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Unformatted text preview: 1 1 Ruta Nimkar is a Graduate Student at Yale University. F ROM B OSNIA TO B AGHDAD T HE C ASE FOR R EGULATING P RIVATE M ILITARY AND S ECURITY C OMPANIES Ruta Nimkar Private military and security companies (PMSCs) have earned a place in the spotlight recently due primarily to charges of human rights abuses in Iraq. However, the industry has been growing rapidly for over two decades, and has had significant impact on conflicts in Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and Papua New Guinea, among others. This article examines the difference between modern military companies and mercenaries. It then outlines the factors that gave rise to the PMSC industry and analyzes the threats and opportunities associated with PMSC presence. Four case studies are presented and factors associated with positive PMSC intervention are identified. The current state of policy regarding private militaries is reviewed, and the paper closes with suggestions on future policy directions. I NTRODUCTION On September 16, 2007, violent gunfire erupted in Nisoor Square, Bagh- dad. When the smoke cleared, officials confirmed that 28 innocent Iraqi civilians had died in the incident. Guns had been fired not by coalition troops, nor by insurgents but by employees of Blackwater, a private company selling military services. More than ten years earlier, in 1995, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) amassed forces outside the capital of Sierra Leone. They threatened to topple the government, creating chaos and instability. The RUFs plans 2 were disrupted, not by UN or ECOMOG troops, but by soldiers from Executive Outcomes, another private military company. Executive Out- comes interventions stabilized the government and permitted democratic elections to be held. Over the last 20 years, the private military and security industry has grown rapidly, in terms both of the number of active private military and security companies (PMSCs) and of the range of activities in which PMSCs are involved. The policy environment in which PMSCs operate, on the other hand, has remained static. This article argues that, given the widespread presence of PMSCs and the variety of potential outcomes from PMSC intervention, it is essential to develop a uniform policy framework within which PMSCs can operate. The first section of the article draws a distinction between PMSCs and mercenaries and describes the evolution of the former. The second section outlines a selection of PMSC interventions, as well as criteria associated with success in PMSC operations. Finally, the current policy environment is considered and policy recommendations are made. M ERCENARIES : P AST AND P RESENT Hired soldiers have a long history. Their presence in warfare can be traced to circa 1294 B.C., when King Ramses hired Numidians to fight in the battle of Kadesh between Egypt and the Hittites (Taulbee 1998, 145)....
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