25 Mercenary Armies Recruited By The CIA

Posted by on August 19, 2013

Mercenary armies have been fixtures in most international armed conflicts. They can be used by both sides of the opposing parties as long as they are properly compensated for their ‘efforts’. However, what is so mind-boggling is the fact that they are part of the overt and covert operations of the CIA. Here are 25 mercenary armies recruited by the CIA in its efforts to provide military support to countries in need.


Volunteer Army, 1917-1918

Even before the Cold War, the United States was open about its hostility to the Bolsheviks of Soviet Russia. During the Red Revolution (Bolshevik revolution) of 1917, the U.S. did not only withdraw its funding for Russia but also greatly opposed the British and French plan to include them as allies against Germany in 1918. To make matters worse, they openly supported the Volunteer Army or the anti-Bolshevik White Army in South Russia not only with funding but with troops as well. Comprising of Cossacks, nobles, volunteers, and peasants; their number grew from 64,000 to 150,000 and were better supplied than their Red counterpart. However, they were often a disordered and a lawless lot.


Ukrainian Partisans, 1945-1952

A large and well-organized partisan army, they were trained and aerially supplied by the CIA to engage in a series of guerrilla conflicts against Nazi Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union during World War II. They began as a resistance group with the goal to establish a united independent national state in the Ukrainian territory but later on developed into a guerrilla army making sporadic attacks against their enemies. The group came to an end in 1952 when the Soviet Union purged their leaders with the use of infiltration and espionage.


Syrian Coup d’état, 1949

The March 1949 Syrian coup d’état led by the Army Chief of Staff Husni al-Za’im has not only ended the initial period of civilian rule, but also ushered in the independent republic of Syria. There were reports that the CIA funded and provided personnel in Za’im’s attempt to seize power, though they both vehemently denied it. However, once in power, Za’im made several key decisions that benefited the United States including the approval of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (TAPLINE), which transports Saudi Arabian oil to Mediterranean ports and improved relations with Israel and Turkey, two allies of the US in the region.


Chinese Brigade in Burma, 1950

After the Second Sino-Japanese War, the People’s Liberation Army broke away from the National Revolutionary Army, which gained a number of warlords and provincial armies after their leaders joined the Kuomintang. They were then used by the CIA to fight Red China after the Burma Campaign, where they had an armored battalion equipped with Sherman tanks as an aid to the Nationalist Chinese regime. However, the Chinese brigade found it more profitable to monopolize the opium trade than fighting for the CIA.


Khamba Horsemen, 1950-1970

During the 1950s Chinese invasion of Tibet, the United States provided support by training several groups of Khampa fighters in modern warfare at Camp Hale in Colorado and transported them back to Tibet with funding and supplies. These fierce warriors, who supported the Dalai Lama until his exile in 1959, had 14,000 fighters at its peak and fought the battle until 1970. There were reports that they were given an annual subsidy of $180,000 to spend on training volunteers and to pay for the guerrilla operations against the Chinese.