Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Well Regulated Militia

If not controlled, criminal gangs and warlordism based on Ukrainian volunteer militias that move on from fighting the Russians will actually do Russia's work by making Ukraine unsuitable for integration with the West.

Ukraine has a militia problem:

When the volunteer battalions (although not all are technically battalions, we will use this terminology as shorthand) first appeared in 2014, their assistance was welcome and necessary, albeit controversial. Although seen as patriots by many, critics deemed these groups undisciplined, politically extremist, and insufficiently controlled by Ukrainian authorities. Some were credibly linked to human rights violations and neo-Nazi sympathies.

Ukraine's volunteer units that sprang up to resist the Russian invasion of the Donbas were absolutely necessary to cope with the Russians while the military was rebuilt from the pro-Russian era of neglect (how convenient was that for Russia?).

But they've outlived their usefulness as militias (or local self defense forces) usually do if not brought under the discipline of the regular security forces when the emergency passes.

Militias are a tool that can be used for good or bad.

During the Iraq War, in the early years I counted the Shia militias that protected Shia neighborhoods in the south as an asset because they freed up police and troops to fight in the Sunni Arab areas.

But in the later years these militias became a source of problems under Moqtada al-Sadr. They were eventually brought under control by Coalition and unilateral Iraqi military action.

Arguably, Iraqi Shia militias were needed to hold the line in mid-2014 when the Iraqi army in the north collapsed in the face of the ISIL-led uprising.

Now they are a source of problems if Iran can use them to create a loyal Hezbollah-like force in Iraq.

It seems like Iraq is working on solving the problem now that the crisis has passed. Ukraine seems to be taking some steps, but according to that article not nearly enough.

A militia needs to be well regulated by the government to be an asset absent a dire emergency that self-regulates the behavior of the militias.