Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The problem of mercenaries

Back in the C16th, Nicolo Machiavelli warned in The Prince of the risks of using mercenaries, calling them

useless and dangerous... disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men
It seems that the US didn't get the memo. Their strategy in Iraq for the past few years has been to turn Iraqis into mercenaries, paying them to form militias to provide security. Then they stopped paying them - with utterly predictable results:
A second Awakening Council leader, Sheikh Moustafa al-Jabouri, said disaffection among his ranks had reached breaking point as US combat forces increasingly depart, with most of his men not having been paid for up to three months and now facing a relentless recruitment drive by local al-Qaida members.

"My people are being offered more money. It has happened throughout Arabi Jabour and Dora," he said of the two south Baghdad suburbs that he controls.

"I warned the Americans and the Iraqi government that if they continue neglecting us, the Awakening Council will become even more desperate and will look for other ways to make money.

"So it is an easy market for al-Qaida now. The Iraqi government has disappointed them and it is an easy choice to rejoin the terrorists."

And so American stupidity once again makes things worse for Iraqis. Why am I not surprised?