Investors in the energy sector may remember the controversy that private military contractors ("PMC") brought to Middle Eastern operations during the 2000s. The story of Blackwater Worldwide, for example, takes its place among the group of contractors associated with abusing their positions. Today's analysis dissects at the influence exerted by certain informal Western individuals, and considers how they may act as strategic informal contacts for power players in the East.

Impact Points

  • Several sources have flagged up the opaque relationship that exists between Mohammed bin Zayed ("MbZ") and the founder of one of the U.S.'s most notorious private military companies. Although the men are known associates, very little is understood about the extent of their relationship.
  • Since the arrival into the UAE of this associate, the Emirates special forces division has undertaken several high-profile jobs that suggest this advisor has been instrumental in boosting the country's military capabilities.  
  • The informal 'Western advisor', as revealed through this case study, highlights the role that successful, and internationally well-connected, power players have carved out for themselves in countries with certain gaps of expertise.