By George Ades
Time and again I get comments asking: “why doesn’t Russia do this” or “NATO do that”? Etc.
What needs to borne in mind is that in the “game” of geopolitics there are certain delicate balances that need to be preserved in order to avoid a major war between the superpowers of the east and west, or at the very least to maintain vital communication lines open.
Another thing that needs to be understood is that no superpower is all good or all evil. “Interests” are what dictate a super power’s actions and although some may have principals they live by that prevent them from crossing certain lines, others have no such qualms. And that’s where the difference between them lies.
There’s not many of us that have not heard of “Blackwater”, the US private army that offers its services in almost every hotspot the US is involved in the world. “Blackwater” are not the typical mercenaries that hire themselves out to the highest bidder. They are closely connected to the Pentagon and they take on operations where the US government would like to have plausible deniability, or where body bags with the remains of American servicemen returning home would “embarrass” an administration.
Russia has its own “military contractor” that goes by the name of “Wagner”, which operates on the same terms as Blackwater and for similar situations. These private soldiers have been euphemistically referred to as “volunteers” and they have made their presence felt in Crimea and Donbas, in Syria and lately in Libya fighting on the side of the LNA.
Neither Blackwater nor Wagner would offer their services to a side that their governments do not approve of so, in effect they are a necessary government tool that is disposable and the loss of its members would not count as losses of the national army which would cause an uproar back home and likely lead to unwanted hostilities. A couple of years back, a group of these Russian “volunteers” were targeted by the USAF in Syria and many of them were killed in that airstrike. Imagine if they had been official Russian soldiers that the USAF had killed. A retaliatory strike would have been expected and who knows where that would have ended.
Turkey has become the latest country to have established its own “private army” made up of not Turkish soldiers, but of the remnants of ISIS and al-Qaeda from Syria. The group is called “Sadat” and the first few hundred of them have deployed from Idlib to Tripoli in Libya via Turkey with a lot more on the way, to fight against Russia’s private military contractor.
The UN arms embargo on Libya has been violated by all sides that are, for their own reasons and interests, vying for position in that war-torn country. Russia’s Wagner people may be killing Turkey’s Sadat people, or vice versa in Libya, but Putin and Erdogan can still meet in Moscow and Ankara, shake hands and exchange niceties.
In the dirty world of politics, there’s no “black or white”, but more than “fifty shades of grey.”