Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Libya’s ordeal shows it’s time to police the mercenaries

The Guardian UK

Libyan civilians display a machine gun they claim to have taken from mercenaries during conflict in Baida. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-Zuma/Rex Features

The UN has spent decades trying to solve the mercenary problem in Africa, but the bloody trade continues unchecked

One of the most odious revelations about the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is his reliance on sub-Saharan African mercenaries as a loyal fighting force against the Libyan people. Yet given the long historical and contemporary use of mercenaries, the world must do more than feign surprise. This week’s revelations force us to consider whether or not we are really doing enough to control mercenaries and private security companies.

The prospect of a tyrant like Gaddafi using mercenaries to suppress dissent is frightening enough, but the fact that goodwill and good leadership are the only factors that currently prevent a well-trained UK-based private security firm from taking the job ought to be very worrying indeed.

Mercenaries are as old as war itself, and they have always been useful to rulers because they are attached to the regime that employs them, rather than to the people. Gaddafi’s reasons for relying on foreign fighters would make perfect sense to medieval kings or rulers of the Italian city-states in the 15th century. Historically, hiring foreigners as soldiers meant they did not have a stake in local disputes, and were not related to people they might have to suppress. Mercenary armies meant that subjects would not have to learn the arts of war themselves, arts they could use against their rulers.  Please read the entire article here

March 1, 2011 - Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Libya, United Nations | , , ,

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