According to a report from RT/United Kingdom a British national, an Australian national, and nationals from Colombia have been killed fighting for Saudi Arabia against Yemeni Houthis. So they were being paid by the richest Arab nation to fight the poorest Arab nation.
In this YouTube clip President Putin explains how mercenaries work and that they fight for whoever pays them the most. It starts at 2:00mins into the clip.
Mercenaries/Contractors have been around for a long time. The Ten Thousand were a bunch of Greek warriors contracted by Cyrus in 410 B.C. to overthrow King Artaxerxes II from the Persian throne. The 1979 movie Warriors is based upon The Ten Thousands retreat all the way back to Greece fighting for safe passage as they retreated. The Swiss Guard who protects the pope in the Vatican State today started out as mercenaries during the Renaissance. They began serving as the popes bodyguards in 1506. Lafayette Escadrille was a group of American pilots who flew fighters for France during World War 1 even though America was neutral at the time.
According to the Geneva Conventions 12th August 1949 article 47 a mercenary is described as follows:
Article 47 – Mercenaries:
1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.
In fact 4% of fighters in World War 1 were contractors with that number rising dramatically over the years to 59% in Afghanistan (2001- ) and 50% in Iraq (2003- ). As of March 31 2010, the United States deployed 207,000 contractors in the two war zones.
Many countries have them, Australia, Dominican Republic, Gibraltar, Peru, Russia, South Africa, UK and the USA. These contractors offer security, advisory and crisis services to name a few. They also offer training and advice to other countries armies. So I guess you could say the leaders from the countries who use them aren’t really lying when they say ‘we have no troops in Afghanistan’. They don’t say we are using a private contractor. The US is currently sending more ‘military advisors’ and ‘trainers’ to Iraq to train the Iraqi Army.
The US has many Private Military Companies though many of their employees are from non US countries and the Government using them cannot always be sure of professionalism. As Dr. TX. Hammes (ex US marine officer) states from his own experience:
“While high-end personal security details generally are well trained, less visible armed contractors display less quality. When suicide bombers began striking Iraqi armed forces recruiting stations, the contractor responsible for recruiting the Iraqi forces subcontracted for a security force. The contractor was promised former Ghurkhas. What showed up in Iraq a couple of weeks later were untrained, underequipped Nepalese villagers. Not only did these contractors provide inadequate security, the United States armed them and authorized them to use deadly force in its name”.
With the US using contractors from other countries this would also assist to keep their armies death rate low thus making them look as if they are achieving something.
“An estimated 6,800 contractors working for the US have been killed in the two war zones; the true number is likely much larger. This is the consequence of the fact that the majority of US contractors are the citizens of other countries, many of whom appear not to have had their deaths or injuries reported”.
The owner of Blackwater private military company Eric Prince, has said that his firm could defeat ISIS and solve the ‘boots on the ground’ issue. Here’s what he said:
“It’s a shame the [Obama] administration crushed my old business, because as a private organization, we could’ve solved the boots-on-the-ground issue, we could have had contracts from people that want to go there as contractors; you don’t have the argument of US active duty going back in there,” Prince said during the discussion with retired four-star Gen. James Conway. “[They could have] gone in there and done it, and be done, and not have a long, protracted political mess that I predict will ensue.”
The unprofessionalism as mentioned by Dr. TX. Hammes in his essay ‘Private Contractors in conflict zones: The good, the bad, and the strategic impact’ has been played out in the US courts with 4 ex Blackwater employees receiving sentences for their part in a senseless slaying of 14 unarmed innocent civilians in Iraq in 2007. One received a life sentence and the other 3 received 30 years each. The story suggests that from atop their Humvees in a traffic jam they opened fire on innocent motorists. I’ve heard of road rage but give a nutter a gun and license to kill and it gets serious. Seems another reason they are used is so no blame comes back to the US government and they can use private companies as scape goats:
"The government has suppressed, for seven years, evidence in its possession that is plainly exculpatory on the central disputed issue" in the case, defense lawyers argued in a court filing, according to AP. "Had they possessed these photos, defendants would have made them a central focus during opening statements as evidence of incoming fire. Defendants also would have used this evidence to cross-examine at least four witnesses who have already testified" and who are not liable for a recall to testify, as they have returned to Iraq.
The prosecutions filings stated;
“The crimes here were so horrendous – the massacre and maiming of innocents so heinous – that they outweigh any factors that the defendants may argue form a basis for leniency”.
The US government has distanced themselves from ‘Blackwater’ and now use others such as Academi, DynCorp International, and Triple Canopy. The US government has set aside $500 million for Academi and its entities.
After the Nisour Square killings and other scandals, the Obama administration eventually severed most ties with Blackwater - now known as Academi after several rebranding attempts. Yet despite criticism for the organization from the administration, more than half a billion dollars has been set aside for the firm and its associated entities since President Obama took office in 2009.
More unprofessionalism from DynCorp International when one of their employees ran a sex ring in the Balkans;
However, too often, it includes incidents of bullying, abuse, intimidation such as the DynCorp employee who ran a child sex ring in the Balkans...
Looking at Academi’s website it looks as though the unprofessionalism starts there with their statement that suggests they employ anyone from anywhere as long as you are ‘professional’.
ACADEMI is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants receive consideration without regard to race, age, ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin, disability or any other basis prohibited by law.
Looking at some examples does this suggest that they can employ a Wahhabi Muslim, which is house of Saud’s belief, and very similar to ISIS belief? One reason not to be Saudi is if you write an opinionated blog you could end up with 10 years jail and 1,000 lashes.
Or you can lose your head for being gay. Remembering that Saudi Arabia is a US ally. Imagine if you come from a country that is one of the US’s enemies. You could still join.
At the Maidan Square uprising in Kiev it is considered by many witnesses that Blackwater were there causing trouble during protests. Unidentified armed men with no insignia were seen walking around Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine. When local residents began shouting ‘Blackwater, Blackwater’ the men quickly fled the scene.
The newly nonelected president of Ukraine Petro Poreshenko is an Oligarch with business interests. He owns a television station and a chocolate business Roshen. Could he have paid mercenaries to oust the anti US government with the blessing of the US and its corporations?
The US has promised $500 million to train what they call ‘moderate’ rebels to fight the Syrian government in Syria and IS in Iraq. So who are these moderates? Are they Al Qaeda who wants to oust the Syrian government as well?
The moderates the US use are vetted to ensure they don’t belong to a terrorist organisation. The US has vetted 3,750 as of 7th May 2015 with another 400 under review.
The US’s vetting procedure must be lacking something, as so far up to 18th January 2015 3,000 trained ‘moderate’ rebels have been reported as defecting to IS. With this defection they bring weapons, cash, equipment and knowledge through training. The US keeps training more and more possibly in the hope they will stay.
With the US training more and more ‘moderates’ who may defect to IS it makes one wonder if they actually want to stop IS especially after the ex Blackwater owner Eric Prince saying that they could have “effectively fought Islamic State”.
The Islamic gas pipeline starts in Iran, goes through Iraq and into Syria. The plan has been put on hold due to the Syrian war. This pipeline would be a competitor to the Nabucco pipeline and the Qatar-Turkey pipeline. Syria refused the Qatar pipeline plan stating "to protect the interests of [its] Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas."
The other problem Iran and Syria have in creating this pipeline without the US is the financial sanctions the two countries have on them.
It seems the US government are benefiting from Islamic States actions in Syria:
Jihadists from the Islamic State group have blown up a pipeline feeding natural gas from eastern Syria to the suburbs of the capital Damascus."This pipeline was used to carry gas into the suburbs of Damascus and Homs to generate electricity and provide heating in individual homes," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman."Any hit to the regime's gas supply is important, because its resources are very low," Abdel Rahman said.
With privatisation of countries assets becoming popular there are still pros and cons associated with private companies. Private companies are there to make money and nothing else. Tejvan Pettinger suggests that improved efficiency is one advantage through the governments saving of employment and spending costs. Privatisation can also increase competition which is a bit scary when it comes to Private Military Companies. A disadvantage which is worrying is the fact that the public interest is put well behind profit. A Private Military Company hires people who are willing to kill and be killed for payment regardless who the opposition is.
In this current world of perpetual war will they continue to grow or be a dying business? I’ll put my money on the former.