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For The Record: The Rise Of Corporate Armies In Russia

November 19, 2012

A corporate army?

Often referred to as “contractors,” private security firms are among the most active participants in modern conflict. There isn’t a war going on right now without their involvement in a variety of roles.

According to Konstantin Bogdanov, writing for official government news organ RIA Novosti, Russia is on its way to creating its own state-sponsored corporate armies for deployment in sensitive regions. Think of the awful proxy-war ravaging Syria and the different players tearing the country apart; it’s basically the Assad regime+Iran+Russia versus the “rebels”+Turkey+Qatar+Saudi Arabia+NATO.

In the past year, Russia’s leaders were obviously miffed that their support for Assad was being scrutinized, condemned, and sometimes blocked. An effective way around these hurdles is to have a “private security firm” and its resources available for such crises.

The gist of the strangely placed Op-Ed piece is when Russia has its own version of Blackwater/Xe it can and will be used as a foreign policy tool minus culpability and diplomatic baggage.

It’s also quite thorough, tracing the modern history of corporate armies and mercenary organizations from their origins up to the present.

In the near future, when the world is riven by proxy wars no longer fought by standing “armies” let it not be said that nobody saw it coming.

An excerpt:

Outsourcing of U.S. mercenaries became especially flagrant during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of the 2000s, the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan said in its report to Congress that the ratio of “the contractor workforce” to U.S. military forces in these countries was roughly 1-to-1.

The contractor workforce soon developed close relations with suppliers and service companies, who fought each other over the most lucrative contracts on offer from the new weak Iraqi and Afghan governments. Western governments find it difficult to conduct operations in the combat zones without “a contract workforce,” which is another word for mercenaries whose losses are of no concern to anyone apart from their direct employers and who can be assigned the most delicate missions. If they are caught red-handed, they are on their own — there is no government flag to protect them.

The whole article can be read here.

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