Private Military Companies in the US Stabilization Operation in Iraq

Marcin Terlikowski
Content Type
Working Paper
The Polish Institute of International Affairs
In the last two decades, the issue of private military companies and the privatization of the sphere of international security, have been addressed by political decision-makers in many countries, military experts, as well by the media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It seems that the controversies and sometimes very categorical opinions which have emerged concerning these issues have several sources. Firstly, the relatively sudden appearance of a new type of non-public actor in the military sphere, which traditionally was the exclusive activity of the state, was associated with consternation caused by negative connotations with historic, still pre-Westphalian international order where significant roles were played by private armies and other mercenary forces (e.g. condottieres, corsairs). Secondly, the activities of these types of firm have caused a number of problems. For example, to this day, not all the circumstances have been explained regarding the participation by several firms in conflicts in Africa and the Balkans in the 1990s, while the media are still reporting various irregularities and incidents involving such enterprises. Thirdly, this specific business has developed with enormous dynamism, continuously generating profits and extending both the geographical scope of activities and the profile of the services provided.
Security, War
Political Geography
United States, Iraq, Arabia