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Analysis of the concepts

MILITIA / MERCENARIES


The term militia or irregular army

Commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defence, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with multiple distinct but related meanings.

Legal and historical meanings of militia include: • Defense activity or service, to protect a community, its territory, property, and laws. • The entire able-bodied population of a community, town, county, or state, available to be called to arms. • A subset of these who may be legally penalized for failing to respond to a call-up. • A subset of these who actually respond to a call-up, regardless of legal obligation. • A private, non-government force, not necessarily directly supported or sanctioned by its government. • An official reserve army, composed of citizen soldiers. Called by various names in

different countries such as; the Army Reserve, National Guard, or State Defense Forces. • The national police forces in several former communist states such as the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, but also in the non-aligned SFR Yugoslavia. The term was inherited in Russia, and other former CIS countries. See: Militia (Police). • In France the equivalent term “Milice” has become tainted due to its use by notorious collaborators with Nazi Germany. • A select militia is composed of a small, non-representative portion of the population, often politicized.


the term mercenary A person who takes part in an armed conflict, who is not a national or a party to the conflict, and is “motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party�. As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is essentially motivated by money, the term mercenary usually carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a mercenary and a foreign volunteer, when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance, the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas of the British and Indian armies are not mercenaries under the laws of war, since although they may meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, they are exempt under clauses 47: some journalists describe them as mercenaries nevertheless. Gerda Taro (real name Gerta Pohorylle; 1 August 1910, Stuttgart, Germany - 26 July 1937, near Brunete, Spain) was born into a Polish Jewish family living in Germany. She became a war photographer, and the companion and professional partner of photo­ grapher Robert Capa. Taro is regarded often as the first female photojournalist to cover the front lines of a war and to die while doing so.


Academi—previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide—is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. Academi is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department’s three private security contractors. Academi provided diplomatic security services in Iraq to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. Academi also has a research and development wing that was responsible for developing the Grizzly APC along with other military technology.


Pharaoh Ramesses II used 11,000 mercenaries during his battles. A long established foreign corps in the Egyptian forces were the Medjay – a generic term given to tribal scouts and light infantry recruited from Nubia serving from the late period of the Old Kingdom through that of the New Kingdom. Other warriors recruited from outside the borders of Egypt included Libyan, Syrian and Canaanite contingents under the New Kingdom and Sherdens from Sardinia who appear in their distinctive horned helmets on wall paintings as body guards for Ramesses II. Celtic mercenaries were greatly employed in the Greek world (leading to the sack of Delphi and the Celtic settlement of Galatia). The Greek rulers of Ptolemaic Egypt, too, used Celtic mercenaries.


Niccolò Machiavelli argued against the use of mercenary armies in his masterpiece The Prince. His rationale was that since the sole motivation of mercenaries is their pay, they will not be inclined to take the kind of risks that can turn the tide of a battle, but may cost them their lives. He also noted that a mercenary who failed was obviously no good, but one who succeeded may be even more dangerous. He astutely pointed out that a successful mercenary army no longer needs its employer if it is more militarily powerful than its supposed superior. This explained the frequent, violent betrayals that characterized mercenary/client relations in Italy, because neither side trusted the other. He believed that citizens with a real attachment to their home country will be more motivated to defend it and thus make much better soldiers.


One of the most famous and ancient militias is the Swiss Armed Forces. Switzerland long maintained, proportionally, the second largest military force in the world, with about half the proportional amount of reserve forces of the Israeli Defense Forces, a militia of some 33% of the total population. Article 58.1 of the 1999 Swiss constitution provides that the armed forces (armee) is “in principle” organized as a militia, implicitly allowing a small number of professional soldiers. In 1995, the number of soldiers was reduced to 400,000 (including reservists, amounting to some 5.6% of the population) and again in 2004, to 200,000 (including 80,000 reservists, or 2.5% of the population). However, the Swiss Militia continues to consist of most of the adult male population (with voluntary participation by women) required to keep an automatic rifle at home and to periodically engage in combat and marksmanship training. The militia clauses of the Swiss Federal Constitution are contained in Art. 59, where it is referred to as “military service” (German: Militärdienst; French: service militaire; Italian: servizio militare; Romansh: servetsch militar)



Mercenaries