Myths about mercenaries and private security companies versus jihadists
Tartar reports keep cropping up about mercenaries and private security companies that overdramatize their real importance in wars. The mercenaries from the Middle Ages to Sir Francis Drake are often cited as historical examples. Or the 200,000 men strong private army of the East Asia Company (EAC) , which was allowed to exist until it plunged the neoliberal British Empire into a deep economic crisis and was therefore nationalized. Mercenaries are not a new phenomenon, but rather the many supposedly private security companies that have emerged since the 1990s. Be it Military Professional Resources Inc, (MPRI), BDM, Executive Outcomes (EO), Vinell, SAIC, Blackwater or now Wagner in Russia. But they are only auxiliary troops and not decisive for the war, i.e. rather supportive of the war, moreover, some have shifted more towards organizing building and personal protection and military consulting for states as well as multinational corporations and also mostly not carrying out any operative or decisive war acts.
That they are closely intertwined with high representatives and ex-representatives from politics, business, the military and secret services, especially since BDM has or has the Carlyle Group consisting of ex-Foreign Secretary James Baker, and ex-Defense Minister Carlucci or others on their boards as SAIC had with ex-defense ministers Willam Perry and Melvin Laird as well as ex-CIA chiefs Deutsch and Robert Gates goes without saying, but says nothing about the importance of these mercenary and security companies. The MPRI denies to this day that it organized the Krajina offensive of the Croatian army and the mass displacement and ethnic cleansing of the Serbian civilian population. With EO this is clearer, since the head of the troops, a former military and secret service agent of apartheid South Africa, „liberated“ the diamond fields of Sierra Leone from „rebels“ on behalf of the South African Anglo-American Company and conquered them with his own soldiers and air force 18 days. But nowadays these stories have become rare in the media and at mostly Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan still attracts attention in films and books. The last documented mission of private armies and mercenaries was in Afghanistan in the 2010s for a short time, when the Obama administration switched its strategy from conventional warfare to drone war and the hiring of private armies and mercenaries which made up the number of 100 000 in 2011. However even if Obama thought that he could fight the war to a successful end without any loss of conventional armies, it was a total failure. After Obama deployed these private armies and mercaneries they were withdrawn immediately..
But it is more of an entertainment factor for the media or for people who see the craft of war become independent and want to see it under total state control. The chief pioneer of such international privatization of the military, Thomas Barnett, who wanted the complete privatization of the US military as a service provider for multinational corporations, especially globalized and with Asian and European armies, to serve the noble goal of globalization and the elimination of disconnected gap states never got through with his proposals and the Bush Jr. administration and the Pentagon just straight fired him from the Pentagon. No, back to the private armies of the East Asian Companies (200,000 )and back to Sir Francis Drake no one wants that. So that’s not even a main trend to speak of.
The advantage of mercenaries and private security companies is that they can be used by the state through its secret services, but that states can diplomatically distance themselves from them at any time, just like Putin with his Green Men or Wagner. Especially since during the Cold War you could always read the American mercenary magazine „Soldier of Fortune“ under the legendary US chief mercenary leader Robert „Bob“ Brown. One always knew exactly which „secret“ wars the US government was waging, from Afghanistan to Burma to Angola, via its CIA and its mercenaries. Mercenaries only become a problem when, like the Reichswehr agent Hitler or Osama Bin Laden, if they initiate their own political movements and act against their former sponsors such as the Frankenstein monster. Otherwise not, the they are just willing and well-paid assistants.
The fact that Erdogan is now also recruiting „mercenaries“ for his neo-Ottoman empire is not surprising – now allegedly 4,000 Syrian fighters also went to Azerbaijan, like Russia with Wagner and some with Erdogan to Libya, especially since Erdogan still sends the Turkish military into the war and intervenes directly by conventional forces. But Erdogan`s so-called „mercenaries“ are Islamist militias who fight not for money, but for a religious God state, the Ummah and a neo-Ottoman Empire, especially since Erdogan tries to merge all these various Islamist murder militias of the Syrian war from the Muslim Brotherhood to Jayesh el Islam or Jayesh el Fatah and whatever they are called to a joint unit, as a new Syrian National Army, which executes the services of Istanbul. Membership estimates range from 17,000 to 100,000 fighters who cannot even be called „mercenaries“, even if they get their money from Erdogan and Katar.
To set up a mercenary company or a private security company, you always need a license or silent consent from a state. Nevertheless, most Western mercenaries and private companies are mainly motivated because of economic and opportunistic interests and not of ideological fanatism, they are not new crusaders like the motivation of Erdogan’s and Qatar’s „mercenaries“ is just ideological and also their will to fight for a God state, the Ummah and possibly a neo-Ottoman Empire. These are not „mercenaries“, just jihadist.