Private military companies : peace or profit? : A comparative analysis of private military involvement in Africa and the Middle East

Steenekamp, Cindy Lee (2006-12)

Thesis (MPhil) -- University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Private Military Company (PMC) is a key phenomenon of the post-Cold War era, in which the erosion of state authority, the trend towards privatisation, the downsizing of the world's armed forces, and the insecurities created by a world economy not only in crisis, but also characterized by the commodity boom, all come together. The privatisation of security and even military functions has now become part of market-driven economics through outsourcing those functions to civilians as well as through contracting those functions to foreign companies. As a result, private military companies are mushrooming in weak states that are rich in natural resources, predominantly in Africa and the Middle East. This global growth of private military companies, however, creates a dilemma for those who wish to ban them. Under international" law, such as those prescribed by the United Nations and the African Union, the use of mercenaries is expressly prohibited, but without visible effect. National legislation focused on the regulation of these companies does exist within the countries from which most private military companies stem, namely South Africa, Great Britain and the United States, however, most legal restrictions are largely confined to breaking arms-export laws, whilst the issue of extra-territoriality .continues to plague policy-makers. The issue centres itself upon proper regulation. In truth, private military companies today, which are only accountable to their shareholders as opposed to electorates, are convenient mechanisms utilised to serve the objectives of the post-9/11 Bush/Blair alliance and remain illegal internationally as they have no rights or obligations and find themselves outside the Geneva Conventions and the International Criminal Court. In a critical examination of the general privatisation of public security, it is useful to focus particularly on cases in Africa (Sierra Leone) and the Middle East (Iraq) as they best illustrate the post-Cold War debate regarding the strategic impact of private military companies in intrastate conflicts. The primary focus of this study is therefore a comparative analysis of private military involvement in Africa and the Middle East in order to determine whether these new warring entities, which include terrorists, mercenaries, guerrillas, warlords, non-state militias and, most importantly, private military companies, may or may not represent a serious threat to international security, as one particular issue centres upon whether they represent more efficient and cheaper models for peacemaking. This is required in order to understand the current contextual trends that seemingly allow private military involvement in Iraq, as legitimate role players of the Coalition of the Willing, to be more palatable than that of their counterparts in Africa, who since 1992, claim only to act once contracted legally by an elected government in their fight against rebel forces and insurgents. As the issue is one of valuable resources, their services can be afforded.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Private-militere maatskappye (PMM) is 'n sleutel fenomeen van die post-Koue Oorlog era, 'n era wat gekenmerk word deur die erosie van staatsgesag, neigings tot privatisering, die afskaling van gewapende magte, en onsekerhede wat geskep word deur 'n wereld-ekonomie wat nie net in krisis is nie, maar wat ook gekenmerk word deur 'n kommoditeitsoplewing. Die privatisering van sekuriteit, en selfs militere funksies, is nou deel van die mark-gedrewe ekonomie deurdat daardie funksies uitgekontrakteer word aan burgerlikes, sowel as aan buitelandse maatskappye. Die gevolg hiervan is dat PMM op grootskaal voorkom, hoofsaaklik in Afrika en die Midde-Ooste, wat talle swak state het, maar wat ryk aan natuurlike hulpbronne is. Die globale ontwikkeling van hierdie PMM skep egter 'n dilemma vir diegene wat hierdie maatskappye wil verban. Die intemasionale reg, soos voorgeskryf deur die Konvesies van die Verenigde Nasies en die Afrika-Unie, verbied eksplisiet die gebruik van huursoldate, maar sonder effek. Nasionale wetgewing wat gefokus is op die regulasie van hierdie maatskappye bestaan wel in die lande waar die meeste van hierdie maatskappye afkomstig is, naamlik in Suid-Afrika, Groot Brittanje en die Verenigde State van Amerika. Die meeste wetgewende beperkings is egter van toepassing op die verbreking van wette wat met die uitvoer van wapens verband hou. Die kwessie van ekstra-territorialiteit is egter steeds 'n bekommemis vir beleidsmakers, met die hoofkwessie wat blyk om voldoende regulasie te wees vir aktiwiteite buite landsgrense. In die werklikheid is privaat- militere maatskappye, wat slegs verantwoordbaar is aan hul aandeelhouers, in plaas van verkose politici, huidiglik gerieflike meganismes wat gebruik word om die doelwitte van die post- 9/11 Bush/Blair alliansie te bereik. Hierdie maatskappye bly egter steeds intemasionaal onwettig, aangesien hulle geen regte of verpligtinge het nie, en hulself buite die strekking van die Geneefse Konvensie en Intemasionale Kriminele Hofvind. In 'n kritiese bestudering van die algemene privatisering van openbare sekuriteit, is dit nuttig om spesifiek te fokus op gevalle in Afrika (Sierra-Leone) en die Midde-Ooste (Irak), aangesien hulle die post- Koue Oorlog debat met betrekking tot die strategiese impak van privaat- militere maatskappye binne intra-staat konflik die beste illustreer. Die primere fokus van hierdie studie is dus 'n vergelykende analise van privaat- militere betrokkenheid in Afrika en die Midde-Ooste ten einde te bepaal of hierdie nuwe strydende entiteite, wat terroriste, huursoldate, guerrillas, krygshere, nie-staat milisies, en mees belangrik, privaat militere maatskappye insluit, 'n emstige bedreiging vir intemasionale sekuriteit inhou, aangesien 'n sentrale kwessie die moontlikheid is dat hierdie entiteite meer effektiewe en goedkoper rolspelers in die vredesproses verteenwoordig. Begrip hiervan is nodig ten einde die huidige kontekstuele neigings te verstaan wat blyk om privaatmiltere betrokkenheid in Irak, as legitieme rolspelers binne die Koalisie van Gewilliges toe te laat, en gunstiger beskou word as die rol van soortgelyke PMMs in Afrika. Sedert 1992 beweer privaatmilitere maatskappye in Afrika dat hulle slegs optree wanneer hulle wettiglik deur 'n verkose regering, in hul stryd teen rebellie groepe en krygshere, gekontrakteer word. Aangesien die kwessie oar skaarse en waardevolle hulpbronne gaan, kan hierdie maatskappye se dienste bekostig word. Aangesien dit 'n toenemende tendens is, skyn die oplossing nie futiele verbanning te wees nie, maar behoorlike en toepasbare regulering. Die vraag is hoe?

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