Perhaps the most expressive title for mercenary investment in the modern era is the privatization of wars. An appendix of the title is the search for less costly wars between combatants, by hiring warriors trained to fight, at lower costs than regular soldiers, and perhaps more effectively. And without the repercussions of this use, including pensions or those related to death compensation. Perhaps the two global monopolists in this field, Wagner (Russia) and Blackwater/Academi (US), are the two most professional companies in this investment. At the present time, a dispute is raging between a group of Western countries trying to leave wide scope for private military and security companies, and the United Nations, which seeks to reconcile between the two parties in order to limit the privatization of wars and stop the phenomenon of impunity.
In fact, it is credited with raising the hot and sensitive topic of “the contemporary use of mercenaries” to the “Europe-Third World Center” (based in Geneva), which organized on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 a panel discussion highlighting “the situation of private armies in Switzerland and the world”.
The most prominent conclusions reached by the discussion were that the world today is floundering in a legal vacuum. As the international treaty on mercenaries does not apply in many cases to those who are called “mercenaries of today”. They are the elements affiliated with private military and security companies, becoming very popular in the last decade. Rather, they took the lead in the Iraq war (2003) Afghanistan (2001) and what is happening today in Libya, a number of African and Latin American countries, and the Ukrainian war.
Mercenaries: From ignoring to the declaration without reservation
The war in Ukraine revealed the mechanisms and work of governments in recruiting mercenaries to fight in wars. Talking about this matter has become public after it was one of the secrets of governments and war ministries, or one of the topics of the conspiracy theory, which accused anyone who dares to contradict the official government narratives or the global media that dominates information and news.
Today, we read in Western and Arab daily newspapers how Russia is recruiting mercenaries and negotiating the quality of fighters, their salaries and privileges with the Syrian government and the head of the regime. The same applies to Ukraine and its call for volunteers to fight in the ranks of its army or in formations of foreign fighters who have already started arriving a few days ago to Ukraine, whether from France or from Canada, Israel, Sweden and others. This is what we did not read or hear during the invasion of Iraq and the occupation and destruction of its cities, especially the city of Mosul.
The Iraqi experience
In the Iraq war, the United States relied, as in all of its wars, on mercenaries, whom the Pentagon calls “contractors.” It is a profitable and popular market pledged by contractors, including politicians, who own such companies, the most important of which is the owner of “Blackwater” company “Eric Prince”, a friend of George Bush and Negroponte, considered one of the most important suppliers of mercenaries to the federal government during the coups d’etat that occurred in Latin America and South America. It was Negroponte who gathered an entire army of mercenaries from Colombia, Nicaragua and others to invade Iraq, its number reached 200,000 mercenaries, fighters and contractors, according to the author of the book “Iraq, the Land of Mercenaries” by French officer Georges Brisset de Vallon, to provide other services related to all that the presence of the army requires.
On the other hand, the Russian “Wagner” company had become a competitor to the two aforementioned American companies, and the question was always:
What does Russia have to do with them?
To learn about Russia’s relationship with “Wagner”, we go back to 2018, when a mysterious murder occurred in the Central African Republic, in which three Russian journalists were killed, only to find that no one wanted them to succeed in their mission.
What is the mission of the three journalists who were victims of Wagner?
The task was to gather information about the Wagner Military Company, which manages a group of Russian mercenaries and is active in more than one country, founded by former Russian intelligence officer Dmitry Utkin. Utkin’s nickname in the intelligence was “Wagner,” because of his admiration for the Nazi regime that used Wagner’s music in advertising.
Wagner mercenaries first appeared in Ukraine, after the Crimea occupation in 2014. The financing of the company is still a mystery. Most of the media say that the Russian secret service runs it in secret, and others link Wagner with businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The Kremlin denies any relationship with the company, amid accusations that its intelligence is running it to reduce official Russian losses in foreign operations. Wagner mercenaries are present wherever the Russians are. In Syria, they participated in controlling Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor, and recently appeared in Libya to support the forces of Haftar, the Russian ally. According to a leaked security report, their number in Libya may reach about 1,000, and they provide technical support to Haftar’s forces, participate in equipment repairs and supervise air operations. Finally, some sources monitor the presence of “Wagner mercenaries” in other countries, but their location has not yet been determined.
Today, what is happening?
Russian intelligence has reported that the West is using fighters from the Middle East in Ukraine, and before that, the American “Wall Street Journal” said that the Russians are using fighters from Syria in Ukraine.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel turned Kremlin ally, posted videos of Chechen fighters in Ukraine, and said some of them had been killed in battle, Sky News Arabia reported.
The same site also reported the travel of tens of thousands of volunteers to Ukraine to join its forces, without specifying their destination, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The question now is: Who do we believe?
In a return to recent history, with the accession of President Obama to power, a dangerous phase began in the regular war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama was marketed to public opinion as a black president against the war in Iraq, but this was nothing but soft propaganda directed at the American and international anti-invasion public opinion, because the truth is that he was worse than George Bush. His reign witnessed the implementation of the plan of John Brennan, Director of Central Intelligence, to legalize the killing of civilians by drones, and the formation of special assassination units to liquidate opponents of the occupation and invasion in Iraq, which was implemented with the entry of ISIS.
During his presidency, the most dangerous military operation in Iraq took place, the process of destroying Mosul. It can be called a hidden war because it relied on recruiting mercenaries to control the rebellious Mosul and destroy it with Atlantic missile bombing and the extermination of its civilian population with the participation of the occupying NATO countries, along with Iran, the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Nuri al-Maliki.
Similar to the United States, the Russian Defense Minister, who visited Damascus before the start of the battles in Ukraine, asked Bashar al-Assad to secure mercenaries, on the condition that they be officers with great experience in urban and street warfare and experienced fighters, as in the process of destroying Mosul, numbering no less than thirty thousand fighters. Meanwhile, the Russian base in Hmeimim receives volunteers and records the names of those who wish to meet the conditions for the required combat.
Just as Nouri al-Maliki and Qassem Soleimani cooperated during the Mosul operation, Bashar al-Assad compulsorily sends the youth of Syria, especially the “reconciliation” youth, to this task to get rid of a faction that participated in the revolution against his regime.
This is how countries manufacture mercenaries and terrorist organizations, and they are named according to the interests for which they are used, and they are called good or bad names. Sometimes they are called terrorists, at other times they are freedom fighters, and at other times they are called Islamic terrorists or brave volunteers if they go to Ukraine, as the French and Western media in general call them!
They both don’t lie
Having said that, we must believe both sides, without forgetting that information in this regard is scarce, and the amount of Western and Russian propaganda is very high. Also, part of the battle is a media battle in which all tools, even “Snapchat” and the “Tik Tok” application, were used.
Therefore, what concerns us is the story of the transfer of “mercenaries”
Because our region has long suffered from this mercenary, under different slogans, and what Iran and its mercenaries are doing in our Arab countries, from Yemen to Syria through Iraq, and of course Lebanon, is sufficient.
It suffices to mention that the leader of “Hezbollah” previously threatened to use 100,000 fighters ready for battle, and not only from Lebanon, where he said: “I only talk to you about the Lebanese.” Of course, all of them are terrorists, whether they are Shiites or Sunnis.
The most important thing in this mercenary story, whether they are with the West or Russia, is that it deserves a lot of follow-up and monitoring and more details to know their identities, regions, intellectual backgrounds, and motives.
And experiences have taught us that the inevitable result will be their return to the region after the war ends, which means a new wave of terrorism coming in the region, or the destabilization of other Arab countries, and the motives and justifications are present.
As a result
The war in Ukraine broadly reveals that the recruitment of mercenaries and the manufacture of terrorist organizations are not simple tasks and actions carried out by individuals or limited groups as these countries claim, but rather it is a work carried out by specialized companies that have great capabilities and commercial relations with governments as Blackwater, the British Black Watch and the Russian Wagner. All of these companies worked in Iraq, Libya and other countries to carry out specific serious crimes and assassinations with names that came from the intelligence services and from the major countries directly.
In Syria and Iraq, our youth provide additional firewood for everything that the occupying and invading countries do in our countries, where they are driven to death and killed, voluntarily or forcibly, it does not matter. Even in these tragedies, the demons of trade and brokerage appear to rob the young men who are condemned to go to death by asking for more money in exchange for their registration in the fighting lists, as if they were going to heaven!
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