The Renewed Dependency on Mercenary Fighters – DER SPIEGEL

Increasingly, governments that are involved in military conflicts are turning not to their own countrymen, but are instead relying on foreigners who they pay as mercenaries. Countries like Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Iran are ignoring other countries’ borders and sovereignty, sending hired guns into foreign countries because they don’t like the regime in charge, because they want access to natural resources – or because mercenaries belonging to their enemies are there. It is yet another example of countries seeking to occupy the vacuum left behind by the accelerating withdrawal of the United States.

Hiring mercenaries is a way of fighting a war on the cheap. Regional actors can go into battle with little risk and at relatively low cost. Leaders can engage in conflict without having to answer for the body count. The fighters themselves, meanwhile, have few protections because of their dependence on their paymasters. Mercenaries are fighting in numerous conflicts around the world, including in Syria, Yemen and Libya.
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