The impact of the private security industry on peace-building efforts in Africa : an assessment of Executive Outcomes, MPRI and DynCorp

Holager, Emma (2011-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The emergence and rapid growth of the private security industry in the 1990s followed from the downsizing of the armed forces in the aftermath of the Cold War and the development of new security threats which increased demand for military manpower and expertise. This has led to a redefinition of security strategies and the restructuring of armed forces by Western governments, which has resulted in the elimination of non-core activities from the functions of many armed forces. Recently it has been argued that the private security industry can challenge what previously was believed to be a primary responsibility of states, namely to take on peacebuilding initiatives and support to other peace operations. This study seeks to assess the impact of the private security industry in peacebuilding efforts in African conflicts. The study suggests that the private security industry have taken on a much stronger role in conflicts world wide since the 1990s, and that its activities have significantly changed. Companies such as MPRI and DynCorp have managed to keep close contact with their home governments, which arguably has been a crucial factor to their growing business. Furthermore, the private security industry have sought to distance itself from the negative connotations associated with mercenaries and the activities of companies such as Executive Outcomes in the 1990s, by avoiding operations involving elements of direct combat. This has been illustrated through the extensive case study of the activities of three private military and security companies: Executive Outcomes, MPRI and DynCorp. Furthermore, this thesis has confirmed an increased presence of the United States on the African continent post-9/11, illustrated by the presence of American-based private military and security companies which arguably are being used as proxies for US foreign policy purposes. Furthermore, this study has discussed the various implications the private security industry has on the traditional notion of the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force. This thesis has argued that the legitimate use to exercise violence is in the process of devolution from governments to other actors, which the extensive growth of the private security industry illustrates. Additionally, it has been argued that the privatisation of military and security services can harm the reliable delivery of essential services in conflict. Furthermore, the findings of this thesis has highlighted the dilemma that many countries do not want stricter regulation or elimination of the private security industry for the reason that these companies are viewed as valuable assets in fulfilling foreign policy objectives that for various reasons cannot be fulfilled by national armies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die opkoms en vinnige groei van die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf in die 1990s was die gevolg van die afskaling van gewapende magte in die nasleep van die Koue Oorlog en die ontwikkeling van nuwe sekuriteitsbedreigings, wat die aanvraag na militêre arbeidskragte en kundigheid verhoog het. Dit het aanleiding gegee tot ’n herdefiniëring van sekuriteitstrategieë en die herstrukturering van gewapende magte deur Westerse regerings, met die gevolg dat niekernaktiwiteite van die funksies van talle gewapende magte uitgesluit is. Daar is onlangs aangevoer dat die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf aanspraak kan maak op ’n funksie wat voorheen as die primêre verantwoordelikheid van regerings beskou is, naamlik om vredesinisiatiewe en steun aan ander vredesverrigtinge te onderneem. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die impak van die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf in vredesinisiatiewe in Afrika-konflikte te assesseer. Daar word aan die hand gedoen dat die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf sedert die 1990’s ’n baie groter rol in wêreldwye konflikte gespeel het, en dat die aktiwiteite van hierdie bedryf aanmerklik verander het. Maatskappye soos MPRI en DynCorp was suksesvol daarin om nabye kontak met hul tuisregerings te behou, wat stellig ’n deurslaggewende faktor in hul groeiende besighede was. Voorts het die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf gepoog om hom te distansieer van die negatiewe konnotasies wat met huursoldate en die aktiwiteite van maatskappye soos Executive Outcomes in die 1990’s geassosieer is deur bedrywighede wat elemente van direkte stryd inhou, te vermy. Hierdie poging is geïllustreer deur die omvattende gevallestudie van die aktiwiteite van drie privaat militêre en sekuriteitsmaatskappye: EO, MPRI en DynCorp. Die bevindinge van die studie bevestig voorts die Verenigde State van Amerika (VSA) se toenemende teenwoordigheid op die Afrika-vasteland ná 9/11, wat duidelik blyk uit die teenwoordigheid van Amerikaansgebaseerde privaat militêre en sekuriteitsmaatskappye wat stellig as volmag gebruik word vir die VSA se buitelandsebeleidsdoelstellings. Die verskeie implikasies van die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf vir die tradisionele siening van die regerings se monopolie ten opsigte van die wettige gebruik van magte word ook in die studie bespreek. Daar word aangevoer dat die wettige gebruik van geweld in die proses van devolusie is vanaf regerings na ander rolspelers, wat deur die omvattende groei van die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf bevestig word. Daar word verder ook beweer dat die privatisering van militêre en sekuriteitsdienste die betroubare lewering van noodsaaklike dienste tydens konflik kan benadeel. Die studie se bevindinge werp ook lig op die dilemma dat talle lande strenger regulering of uitskakeling van die privaatsekuriteitsbedryf teëstaan omdat hierdie maatskappye beskou word as waardevolle bates in die bereiking van buitelandsebeleidsdoelwitte, wat vir verskeie redes nie deur nasionale leërs bereik kan word nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6866
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