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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Private Security Forces and African Stability: The Case of Executive Outcomes
Author:Howe, Herbert M.
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:political stability
Politics and Government
Military, Defense and Arms
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161407
Abstract:Since 1993 Executive Outcomes (EO), the world's largest and best known 'mercenary' group, has marketed itself as a defender of African State security in the post-Cold War era. A private army with access to some 2,000 ex-South African Defence Force combat veterans, EO has helped to defeat discredited insurgencies in Angola and Sierra Leone. This article examines the controversial EO military as a security option for African governments. It sketches EO's history, its military effectiveness, and its political loyalty, to assess whether EO threatens or assists African State stability. It argues that EO's loyalty to the State does not necessarily mean that its services are beneficial to the nation. A military solution to long-standing social and economic divisions may prove financially costly and of only temporary value. Existing national militaries have not always appreciated EO's assistance, and their anger can destabilize the national government and nullify EO's achievements. Another worry is that EO's training and combat skills may only increase the militarization and destabilization of a poor continent. The article concludes by looking at EO's possible future. Notes, ref.