Case Studies


Canine security deterrent

Following the US invasion of Iraq a “ring of steel” was set up around the main seat of government – the US led Coalition Government – in Baghdad. This, the so called “green zone” area, contained many of the government buildings spread over 10 square kilometers in the city centre, contained thousands of local residents, and thousands more government workers and contractors who had to commute. Several entrance points were created, which became choke points and natural places for dissident attacks.

Proposition: Alfagates proposed that the US Department of Defense adopted canine security to augment and speed up the hand searching of vehicles and personnel entering the zone as a means of improving safety and productivity.

Solution: This was adopted to great effect, with a corresponding reduction in attacks to the extent that no personnel were injured at the chokepoints staffed by canine security from that point onwards.

Legacy: Explosive Detection Dogs have become an integrated component of physical security solutions, globally.


Weatherford had been awarded two contracts to drill oil wells for Gulf Keystone Petroleum and Korean National Oil Company in Kurdistan but had no infrastructure in country. The territories in which they were to drill were mountainous, with little road infrastructure, and only basic local services and support. Alfagates had recently formed a joint venture with Pentagon Freight Services which enabled it to arrange the importation of all goods, organise convoys of some 200 articulated and specialist handling vehicles per oil rig (initially 3 rigs) having first obtained approval from the authorities for oversized vehicles, the support of local communities for interim logistics, labour, and communications. Alfagates surveyed the public roads, managed street repairs, and coordinated road widening and telegraph wire raising. Alfagates also surveyed and was architect for new mountain and flood plain access road construction. Concurrently, Alfagates’ public and community relations programmes resulted in successful project completion.

Schlumberger Logistics Base

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company, needed a logistics base in Erbil, Kurdistan. Their requirement was to lease a fully developed site which included covered warehouses, hard standing outside, radioactive bunkers, travelling cranes, secure perimeter and lighting suitable for 24/7 operations. Alfagates adopted a BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) model, which was the start of a sensitive series of negotiations with local landlords and the Government to ensure that Schlumberger would be protected during their tenure, and permitted to import and store restricted and hazardous items. This was successful and subsequently the base expanded from an initial 50,000 sqm to over 120,000 sqm.


We realised that there was insufficient education about demining and a lack of actual mine clearance operations being undertaken in Iraq. Anyone looking at a map of Iraq’s minefields and remnants of war would be astonished that it was possible to move around, almost anywhere, but especially near international and domestic borders. There was a dangerous shortage of humanitarian deminers in Iraq.

Action taken: We supplied demining trainers and a MDD (Mine Detection Dog) kennel master to Iraq’s national demining NGO, IMCO (Iraq Mine and UXO Clearance Organization), without charge.

Value created: IMCO gained the credentials to manage demining programmes and were awarded contracts, parts of some of which were subcontracted to commercial contractors such as our demining business, Babylon Gold. This proved to be a virtuous circle and resulted in our demining operations being promoted within various US Government agencies and throughout RONCO Consulting Corporation, which held the overarching US Government’s Department of State contract in Iraq.

Prime Natural Resources

Prime Natural Resources was planning to drill a well in territory being disputed between Kurd, Arab and Turkmen. Its private security company (a political alliance of former US Navy SEALs and a local family) was effectively barred from access by the threat of attack. Prime’s staff and potential suppliers were unable to visit the site without security so their project was regressing.

Action taken: Alfagates negotiated with the local political leaders and Government officers, gained concessions for Prime, created non-contentious supply routes for suppliers and provided virtual security for all suppliers. The drilling project was able to be undertaken.

Specialist services for challenging environments

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