The Privatization of War

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Mercenaries like the Russian Wagner Group are becoming important actors in Ukraine. But the commercialization of war has begun much earlier.

  • The name of the Wagner Group has become a trademark for a unit of professional and also very brutal warriors in variuous global conflicts – used by Russia but never officially recognized.
  • Wagner mercenaries have been fighting in Africa for a long time and are now apparently being sent to Ukraine as well. They are operating almost without any accountability.
  • Private contractors have been deployed by Western countries as well – in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere – often alongside the general forces. They were involved in numerous scandals.
  • It is difficult to establish their role in Ukraine. But mercenaries from all over the world are being hired to fight in the war against Russia and specialized companies are in high demand.
  • One of the most successful people in private contracting has been Erik Prince – whose former company Blackwater became infamous during the Iraq war. The company has now been renamed and reorganized.
  • The habit of hiring private contractors in wars has been heavily criticized by human rights activists – since they are engaged in warfare but lack the political accountability of a regular army.
Foreign Policy
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