The Security Council debate following lunch resumed, with it being bogged down in a definition deadlock; PMCs, terrorist groups and transnational armed groups. There hasn’t been a universally accepted definition in the past and the chances of one being formulated in this session aren’t looking too good; the delegate of USA reiterated a nation’s sovereign right to classify who they want as what they want, which was a fair point but is also the reason this imbroglio exists.
Academi proposed a basis of judging an organization’s actions irrespective of its position within the established hierarchy. Uruguay suggested the creation of a new body which classified and labelled groups on a case by case basis so there is unilateral agreement on which groups are terrorists and which are not.
To quote the independent observer, Tharaka Hettiarachchi, “A legal committee’s fascination for definitions has been simulated in this SC”.
An unmoderated caucus session was declared to encourage delegates to lobby so debate may progress. It’s highlight was Russia’s proposal to close debate and propose an entirely new agenda. A final consensus was reached; discussion on PMCs would resume.
What ensued was USA’s proposal; the formation of an international organization to check quality control of PMCs and ensure “Blackwater” doesn’t happen again. Whilst this is commendable, it is ironic that a state that boasts of being the land of the free would encourage restrictions and extensive checks into the private sector. Maybe USA has learnt its lessons from Blackwater and wants to apply that to the world. But it should have acted more responsibly in the past when hiring PMCs.
Blackwater was contracted under the Department of State and not the Department of Defense. Thus, those individuals were civilians and not US military personnel. So they could be tried and they were tried. But then Egypt brought up that not all individuals were registered under the Department of State and many were not prosecuted.
In defining PMCs the delegates reached a rough consensus that they are commercial contractors. But in addition there were other parameters thrown around. There was concern that they will create further proxy wars and undermine sovereignty as they strive to monopolize war and draw it out to maximise profits.
Venezuela’s answer to the dilemma of PMCs was to have more transparent contracts, with more information available to the public. But my question is, will the public that usually has no interest in understanding the constitution of their country, bother about details of contracts of their government with a private entity. The Avant Garde dealings in Sri Lanka stand a case in point.
Unmoderated caucus saw USA and Bashar Al Assad’s representative clash heads as they scrambled to gain signatories for their resolutions. Various accusations of foreign policy violations depending on which resolution they signed off on was thrown around. Russia, unable to continue being part of this drama, wrote a solo resolution; a comfort afforded only in UNSC.
I wondered whether, at least behind close doors, the same kind of black mailing occurred at the actual Security Council. Luckily at least here the media was present to witness the back hand dealings diplomacy entailed.
The Council President Sonal Jayawickrama wrapped up proceedings for the day by stating; “This was a traditional SC” that deserves a rating of 6.5 out of 10. Not the best, but among the better committees he has chaired.
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