New mercenaries, economic and political benefits

How the Ukrainian War Theater exposes the disturbing proliferation of civilian militias.

Who are these new mercenaries? © Belga Image

Regularly, the army of the 21st century? After the Cold War, the wind of privatization urged many countries to rationalize their defense capabilities. Therefore, the landing of a new powerful weapon in the conflict zone. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and sub-Saharan Africa … they are called private military companies (PMCs). The best known are Wagner of Russia, who is active in Ukraine, or Blackwater of the United States (renamed to the Academy). France uses Secopex, the UK uses Aegis Defense Services Ltd, and Ukraine uses the Omega Consulting Group. Just a mercenary?

“”These civilian soldiers are bound by contracts with companies with legal status, but mercenaries are directly employed by the government and even rebel groups.“Amandine Dusoulier, author of the Brussels-based Research and Information Group for Peace and Security (GRIP) PMC research, explains. What kind of industry is it? “”These are commercial companies that provide military and security services. They have an intermediary between the military and governments or businesses that demand their services. They hire military-trained people and their service offerings cover a wide range of activities, including participation in combat missions, protection of mining sites, and training of local troops and guards.Presidential institution“The researchers explain.

$ 1,000 per day

Especially formidable weapons. First, these civilian militias are more trained and often (much) more paid than regular soldiers. According to the International Student Observatory (OERI), they can receive up to $ 1,000 per day. “”This type of attractive salary partially explains the high application rates at these companies.“, Comment on the association. Especially in low-income countries such as Colombia and El Salvador, the PMC in the United States, in particular, poachs low-wage soldiers from the public army very easily. So, pointing back to the French Observatory, the SMP Triple Canopy (Illinois) provides Salary $ 1,700 per month and life insurance to Salvador soldiers. This is 5-6 times the average income of this Latin American country. Nonetheless, these new mercenaries are more profitable and have astronomical structural costs than regular troops.

Therefore, these militias are economically and politically inexpensive. “”Losses suffered by PMC employees do not have as much public impact as the death of a soldierAdvances NGO Transparency International, quoted by the German media Deutsche Welle. A more efficient and cheaper mercenary who is not ashamed of death? And best of all, the government can send them to do dirty work for them. According to Grip, SMP is “Plausible denial” When “Lack of evidenceFor the benefit of the sponsoring country. What to avoid losing public support. Even though these companies are often accused of prolonging disputes in order to increase their profits.

Kremlin plays Wagner

How many SMPs are active on the planet? Little information is leaked about them. “”One of the few data available to us is from the 2017 Pentagon Report, which has already reported on 21 American private security companies in the Sahel.I will explain about the grip. According to Transparency International, recent interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have involved more than 250,000 employees of PMC and private security companies. What room do they have for the missions entrusted to them by their employers? It’s even more ambiguous. Like the Wagner Group, which has existed in Ukraine for several years. A militia under the command of former Russian military intelligence officer (GRU) Dmitry Utkin and funded by Jefgeni Prigogine of the oligarch, Vladimir Putin’s best friend.

Does Moscow have 100% control of Wagner? “”Some argue that the Kremlin will be an informal tool for Russia’s foreign policy to develop as it pleases according to its interests., Observe Amandine Dusoulier. However, Russian criminal law imposes three to seven years in prison on mercenaries … “Therefore, these Russian SMPs are registered abroad and their employees are constantly under threat of legal action. Therefore, Wagner is registered in Argentina. The relationship between this group and Moscow remains unclear, but some clues urge us to look at aspects of the Russian state. According to some sources, the group will certainly have a training camp in the village of Morkino (North Caucasus). This will be the same camp that hosts the GRU 10th Special Forces Brigade. However, it turned out to be very difficult to establish a direct link between Wagner’s actions and the Kremlin.

How to wash your hands from the abuse committed by these SMPs? In Iraq, not only the American private military company Blackwater, but also CACI and L-3 Services are involved in the slaughter and torture. The same is true for Russia’s PMC in Syria and the Central African Republic. Nonetheless, these abuses have opened up a debate about the legal liability of these militias and their customers in the state. Therefore, several initiatives have emerged aimed at regulating and managing PMCs. Concerned about the explosion of these civilian militias, it is inadequate for the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries to establish an international and binding regulatory framework.