Mercenaries are more powerful than experts realize today. Those who assume they are cheap imitations of national armed forces invite disaster because for-profit warriors are a wholly different genus and species of fighter.
When people think of private military contractors, they imagine Blackwater Security Consulting in Iraq circa 2007. However, the market for force has moved on.
Firms like Blackwater are quaint compared to the Wagner Group and other contemporary mercenaries. Curiously, this trend is overlooked by scholars, the mainstream media, and the Intelligence Community.
Consequently, there is a dangerous lacuna of understanding concerning this emerging threat, because private military companies such as the Wagner Group are more like heavily armed multinational corporations than the US Marine Corps.
Their employees are recruited from different countries, and profitability is everything. Patriotism is unimportant, and sometimes a liability. Unsurprisingly, mercenaries do not fight conventionally, and traditional war strategies used against them may backfire.
Private force has become big business, and global in scope. No one truly knows how many billions of dollars slosh around this illicit market.
All we know is that business is booming. Recent years have seen major mercenary activity in Yemen, Nigeria, Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq.
Many of these for-profit warriors outclass local militaries, and a few can even stand up to America’s most elite forces, as the battle in Syria shows.
In 2018, the opening salvo of artillery was so intense that American troops took cover in foxholes for protection. After the barrage, a column of Russian tanks advanced on their positions, firing their 125-millimeter turret guns at soldiers.
They returned fire, but it was not enough to repulse the tanks. They were in danger of being overrun. A team of about 30 special operations forces was pinned down @ a ConocoPhillips gas plant in Syria.
Roughly 20 miles away, a team of Green Berets and a platoon of Marines stared at their computer screens, watching the drone feeds of the battle.
Their collective mission was to defend the ConocoPhillips facility, alongside Kurdish and Arab forces. No one expected an enemy armored assault.
Attacking them were 500 mercenaries, hired by Russia, who possessed artillery, armored personnel carriers, and T-72 main battle tanks.
These were not the cartoonish rabble depicted by Hollywood and Western pundits. This was the Wagner Group, a private military company based in Russia, and like many high-end mercenaries today, they were covert and lethal.
The American commandos radioed for help. Warplanes arrived in waves, including Reaper drones, F-22 stealth fighter jets, F-15E Strike Fighters, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships, and AH-64 Apache helicopters.
Scores of strikes pummeled the mercenaries, but they did not wave. Four hours later, the mercenaries finally retreated. Four hours. No Americans were killed, and the Department of Defense (DOD) touted this as a big win.
But it wasn’t. It took America’s most elite troops and advanced aircraft 4 hours to repel 500 mercenaries. What happens when they have to face 1,000 to 5,000 soldiers or more?
The Middle East is awash in mercenaries. Kurdistan is a haven for soldiers of fortune looking for work with the Kurdish militia, oil companies defending their oil fields, or those who want terrorists dead.
Some are just adventure seekers, while others are American veterans who found civilian life meaningless and boring, after being send to multiple US war engagements throughout the world.
The capital of Kurdistan, Irbil, has become an unofficial marketplace of mainly Zionist mercenary services, replacing ISIS like in the Tatooine bar in the movie Star Wars—full of smugglers and guns for hire.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) secretly dispatched hundreds of special forces mercenaries to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi freedom fighters in Yemen.
Hailing from Latin American countries like Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, and Chile, they were all tough veterans of the drug wars, bringing new tactics and toughness to Middle East conflicts.
They were a bargain, too, costing a fraction of what an American or British mercenary would charge, so the Emirates hired 1,800 of them, paying two to four times their old salaries.
Allegedly, African mercenaries are also fighting in Yemen for Saudi Arabia and come from countries like Sudan, Chad, and Eritrea.
Private force has proved a useful option for wealthy Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Emirates, that want to wage war but do not have an aggressive military. Their mercenaries have fought in Yemen, Syria, and Libya in recent years.
Turning profit motive into a war strategy, Syria rewards mercenaries who seize territory from terrorists with oil and mining rights. At least two Russian companies have received contracts under this policy: Evro Polis and Stroytransgaz.
These oil and mining firms then hired mercenaries to do the dirty work. For example, Evro Polis employed the Wagner Group to capture oil fields from the so-called Islamic State (IS) in central Syria, which it did.
Reports show there are about 2,500 Russia-bought mercenaries in Syria. Russia also uses them in Ukraine, and the Ukrainians fight back with their own mercenaries.
The war there is awash in Russian, Chechen, French, Spanish, Swedish, and Serbian mercenaries, fighting for both sides in eastern Ukraine’s bloody conflict.
Mercenaries were ubiquitous in the Ukraine conflict. Companies like the Wagner Group conducted a wide range of secret missions, all denied by the Russian government.
Ukrainian oligarchs hired mercenaries, too, but not for the country’s sake.
Billionaire Igor Kolomoisky employed private warriors to capture the headquarters of oil company UkrTransNafta in order to protect his financial assets.
National Defense University Publishing Press / ABC Flash Point News 2022.
ISIS was the first mercenary group that had tanks, missiles and access to satellite images.
Easier, cheaper and more successful, with draping national flags on coffins?