Fighting ISIS with mercenaries is bad idea, says private military expert
Sending mercenary forces into Syria to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) would invite failure, according to an expert on modern private militias.
Ulrich Petersohn, who lectures in international politics at the University of Liverpool, has published a number of books and studies on privatized military forces and intervention.
In an essay for the Conversation website, he argued that using soldiers for hire to fight IS should be avoided. This despite a number of major mercenary firms, including Academi (formerly known as Blackwater), looking to cash in on the conflict.
He warned that, although mercenary interventions in places like Sierra Leone by the now-defunct Executive Outcomes group are still seen as success stories, this was because there had been a clear enemy and a set of clearly defined aims.
In Syria, there is no such clarity and the war is being contested by major powers – it is not just a marginal conflict.
“Multiple regional and world powers are involved in the conflict, and they disagree on whom to support. In addition, even if a consensus could be reached, alliances between conflict parties constantly shift in this war zone,” Petersohn said.
He also warned that the capabilities of the combatants in Sierra Leone were very different.