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'New Wars': the Sierra Leone Case
Unformatted Document Text:  The overall impact of private security forces in Sierra Leone is not entirely clear. EO was the most effective of the three in its ability to provide the Sierra Leone government leverage in negotiating with the rebels. Both EO and Sandline claim that their presence in Sierra Leone taught the Sierra Leone forces important social values, though it is hard to make the case that such values have become an engrained part of Sierra Leone’s military culture as a direct result (Avant 2005). Class Discussion Questions 1. What is controversial about using a private security company? 2. Do you think today’s use of private forces is fundamentally different from previous use of mercenary armies? 3. How is private security related to issue of human rights? 4. What does this mean for state sovereignty? 5. Should the UN allow the use of private security companies? Class Activities 1. Handout: “Portrait of a Private Army.” This one-page summary from Shearer’s 1998 article (see bibliography) provides an overview of the company Executive Outcomes. 2. Group Work: Ask the students to work in pairs or small groups and to make a list of 3-4 controversial issues that arise with the use of private militias. Ask them to consider what they think would be the arguments made by the opposing position on each controversial issue. 3. Listen and Discuss: “Private Armies in Iraq.” From NPR’s The World, a 6 minute clip discusses the welfare of thousands of foreign workers hired as private security guards in Iraq. Available at: http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/12055 “Burgeoning Contract Industry May Get More Controls.” From NPR’s Morning Edition, a 7 minute clip discusses the relative lack of oversight in the private contracting industry. Available at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11350940 “Private Military Firm Pitches Its Services in Darfur,” From NPR’s All Things Considered, a 7 minute clip discusses the possibility of introducing private security forces into Sudan. Available at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5433902 4. Read and Discuss: The following articles look at the role of private military contractors in Iraq and the Blackwater controversy. 19

Authors: Parker, Sara.
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The overall impact of private security forces in Sierra Leone is not entirely clear.
EO was the most effective of the three in its ability to provide the Sierra Leone
government leverage in negotiating with the rebels. Both EO and Sandline claim that
their presence in Sierra Leone taught the Sierra Leone forces important social values,
though it is hard to make the case that such values have become an engrained part of
Sierra Leone’s military culture as a direct result (Avant 2005).
Class Discussion Questions
1. What is controversial about using a private security company?
2. Do you think today’s use of private forces is fundamentally different from previous
use of mercenary armies?
3. How is private security related to issue of human rights?
4. What does this mean for state sovereignty?
5. Should the UN allow the use of private security companies?
Class Activities
1. Handout: “Portrait of a Private Army.” This one-page summary from Shearer’s 1998
article (see bibliography) provides an overview of the company Executive Outcomes.
2. Group Work: Ask the students to work in pairs or small groups and to make a list of
3-4 controversial issues that arise with the use of private militias. Ask them to consider
what they think would be the arguments made by the opposing position on each
controversial issue.
3. Listen and Discuss: “Private Armies in Iraq.” From NPR’s The World, a 6 minute
clip discusses the welfare of thousands of foreign workers hired as private security guards
in Iraq. Available at:
“Burgeoning Contract Industry May Get More Controls.” From NPR’s Morning Edition,
a 7 minute clip discusses the relative lack of oversight in the private contracting industry.
Available at:
“Private Military Firm Pitches Its Services in Darfur,” From NPR’s All Things
Considered
, a 7 minute clip discusses the possibility of introducing private security
forces into Sudan. Available at:
4. Read and Discuss: The following articles look at the role of private military
contractors in Iraq and the Blackwater controversy.
19


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