This thesis investigates the current expansion in the hiring of private military companies. The thesis seeks to examine the recent explosion in the use of private military companies in the quest to achieve peace and security. The thesis will also address the differences between the classic view of mercenaries and the new trend in professional security companies as an effective answer to the peacekeeping dilemma concerning lack of resources and enforcement mechanisms. The restrictions and ambiguities in international law and their impact on the regulation of PMCs will also be addressed. To illustrate the situation, the thesis will then continue to identify several case studies, Iraq, Colombia, the Balkans, and Sierra Leone. These case studies have the experimental testing ground for the outsourcing of privatized military/security operations. Finally, new attempts to regulate the activities of these companies are examined.

The study concludes that the private military company expansion is not a temporary phenomenon but rather an increasing reality. The operations would be more effective however with increased regulation and accountability at both the domestic and international levels. The recent operations in Iraq, Colombia, the Balkans, and Sierra Leone have cemented the place of PMCs/PSCs in international affairs. Nations, to ensure security, will expand the use of PMCs, specifically in weak and developing states in the Middle East and African regions.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Sherine El Ghatit

Committee Member 1

Walid Kazziha

Committee Member 2

Ivan Ivekovic

Document Type



leaves 111


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Call Number

Thesis 2005/56