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I thought being a mercenary was legal?

DrZoidberg

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58978612

Can somebody explain why this is illegal? I thought mercenaries were legal.

I have a Swedish friend who joined as a mercenary a private army in the Yugoslav war in the 90'ies. That was legally unproblematic.

So I don't know what makes this conflict so special?

Is it just a post 9/11 thing that we brand any combatant we don't like as terrorists?
 
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It depends on the country's laws. Some countries permit it, some do not. It is illegal to recruit German citizens as mercenaries. They may fight for other countries as volunteers as long as they do not commit crimes, and do not fight against Germany.

Eldarion Lathria.
 

DrZoidberg

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The word "terrorist" seems to have lost all it's meaning today. Today it seems to mean any combatant we don't like. That's an unfortunate slide in meaning. What are we going to call the actual terrorists?
 

skepticalbip

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58978612

Can somebody explain why this is illegal? I thought mercenaries were legal.

I have a Swedish friend who joined as a mercenary a private army in the Yugoslav war in the 90'ies. That was legally unproblematic.

So I don't know what makes this conflict so special?

Is it just a post 9/11 thing that we brand any combatant we don't like as terrorists?
That is pretty much the case in the U.S. It doesn't even have to be combatants. Parents who dared to voice disagreement with the local school boards during a meeting have been branded as terrorists by the teachers union and the FBI contacted to deal with them.

Isn't the French Foreign Legion essentially a mercenary outfit? Are they now considered to be terrorists?
 

blastula

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That is pretty much the case in the U.S. It doesn't even have to be combatants. Parents who dared to voice disagreement with the local school boards during a meeting have been branded as terrorists by the teachers union and the FBI contacted to deal with them.

If the parents are also threatening violence then that is terrorism.
 

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The word "terrorist" seems to have lost all it's meaning today. Today it seems to mean any combatant we don't like. That's an unfortunate slide in meaning. What are we going to call the actual terrorists?

Has that ever not been the case? No one ever refers to their own actions as terrorism. If they were planning to kill civilians to achieve political ends as the article alleges, that fits most common definitions of terrorism even if we are rather hypocritical about when and where we choose to apply that term. "I'm going to go murder some of the people I hate with guns" seems like a very different class of action to me than "I plan to disagree vehemently with this fellow member of the Scranton School Board".
 

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Acting as a mercernary is legal in my country, though I suspect that situation will not last forever as the US' star continues to wane in international politics. There have been fervent attempts by the international community to end the practice for a little over thirty years now; only the intervention of major players like the US and Britain has forestalled the measure. As others have noted above, Germany's laws are much more strict in this regard. Importantly, they were early signatories to the 1989 International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, no doubt quick to adopt a position against a practice that had so often been used against their citizens historically. Italy and Belgium were the only other affluent European nations to sign the treaty.

Personally I think it is a mistake for a nation to lend any kind of support or credibility to mercernary forces as a matter of policy; the bodies they wage war against are unlikely to make any meaningful distinction between "France" and "a French mercenary", so what's the point of the pretense? Usually, either subtly or blatantly undemocratic objectives are at play.
 

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58978612

Can somebody explain why this is illegal? I thought mercenaries were legal.

I have a Swedish friend who joined as a mercenary a private army in the Yugoslav war in the 90'ies. That was legally unproblematic.

So I don't know what makes this conflict so special?

Is it just a post 9/11 thing that we brand any combatant we don't like as terrorists?
That is pretty much the case in the U.S. It doesn't even have to be combatants. Parents who dared to voice disagreement with the local school boards during a meeting have been branded as terrorists by the teachers union and the FBI contacted to deal with them.

Isn't the French Foreign Legion essentially a mercenary outfit? Are they now considered to be terrorists?

Terrorism is as terrorism does. A terrorist is someone who wants to influence the political system through violence and the threat of violence.

If someone stands up at a public meeting and threatens the life or safety of others, that fits the definition of terrorist. Angry white people don't like being called a terrorist, but even though one has the right to bear arms, the person who shows up on the State Capitol steps with an AR-15 is a terrorist. That's just the way it works.
 

DrZoidberg

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58978612

Can somebody explain why this is illegal? I thought mercenaries were legal.

I have a Swedish friend who joined as a mercenary a private army in the Yugoslav war in the 90'ies. That was legally unproblematic.

So I don't know what makes this conflict so special?

Is it just a post 9/11 thing that we brand any combatant we don't like as terrorists?
That is pretty much the case in the U.S. It doesn't even have to be combatants. Parents who dared to voice disagreement with the local school boards during a meeting have been branded as terrorists by the teachers union and the FBI contacted to deal with them.

Isn't the French Foreign Legion essentially a mercenary outfit? Are they now considered to be terrorists?

No. Its the equivalent of the US Marines, (and Navy SEALS). They just also have some extra spicy rules and traditions that make them fun. But it's just the marine branch of the French army.
 

James Brown

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The word "terrorist" seems to have lost all it's meaning today. Today it seems to mean any combatant we don't like. That's an unfortunate slide in meaning. What are we going to call the actual terrorists?


If we like them, they’re freedom fighters, she thought. If we don’t like them, they’re terrorists. In the unlikely case we can’t make up our minds, they’re temporarily only guerrillas.

--Carl Sagan, Contact
 

skepticalbip

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58978612

Can somebody explain why this is illegal? I thought mercenaries were legal.

I have a Swedish friend who joined as a mercenary a private army in the Yugoslav war in the 90'ies. That was legally unproblematic.

So I don't know what makes this conflict so special?

Is it just a post 9/11 thing that we brand any combatant we don't like as terrorists?
That is pretty much the case in the U.S. It doesn't even have to be combatants. Parents who dared to voice disagreement with the local school boards during a meeting have been branded as terrorists by the teachers union and the FBI contacted to deal with them.

Isn't the French Foreign Legion essentially a mercenary outfit? Are they now considered to be terrorists?

No. Its the equivalent of the US Marines, (and Navy SEALS). They just also have some extra spicy rules and traditions that make them fun. But it's just the marine branch of the French army.
The organization of the Legion is quite a bit different than any special force group in any other nation I am aware of.

The French Foreign Legion is composed of non-French (ergo the "Foreign" in the name?) although only French is spoken in the service. A requirement of all recruits is that they must change their name. A Frenchman can join but they have to first change both their nationality and name. They swear their allegiance to the Legion, not France.

At least that is my understanding from my reading of the Legion.

To me, that sounds more like a mercenary group than a regular army group.
 

skepticalbip

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What about the Gurkhas in the British army?

AHA... I forgot about the Gurkhas. They are non-British but all are from Nepal. The Brits do like tradition and the Gurkha units began when Nepal was part of the empire. I haven't checked but I'm fairly sure they swear their allegiance to the Crown rather than their unit.
 

steve_bank

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It all depends.

In rhe USA I believe it is illegal to join a foreign army and keep citizenship.

The US military now commonly uses mercenaries, euphemistically called contractors. Ex British military for a long time hired out to the mid east regimes.

If as a US citizen you join a foreign military of any kind that engages in what we consider terrorism related actions, yOu will be prosecuted back home.

Yemen is a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

Same with Ethiopia.

Yugoslavia and the region is run by authoritarians - dictators. The Kosovo war was about geocide with people convicted of atrocities and war crimes.

If you have military experience and no morals there is probably plenty of work.

The traditionally adventure for restless young males was the French Foreign Legion. Knew somebody in the 70s who was let go for medical reasons. Friends of his from the VN war were mercenaries, they hired out for most anything. He said he was afrad when he was around then.
 

DrZoidberg

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Yemen is a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

I know the Yemini president managed to get their rebels branded a terrorist movement in the UN. The truth of the matter is that the president himself clearly qualified as a terrorist himself. So it's all shady.
 

steve_bank

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Yemen is a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

I know the Yemini president managed to get their rebels branded a terrorist movement in the UN. The truth of the matter is that the president himself clearly qualified as a terrorist himself. So it's all shady.

To Palestinians Israel is terrorist. To the Brits Jews in Passerine were terrorist.


To Iraqis and Afghanis who were on the receiving end of 'collateral damage' the USA is terrorist.
To Turkey Kurds are terrorist.

One man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist.
 

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Angry white [any colour] people don't like being called a terrorist,

FIFY

White people can't be terrorist because we have Neanderthal DNA in us. That's right, I said it. When we got tired of fighting each other, we invited the whole world to join in...twice! But you all will be thankful for us when the aliens show up.
 

DrZoidberg

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Yemen is a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

I know the Yemini president managed to get their rebels branded a terrorist movement in the UN. The truth of the matter is that the president himself clearly qualified as a terrorist himself. So it's all shady.

To Palestinians Israel is terrorist. To the Brits Jews in Passerine were terrorist.


To Iraqis and Afghanis who were on the receiving end of 'collateral damage' the USA is terrorist.
To Turkey Kurds are terrorist.

One man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist.

Meh. Nobody thought Hitler was a freedom fighter. I'm pretty sure nobody thinks Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is a fighter for anything but the freedom to fill his Swiss bank account.
 

steve_bank

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White people hate it most - we're not used to it.

I doubt that. Walk up to a black guy or especially a middle easterner and call him a terrorist. I suspect you will get quite a negative reaction.

If you want to pick a fight refer to a Persian(Iranian) as an Arab. I made that mistake once.
 

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What about the Gurkhas in the British army?

AHA... I forgot about the Gurkhas. They are non-British but all are from Nepal. The Brits do like tradition and the Gurkha units began when Nepal was part of the empire. I haven't checked but I'm fairly sure they swear their allegiance to the Crown rather than their unit.

You'll be right skeps. Despite being originally from outside the UK, they are so trusted, part of their duties is also being selected to be bodyguards for the Queen.

There's the Swiss guards, guarding the vatican in Rome.
 

steve_bank

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What about the Gurkhas in the British army?

AHA... I forgot about the Gurkhas. They are non-British but all are from Nepal. The Brits do like tradition and the Gurkha units began when Nepal was part of the empire. I haven't checked but I'm fairly sure they swear their allegiance to the Crown rather than their unit.

You'll be right skeps. Despite being originally from outside the UK, they are so trusted, part of their duties is also being selected to be bodyguards for the Queen.

There's the Swiss guards, guarding the vatican in Rome.

After retirement some work as mercenaries, contractors if you prefer, in the mid east.
 
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