Monday, July 24, 2006

Mercenaries, Anyone?

An ongoing debate at TWR has been the gap between the desire for "action" and the willingness of states to put up the military personnel. So if the key states aren't going to send personnel, are the PMCs as peacekeepers the lesser evil than having no force or having an ineffective force?

Support is growing for the creation of an international military force to stabilize the Lebanese border with Israel and to bring an end to the fighting. But there is no agreement on the size, mandate or mission of such a force and little enthusiasm around the world for sending troops.

The United States has ruled out its participation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says that it is already stretched thin, France is calling the mission premature and Germany said it was willing to participate only if both Israel and Hezbollah called for it.

"All the politicians are saying, 'Great, great' to the idea of a force, but no one is saying whose soldiers will be on the ground," said a senior European official. "Everyone will volunteer to be in charge of the logistics in Cyprus."

Amazing. Everyone wants intervention, no one wants to intervene.
Can private military contractors can be found in sufficient numbers to secure the Lebanese-Syrian border all the way up the Bekaa Valley?

If Syria permits Hezbollah to use its territory as a base for guerrilla operations, and if Shia civilians in Lebanon itself engage in guerrilla warfare, will PMCs be able to replace their own losses over time?
david billington:

PMS is not in the cards.

Hizbollah is entrenched and nmeshed in Lebeanon.

They will not be disarmed becuae of demands of US, EU, Israel.

The only way that Hizbollah is going to lay down its arms is through the settlement of the Israel & Arab war.
If the pay is right, you can always find a good supply of soldiers. You could form new battalions from ex-Soviet state servicemen, from Latin America, etc. Question is what their rules of engagement would be. Most PMCs probably wouldn't want to operate under asinine UN rules.
conservative realist:

Another fantasy...

Who but UN is going to pay them?

And if not UN then I suppose you have some coalition of the willing in mind?

If so, then in what way will they be any different than soldiers recruited from national armies?

And if they are attacked and annihilated, what will the response be?
Anonymous 9:13:

Who pays the salaries is not important--UN, US, Europeans. They would be different than national armies because they would clearly be volunteers and responsible for being there, no one could say, my Johnny or Krishna or Sven joined the military but no one said he would go to Lebanon.

If attacked they should have right to respond to whoever fires on them, Hezbollah, Israel, etc.
conservative realist:

It is a fantasy to state that "Who pays the salaries is not important".

It is a fantasy to expect such a force (that has to be stronger than the Israeli Army) can be recruited, trained, deployed, and maintained by a non-State actor such as UN.

In the concrete case of Israel-Lebeanon we just saw what did not happen in Rome.
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