Breakfast With Blackwater

Mia Farrow met Blackwater CEO Erik Prince for breakfast in New York.

ByABC News
December 7, 2008, 10:55 PM

August 20, 2008— -- Two unlikely allies met for breakfast last month in New York to discuss a possible collaboration: Mia Farrow, actress and passionate activist for Darfur refugees, and Erik Prince, founder and CEO of the government contractor, Blackwater Worldwide.

Farrow told ABC News that Blackwater, despite its controversial history and allegations of murdering civilians in Iraq, might be able to help the "hopelessly under-equipped" African Union forces deployed in Darfur with logistics and training.

"Blackwater has a much better idea of what an effective peace-keeping mission would look like than western governments," Farrow told ABC News from a refugee camp in near the Darfur border. Farrow said those governments have been unsuccessful in standing up to the Sudanese government and bringing peace to the region.

Experts disagree, saying there is no "quick fix" to the complex problems in Darfur, and that Blackwater is no exception.

"It's preposterous to think there is some magic silver bullet that takes the form of Blackwater or any other private military contractor to solve the problems in Darfur," said J. Steven Morrison, a Sudan expert for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sudan and its militias are blamed for most of the violence in the conflict with rebels in Darfur, the western province where the United Nations estimates up to 300,000 have been killed in the past five years.

Farrow said she acknowledged that the idea of working with Blackwater was "controversial," but said she was "curious about Blackwater's ideas" about to how to help the situation.

Though Farrow said that it is unlikely that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir would allow Blackwater into Darfur, she said the Darfur refugees are desperate and any help the company could provide would be welcome.

Prince, meanwhile, has reportedly said that with about 250 professionals, Blackwater could transform roughly one thousand of the African Union soldiers into an elite and highly mobile force.