The term “mercenaries” has a negative connotation in the Arab world An individual mercenary is a person who performs illegal services for the owner of money and power to obtain a financial return. This is in the general definition, but in the definition adopted in the press and media, mercenaries are a group of well-trained or untrained fighters gathered from poor countries, and they fight for the benefit of those who pay them more, such as they are not concerned with the causes and purposes of the war or the beliefs of the fighters in it. They make work of their “mercenaries”, who fight for money. Mercenaries are employed by governments to perform a number of duties that were previously the functions of armies, such as providing security for diplomats and heads of state, and they can be used to enforce peace settlements and train emerging armies. Of course, the social and media meanings do not indicate the linguistic meaning of the word, which means that a mercenary is a person who seeks food, and is food from God, as it is written in the Holy Qur’an: “Eat of the good things that We have provided for you ”or the general saying“ maintenance is on God, ”and a mercenary is a person who obtains His livelihood in exchange for work he performs or obtains from wealthy owners who help the poor and needy.
Mercenaries instead of organized armies
However, sweeping and well-armed mercenaries have become a fait accompli in our time, and it is no longer a violation of the rules of war or international agreements that governing the rules of war. Countries rather announce their warring mercenaries in different countries. Turkey, for example, does not hide at all the presence of Syrians fighting for it in Libya, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has not slowed down to call in mercenaries and welcome those willing to fight with the Russian army in Ukraine, just as the mercenaries who fought alongside him. in Syria. The Iranians also do not hesitate to say that their mercenaries, under the slogan of “carrying out the revolution”, handed them over to four Arab capitals: Sana’a, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, and this is what Iranian officials in high positions always confessed. As for the United States, it is no different from others in the issue of the mercenaries it has used in Iraq and Afghanistan, except that its mercenaries are fighters who work in large, important, well-known and well-organized companies, and that most of his fighters and commanders were in the U.S. Army and served in it, from soldiers to the highest ranks of officers.
Nicholas K. Gvosdev says in his investigation into mercenaries in Iraq that it was long ago revealed that many fighters are not patriots, volunteers who fight for freedom for Iraqis, but are paid specialists and are called “private military contractors”, or more clearly. “mercenaries”.
Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution estimates that “private contractors now form the second largest military unit in Iraq, after the (official) US military force.” This is despite the fact that many of these organizations are notorious for what they do outside the framework of the rules of war laid down in international alliances. History in any case clearly indicates that mercenaries were not an exception to armies, we think. On the contrary, if war is the sport of kings, then the mercenaries immortalized by history were the professional athletes of their time. The rise of massive armies filled with low-paid conscripts eliminated the need for governments to hire professional soldiers.
According to Gvosdev, “mercenaries have been employed for most of the twentieth century, either by ambitious tyrants or by multinational corporations.”
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Defense Systems Limited is a British-based mercenary company that has contracts with oil executives such as Texaco and Chevron to protect its assets and infrastructure in volatile locations such as Angola or Nigeria. In the post-nation state era, or in a world that is no longer witnessing major wars but rather uprisings within states, mercenaries have filled the gap in the national armies that states are trying to preserve as much as possible, especially in very erratic places. Mercenaries who do not care about the ideological causes of war can do the work of soldiers fully, for a wage that rises or rises a lot, according to the type of fighters and the operations in which they are involved. There are financial temptations for police officers, retired army leaders or well-trained soldiers, who often give them what they receive from state salaries, so that they automatically go to work in private companies. In case of their death no one will mourn over them, and the fall of soldiers of the Do-and-Loose army will not be announced, which will shake its image before public opinion.
For example, during the war in Sierra Leone, the government hired the South African company Executive Outcomes in 1995 to defeat Revolutionary United Front fighters notorious for amputating the arms of their prisoners. But when they executed their contract in 1997, the mercenaries left Sierra Leone, and 4 months later the government was overthrown there. Most companies operate with little government oversight and almost no responsibility for the behavior of their employees.
And in the world of mercenaries, there are private military contractors and cheap mercenaries. Private military contractors can fight battles such as fighting terrorist groups or going after drug dealers around the world, and they can even protect the drug companies themselves if they pay more than their enemies. The mercenaries’ first and last loyalty to the company and then to the financier they hire, until the end of their contracts. The administration of George W. Bush used private military companies to a large extent during the invasion of Iraq. The US military contractor company “Blackwater” has drawn international criticism for its crimes in Iraq after its employees opened fire on a crowded street in Baghdad, killing 17 people.
International reports that can be obtained on the internet indicate that mercenaries are present in all conflicts and in all countries and in various forms, once as fighting recruits and once to protect personalities, rich people and oligarchs who enrich themselves from the corruption of the administration, and once to protect strategic centers, such as oil resources.
Do security companies undermine the authority of the state?
In his book “Modern Mercenaries”, John McFate, who was a former mercenary, says that the war trade has changed from a multi-million dollar investment to a multi-billion dollar market. For example, in fiscal 2017, the Pentagon gave $ 320 billion to federal contracts, of which 71 percent were to private military companies. This is a very large amount in the world of armed companies, which almost dominates the official armies. Even the United Nations uses private military companies in some of its work, including the “Multinational Security Services” company, and Israel has hired the same group to provide security in Palestine.
But the expansion of this use of mercenaries in all their forms has contributed to undermining the security systems within states, as it can, by definition of authority within the state, monopolize the carrying of weapons, and that is what gives it the status of authority, and when it becomes the work to be done by the official and governmental military and security elements ordered from the Management by a set of laws, in the hands of private companies and mercenaries who can suddenly turn on their employer, the political and security management of the authority will be exposed to a permanent security risk.
“PMCs and their employees tend to fall into legal loopholes around the sharp distinction between civilian and armed,” Singer of the Brookings Institution wrote. This, he added, makes it difficult to determine “how, when, where and which authorities are responsible for the investigation, prosecution and punishment of such crimes”, unlike military personnel who are liable under their own military legislation.
In the case of the killing in Nour Square in Baghdad by Blackwater agents, Singer notes that the legal situation surrounding the contractor’s armed men was very ambiguous, as they were not held accountable before Iraqi law due to the remaining mandate of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was under the administration of US Commissioner Bremer, which was dissolved two years ago, but its powers are still in place. Thus, the accused carried out the alleged punishment. “
Professor Sean McFate of Georgetown University and author of The New Rules of War said: “Mercenaries are more powerful than experts realize. PMCs like the Wagner group are more like heavily armed multinational corporations than the U.S. Marines. Their employees are recruited from different countries. Profitability Is everything.