threat from improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.) explosively formed penetrators ( E.F.P. ) vehicle born suicide devices (V.B.I.D ) and a flurry of drive-by shootings.

To mitigate these dangers, our operatives were in daily communication with the local intelligence services and the U.S. military intelligence. Contingency planning is essential under these circumstances; alternating routes, avoiding set patterns and having excellent situational awareness and reactive skills is crucial.

It’s impossible to over state the importance of military experience when it comes to operations of this nature in war-torn countries. Our private security operatives have that experience and they have it at the highest levels. As a result this assignment was successfully completed without any serious incidents or potential threats materializing.