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James M. Dorsey

The Middle East: The world’s playground for the privatization of war

A playground for mercenaries

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One just has to switch on the news to realize that mercenaries and private military companies live a life of their own and shape headlines.

Chaos and mayhem dominate the streets of Haiti after Colombian mercenaries killed the president. Russia’s Wagner Group played a key role in the invasion of Ukraine and at one point appeared to revolt against President Vladimir Putin. This is just to name a few recent histories shaping events.

The irony is that the latest phase in the evolution of mercenaries and private military entities first emerged in the Middle East, a region racked by wars and conflict in which states like the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey backed armed to the teeth, non-state actors of different stripes.

About the Author
Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar and a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. He is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.
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