Thursday, August 28, 2008

Omar Taleb and Omar Hadi

Two Omars.

This is a look at who they were in relation to those at Ultra Services.

Omar Taleb

Writer Daniel Halpern refers to John Dawkins' body guard in his article for Rolling Stone, Death of a Contractor.

...Omar Taleb, an official in the Iraqi police and a former helicopter pilot in the Iraqi Air Force.
That's pretty much it.

Omar Hadi

Colin Freeman dedicates a chapter of his new book, Curse of the Al Dulaimi Hotel, to the journey into Iraq, appropriately called, The Road to Baghdad. Responding to an ad on a bulletin board at the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, Jordan, Freeman caught a ride with a British Iraqi named Omar Hadi. Hadi had hired a car and driver to make the trip into Iraq and was taking passengers.

Hadi left Iraq at age 5 and was described as speaking with a public school accent (posh in other words). He was accompanied by John Dawkins whom he was said to have met in Kazakhstan. Hadi was traveling with an elderly aunt and two Japanese filmmakers. The group traveled under the pretense they were working with Tokyo TV - which was how they got Jordanian press cards to enter Iraq.

Hadi stayed at the Al Majalis hotel and visited US bases with Dawkins. Freeman described Hadi as a "business associate" although it's unclear what that really means.


Around April/May 2003, Omar Hadi and Richard Galustian founded ISI Group of Iraq, a security company. From an article first published in the newsletter Gulf State News:
A few local firms have recruited US, British and other former special forces personnel to take on the international players at their own game. ISI Group of Iraq, created by expatriate Iraqis Omar Hadi and Richard Galustian offers former British special forces operatives and says it was the first Iraqi-owned company to be awarded a security contract by the US occupying authorities.
Omar Hadi was listed on various websites as the point of contact for ISI Group. Coincidentally, Richard Galustian was quoted in Death of a Contractor:
[Ryan] Manelick had been in Iraq for less than two months, but he was already plotting to break away from Dawkins and start his own company. He talked less about idealistic notions of helping Iraqis -- now he wanted to make the big money, and he began dreaming up grand, unrealistic schemes. "Ryan had all these plans," says Richard Galustian, a contractor who befriended Manelick in Iraq, "and he could talk about them forever -- he was a wonderful talker. But he had no idea how to make them work, or how far out of his league they were." Manelick wrote to his father about the two of them starting their own security outfit, assuring him that if they acted fast there was a $100 million contract for force protection and security training he was sure they could get. The plans were far removed from reality -- he wanted to build a company from nothing and compete with giant corporations like Bechtel or Halliburton in a matter of months -- but what was real was his intense desire to break away from Dawkins and start something new.
Richard Galustian's father originally owned a company Galustian Engineering Export Company (GEECO) in Tehran before moving to the UK in the 1950's. In 1974, the son was made CEO of his father's group of companies. In 2001, Richard Galustian created Gemini Consultants in the UAE. Galustian was at some point also connected to Pilgrims Group, a "security, risk management and service support company," said to provide security to journalists (ref).

Because of the gap in time between 1974 and 2001, I'm wondering if there were two Richard Galustians, a father and his son.

Additional Reading

Death of a Contractor: Greed and Murder in Iraq's Lawless Desert
pp. 70-74, 76-69 (print version includes photos)
By Dan Halpern, Rolling Stone, March 8, 2007, Issue 1021

Curse of the Al Dulaimi Hotel: And Other Half-truths from Baghdad
By Colin Freeman, Monday Books, July 2008

Profits questions and consolidation for private security firms lifted by the ‘Baghdad bubble’
By Gulf State News, reprinted at NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI), November 23, 2005

In Iraq, private contractors lighten load on U.S. troops
By Borzou Daragahi, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 28, 2003

Security Companies Doing Business in Iraq as of 2004
From the US State Department, archived at Global Security

The website for ISI Group of Iraq at can be seen at the Internet Archive*/
Commercial Services in Iraq

The ISI Group of Companies is comprised of ISI Commercial Services, ISI Security, ISI Logistics and ISI International. We started operation in Iraq late April 2003. We currently employ over 100 Iraqi staff.

1 comment:

Susie Dow said...

There is a bio for Omar Hadi at VQ Investment Group:

Our Team

Omar Hadi Dala-Ali:

Omar founded Iraq Services International (ISI) in 2003 which provided services in construction, security and life support, it was one of the first Iraqi security companies to operate countrywide within Iraq. With several international clients which included; Control Risks Group, Fluor Amec and Newsweek, ISI had over two hundred Iraqi staff and thirty expatriates working in security, life support and construction across the country. Omar also secured a bank license for Al Zamman Commercial Bank as well as winning one of only five private cement licenses to be issued from the central government. In 2006 Omar sold ISI to work for the new Iraqi Government within the National Security Council. His position in security and working for the forming government has provided him with an unmatched network of contacts within Iraq. Never relinquishing his ties to Iraq, Omar continued to consult for various entities in or with an interest in Iraq.

Omar has also worked for Argentum Development Company, a Washington based private equity company that specialized in backend hospitality services within the GCC. He created a JV with a London based architectural company; winning two coveted commissions from ADNEC and TDIC for landmark projects within Abu Dhabi including ‘The Abu Dhabi Souk’, one of the largest traditional Souks to be built in the GCC. Omar holds an MA from VITA in Traditional Islamic Architecture as well as a BA in Architecture and a Diploma in the Building Arts.