War is one of the chief causes of poverty.War can completely undermine a country s development prospects, destroying schools and hospitals and putting agricultural land out of use for years to come. Fully 80% of the world s 20 poorest countries have suffered a major war in the past 15 years, and the human legacy continues long after. Nine of the 10 countries with the world s highest child mortality rates have suffered from conflict in recent years. Yet not everyone is made poorer by war. Many companies thrive off conflict, whether through supplying military hardware to armed forces or running mercenary armies on behalf of combatant states. Others fuel conflict through their operations in war zones, such as oil companies in volatile countries like Colombia and Iraq,or through their continued trade in goods such as blood diamonds.Others profit from financing the war effort.

The following pages examine the rapid expansion of private military and security companies (PMSCs), particularly as a result of the occupation of Iraq. As well as providing information on the activities of these companies, the report urges all readers to call on the UK government to introduce legislation as a matter of urgency in order to bring PMSCs under democratic control.

Download it or read it here