Historical comparisons with contemporary events are always risky, particularly with regard to warfare. But two historical patterns in the use of mercenaries in Europe can provide insights into the role that private military contractors like the Wagner Group play within the Russian political system, and how that might evolve over time.
Papua New Guinea’s national elections were marred by violence and disenfranchisement, raising concerns about the state of the country’s democracy. Nevertheless, Prime Minister James Marape’s reelection is a sign of hope for the political system’s continuity. Now Marape’s task will be to meet the public’s high expectations.
Because the Wagner Group has such an established reputation, many took claims made earlier this year that the group would deploy to Burkina Faso at face value. However, rumors about Wagner rarely square with reality. The actual evidence that the group will imminently deploy to Burkina Faso is far from conclusive.
The international community may be experiencing a case of compassion fatigue when it comes to the violence currently gripping Haiti. But it is hardly an excuse. While much of Haiti’s misery is homegrown, the roots of its troubles extend beyond the island, and the reverberations from its crises always breach its borders.
At least 32 people were killed in a July 29 attack by suspected cattle thieves in a village approximately 47 miles north of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. While the country’s president has vowed to bring the killers to justice, the roots of Madagascar’s cattle theft problem date back decades and defy obvious solutions.
The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.