Mercenary values 1

The profession of warrior is as respectable as any other, unless the warrior sells his skill to serve an evil cause.

The government of Somalia considered hiring Saracen International, a South African mercenary firm, to fight pirates and Islamic militants. A disapproving report in the New York Times may have squashed the idea.

Jeff Jacoby writes at Townhall:

That negative publicity may have undone the deal. The Times subsequently reported that Somali authorities “have cooled to the idea” of hiring private militiamen. “We need help,” a government official was quoted as saying, “but we don’t want mercenaries.”

Somalia certainly does need help. It is one of the world’s most unstable and violent countries. … It has been wracked for years by bloody insurgencies, and the central government, what there is of it, is under constant assault by al-Shabab, a lethal jihadist movement closely tied to al-Qaeda. Pirates plying the waters off Somalia’s shores menace international shipping.

The place is a hellhole, and each day that it remains one is another day of death and devastation for more innocent victims. Who is going to help them? The 8,000 peacekeeping troops sent in by the UN are inadequate to the job. “Western militaries have long feared to tread” there, as even the Times acknowledges. So why shouldn’t the Somali government turn to private militias for the help it so desperately needs?

It is fashionable to disparage mercenaries as thugs for hire, but private-sector warriors are as old as combat itself. Americans may dimly remember learning in grade school about the Hessian mercenaries who fought for the British during the American Revolution, but other mercenaries fought for American independence. … Many mercenaries have been heroes of American history. Among them are John Paul Jones, who became an admiral in the Russian Navy; the Pinkerton security firm, which supplied intelligence to the Union and personal protection for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War; the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of American airmen who fought for France in World War I; and the Montagnards, the indigenous tribesmen who fought alongside American soldiers during the war in Vietnam. …

This is not an abstract argument. When Rwanda erupted in mass-murder in 1994, the private military firm Executive Outcomes offered to stop the slaughter for $150 million The Clinton administration turned down the offer. In the ensuing carnage, some 800,000 Rwandans were killed.

In 1995, by contrast, the government of Sierra Leone hired Executive Outcomes to put down a savage rebellion by the brutal Revolutionary United Front. Within a year, the company had quelled the uprising and driven the rebels out.

It may not be politically correct to suggest letting mercenaries deal with nightmares like Somalia and Darfur. But political correctness doesn’t save lives. Sending in mercenaries would.

For a state or nation to hire the expertise it lacks is eminently sensible. Somalia should hire mercenary soldiers; Zimbabwe and California should hire mercenary free-market economists; the Palestinians and Pakistanis should hire mercenary brains; the Germans should hire mercenary humorists.

But why stop there?

Many a failed state could turn into a law-and-order polity with a thriving economy if it would hire an administration.

It need not pick the personnel from one country only. It should make up a team consisting of the most competent administrators from a number of countries, most obviously the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

And why not hire a judiciary as well – from the same pool of mostly Anglophone lands where commonsense, rationality, learning, fair-mindedness, humane restraint, probity, and the capacity to adjudicate objectively may still be found?

The hiring state would continue to make its own laws, but would have to be open to the advice of the imported administration and judges as to what laws could and should be enacted if it wasn’t to waste its money.

We float this idea on the ether because it is a good one. We mean it seriously, but would be astonished if it were taken seriously by any failing state. We know that we don’t yet have the clout even of the failing New York Times.

What lies behind 0

The government of Turkey and its terrorist group IHH, using an assortment of useful Western idiots as cover, planned and carried out the recent incident off the coast of Gaza when Israelis enforcing the blockade of Gaza were attacked and some of the terrorists were killed. President Obama called it a “tragedy”. It was certainly not a tragedy that nine Islamic terrorists were killed; it was a small triumph. But the motivation behind the Turkish plot could be bringing about a tragedy on an immense scale.

Ryan Mauro writes this (in part) about Turkey and its Prime Minister Erdogan:

The most significant outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident is that there can no longer be any doubt that Turkey has joined the anti-Western bloc that includes Hamas, Iran and Syria. The Muslim country was once devotedly secular, an ally of Israel, and remains a member of NATO [scandalously and dangerously – it should have been expelled – JB], but under the direction of Prime Minister Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (often referred to as the AKP), Turkey has gone in the completely opposite direction with enormous strategic consequences. …

Erdogan … founded the AKP [in 2001], which took a omore moderate line, portraying itself as committed to separation of mosque and state but “faithful governance,” as Dr. Essam El-Erian, the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political bureau, described the AKP’s “moderate Islamist” ideology. There was no anti-Western rhetoric and the party strongly supported membership in the European Union. [Of course they did – they wanted to inject as huge Muslim population into the EU.] The group won a large victory in the 2002 elections, resulting in Erdogan taking the post of Prime Minister.

Dr. El-Erian praised Erdogan’s victory, saying that it was the result of the “exposing of the failure of the secular trend.” El-Erian confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood had close ties to the AKP, but the West treated Turkey as if nothing had changed. It wasn’t until Turkey steadfastly refused to allow U.S. soldiers to transit their territory to overthrow Saddam Hussein [which was when and why it should have been expelled from NATO.] that the West began questioning the allegiance of Erdogan’s government.

The Erdogan government soon began a concerted effort to fuel anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment, knowing that such feelings help the AKP politically and hurt its opponents in the secular military that have long ties to the West. The Turkish media consistently reported alleged U.S. atrocities, fanning the already massive anti-war sentiment. The outrageous claims can only be compared to the anti-Israeli propaganda seen in the Arab world and Iran, echoing similar themes such as the use of chemical weapons against civilians and the harvesting of organs from killed Iraqis.

The AKP won an even larger share of the vote in the July 2007 election and had even more dominance over the government. Since then, the ideology of Erdogan has become more apparent as Turkish opinion has become less hostile to anti-Western Islamism. Shortly after the victory, Turkey’s moves towards Iran and other enemies of the West became more visible and aggressive. ..

Erdogan’s government simultaneously became more anti-Israeli, particularly once the Israeli military offensive into Gaza began in response to the rocket attacks of Hamas. …

The Turkish-Syrian alliance began shortly after Erdogan came to power, with Syrian President Bashar Assad visiting Turkey and a free trade agreement being signed.

Turkey has also moved closer to Sudan, refusing to describe the situation in Darfur as a genocide. Erdogan’s government also opposes the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir for human rights violations. His defense of Bashir is that “no Muslim could perpetrate a genocide.”

Now, Turkey is taking center stage in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey is openly considering cutting off all diplomatic ties with Israel and is saying that its warships will escort future convoys to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. There are reports that Erdogan himself may actually join a convoy. Erdogan now openly says, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization…”

Today, the government has begun the country’s “largest-ever crackdown” on the military, prosecuting 33 current and former military officers for allegedly planning a coup to overthrow the AKP government in 2003 including the former head of the special forces. Those arrested have been accused of planning to carry out acts of terrorism including the bombing of mosques, which they deny. Given the military’s pride in acting as the guardian of Turkey’s secularism, it isn’t surprising that elements of the military would desire to see the AKP overthrown. …

Erdogan’s defense of the vessel [the Mavi Marmara] owned by the IHH, a Turkish Islamist group tied to Hamas and other terrorist activity, is particularly insightful. Any true opponent of terrorism and radical Islamism would ban the group or at least officially investigate them. In 1997, the Turkish authorities raided the IHH’s office in Istanbul and made numerous arrests. IHH operatives were found with weapons-related materials and the French counterterrorism magistrate said that they were planning on supporting jihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. “The essential goal of this Association was to illegally arm its membership for overthrowing democratic, secular, and constitutional order present in Turkey and replacing it with an Islamic state founded on the Shariah,” the French magistrate’s report said.

If the goal of the IHH is to establish Sharia Law in Turkey, and Erdogan’s government is describing them as a “charity,” what does that say about Erdogan’s plans? …

The West’s loss of Turkey has frightening strategic consequences. They are so frightening that the West refused to acknowledge the trend until it became undeniable in recent weeks. …

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that are hostile to Iran’s ambitions now face an even more threatening bloc that has been enlarged by the defection of Turkey. The temptation for them to surrender the mantle of leadership to the Iranian-Syrian-Turkish bloc in order to save themselves will now reach unprecedented levels, regardless of whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons or not.

To make matters worse, Erdogan’s prestige as the preeminent challenger of Israel will lead to competition with Iran, sparking an escalation where each side tries to establish superior anti-Israeli and anti-Western credentials. Israel is now in its most isolated and dangerous situation since its birth in 1948.

Question 1

It ‘s not surprising but it is exasperating that Obama is now laying gifts at the feet of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the blood-soaked criminal who rules over the Sudan.

Jonathan Tobin writes:

Now the chief liberal icon of the moment [Barack Obama] has taken his philosophy of “engagement” with dictators to the next level by a policy of outreach to the government that the United States has accused of genocide in Darfur. On Monday, after months of internal arguments about the best way to deal with Sudan, the administration announced it would reward the country’s murderous dictator, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir — a man currently under indictment by the International Criminal Court for his role in directing the murder of hundreds of thousands of people — with economic incentives to try and bribe him to stop behaving in such a beastly fashion.

The idea of appeasing al-Bashir was enough to give even the Obama cheerleading squad at the New York Times editorial page pause; it demurred from its usual unflinching support to express a degree of skepticism about the idea that lifting sanctions will change the behavior of this rogue regime or cause it to no longer grant safe haven for terrorists. While this switch from sanctions to engagement fits in with the Obama foreign-policy template, can the same people who were appalled by Bush’s failure to act be persuaded that al-Bashir can be charmed into abandoning genocide?

What needs to be done is the total destruction of  the Janjaweed – the Arab Muslim terrorist bands who are killing, torturing, raping, and despoiling their non-Arab Muslim compatriots – and the execution of al-Bashir.

The question is, should America do it ?

It goes without saying that the actual leader America has now would never consider doing anything of the sort, but what is the answer in principle?

Should America use force abroad only where American interests need defending?

Or does the single superpower in the world, one that possesses the economic and military strength to intervene effectively and has a tradition of aiding other peoples in critical times, have a perpetual moral responsibility to save and protect the victims of tyrannous oppression?

Or at least to prevent genocide?

Or is the defense of freedom always in America’s interest?

Posted under Africa, Arab States, Commentary, Defense, Diplomacy, Islam, Muslims, Pacifism, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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The dangerous pretensions of the International Criminal Court 0

 Daniel Hannan writes in the Telegraph:

A fearful blow has been struck against national sovereignty. The International Criminal Court has launched a prosecution against a head of state – a state, moreover, that has not signed the ICC treaty. International human rights apparatchiks are enjoying the warm glow of self-righteousness; but they have just made the world a darker and more dangerous place.

Don’t get me wrong: the man they have arraigned, Omar al-Bashir, is an unutterable swine. Having seized power in a military putsch, he has maintained himself in office by displacing and terrorising millions of his citizens. Some 300,000 Sudanese are estimated to have been killed in his civil wars and, while the government does not bear sole responsibility for each of those deaths, it must be reckoned the worst offender.

How, then, could I possibly object to bringing such a monster to trial? If the defunct Sudanese legal system can’t deal with him, shouldn’t someone else?

Well, maybe: but this will mean conquering Sudan. Bashir is the head of state, the supreme repository and exemplar of Sudanese sovereignty. Indicting him amounts to a declaration of war. Now there may well be an argument for military intervention in Sudan. Quite apart from having presided over the genocidal purges in Darfur, Bashir has given the rest of the world ample cross-border provocation. He turned his country into a base for terrorists of every stripe: the Ugandan child-kidnappers of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Carlos the Jackal, even Osama bin Laden. I’m not a big fan of invading other countries but, if we’re going to pick on one, Sudan is a pretty good candidate.

Except that the international community is emphatically not proposing an invasion. The prosecution is a narcissistic act, intended to make liberal internationalists feel superior and to bolster the ICC’s damaged reputation (its first case, against a Congolese militia leader, has just collapsed) rather than to ameliorate the lot of the Sudanese. Declaring war without meaning to wage it – which is what the indictment means – will simply deter the ghastly Khartoum regime from reaching any kind of accommodation with its opponents. Rather like an insistence on unconditional surrender, the prosecution will serve chiefly to make the autocrats more determined.

That’s the problem with these international law codes. By definition, the only countries on which they have any effect are democracies: tyrants simply ignore them. For the sake of being rude about Bashir – without any practical consequences – the ICC will substantively and genuinely diminish the sovereignty of free nations

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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