I'm admiral general Aladeen, the beloved ruler of Wadiya, who won the elections with 99.999% of the votes. Wadiya is sparsely populated country, very rich in mineral resources. We have one of the highest living standards in the world. Life is good for everyone, well everyone except those from a wrong sect, or those whose tribe that warred against my grandfather, or the poor migrants working under Kafala, or the intellectuals who want free press, or the political prisoners from illegal parties, or the women who can't drive to work but are too poor to hire a chauffeur.

Unfortunately, there is a trouble ahead. The government of my poor southern neighbor might collapse in a year or so, and I need to seal my southern border to prevent criminals, refugees, and various warring factions crossing into my beloved country.

Unfortunately, my loyal army has grown into fat slackers whose could run through deserts and jungles only in video games. My commandos could be deployed on a short terms basis, but I need them at the capital in case someone tries to overthrow me. I've made an offer to Blackwater, but they refused to kill civilians. They've mumbled something about troops that are not part of the national military might stand for trial as mercenaries.

So I've decided to create my own foreign legion, just like the French & the Brits. I'm trying to figure the best way to recruit foreigners and ensure they wouldn't try to overthrow me.

Is it better to recruit from a single country or should I prefer diverse troops?

Should I train my recruits or should I hire only veterans? My training staff isn't stellar but I could hire foreign contractors full of retired officers.

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    $\begingroup$ Oh, I'm getting new word. It turns out that 100% of the current population of my nation voted for me in the last election. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2017 at 3:27
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    $\begingroup$ You use Anti-Arabic prejudices in this scenario. For the question itself it is not necessary to rely on Anti-Arabic racism. $\endgroup$
    – Olga Maria
    May 28, 2017 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ @OlgaMaria What terms in that are racist? Can you suggest edits or note alternatives? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    May 28, 2017 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ @OlgaMaria The question is specific and description of world gives useful idea concerning setting (Arab dictatorship in even more cynical version of RL). Looks fine. To be honest I personally disliked setting described in worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/82093/… but answered it. I'm afraid that then only problem here is that you can't stand someone else setting. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    May 29, 2017 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ @OlgaMaria Racist??? He spoke nothing about skin color. If he is White as you claim, then it is hard for me to overlook that Arabs also belong to White race... What I see is mocking some local practices... like dictatorship... clan society... mistreating women... sectarian violence... mistreating migrant workers... A person from West may indeed look down at such practices. Indeed White guys are responsible for violence and corruption in Arab countries - the Arabs that rule them and those who create their societies. $\endgroup$
    – Shadow1024
    May 29, 2017 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


There's a few traits that are key here:

1) You need to handpick the leadership

Whomever you pick to lead this outfit has to have impeccable military credentials, and be able to establish him/her self as someone worthy of being followed by the soldiers you will recruit later.

Essentially, you need someone who is such a barely restrained psychotic killer that even the most rabid of men your foreign legion is likely to attract would dare question their authority.

If this person also has an incredible (if somewhat tarnished) military career, all the better.

The rest of your cadre will similarly need to be incredibly battle hardened and ruthless individuals.

2) You need to offer new identities

A big incentive to join The Legion is that once you do, you essentially disappear. A wanted murderer, war criminal, or rebel leader is such no more. All are faceless, non-identifiable drones in this unit.

Those joining need to be able to trust that once accepted within those ranks, you will never betray them - unless they make you question their loyalty.

3) You need to operate in utter secrecy

Everyone knows you exist, and everyone may even know who leads the Legion, but no one - and I mean no one - may know the identities of the soldiers within the ranks.

Their military structure is completely separate from that of the regular forces. They answer to no leaders except their own, or you. Furthermore, any disciplinary action can only be taken within their own circle (and should typically be summary execution, because you'll be dealing with some real works of art)

4) You don't get to be picky

You will accept practically anyone who present himself on your doorstep. Murderers, rapists, hooligans, or trained professionals. Give enemy combatants a chance to join up.

However, by the end of the training process they will either be willing tools of destruction, bending to your will, or dead. Let the myth build that anyone who joins, no matter how desperate, is accepted. The truth that most are probably killed in the training will never filter out.

This way you do not discourage anyone from applying, but you do weed out any elements that are just too chaotic. Someone who takes to killing their fellow soldiers because they have no one else to hunt down at the moment should be identified and put down.

5) Build esprit de corps

This unit should not only be highly trained, but also very well equipped. Those who successfully pass the brutal training should have an intense sense of pride instilled into them.

They are the best, of the best, of the best. The second best guys? The Legion killed them, and they know it.

6) Reward them well, and promise more to come

This is not a regular army unit. They are essentially mercenaries bound to you by desperation. In this relationship you hold all the cards (the keys to their former identities, as well as their future one).

Very few of them will achieve "freedom". In fact, most of them will willingly stick around for the killing, and perks - which should be lavish, when possible, to compensate for the insane work conditions they endure the other 90% of the time. Those who do fulfill their contract (10 - 15 yrs of service) should, however, be honorably dealt with.

They should be aware that they need to keep their mouths shut, and will be monitored for the rest of their lives, but word will also spread in the ranks that you keep your word, and there exists a light at the end of the tunnel. This will serve to command loyalty.

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer, another method is what the Romans used, Roman citizenship and land after 20 years service. Means that committed and sane highly trained soldiers rather than just psychos were actually doing it for their descendants as well as themselves. But in Roman, French and English foreign legions one thing was common, brutal discipline to keep soldiers in line. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Mar 30, 2017 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent answer! Only thing that could make it better is a timeline for the building of this force. The question states 1 year, what I think is a bit short for anything useful. The cadre will take the most time, with the food sluggers the least, and if they follow UK marines training, will last the better part of a year. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2017 at 7:34

Use the Yellow Pages. The world is full of mercenary military organizations created by and staffed by ex-military types who want to monetize their skills. Contractors like this are a dime a dozen. However, don't assume they only cost a dime. They don't, expect pay big bucks.

Also, there are many major governments that would love to help create your own Foreign Legion. France might see this as a wonderful opportunity to assist with national goals and this might be an ideal way that their resource companies might get a foothold in your nation.

As an example Gaddafi's Libya didn't have any difficulty in recruiting mercenaries to fill their armies and especially his corps of bodyguards.

Professional mercenaries have no interest in overthrowing their employers. Doing so, only leads to they're not being paid. They're doing this for the money, not to become rulers of countries no matter how resource rich they might be.

Try harder. There are heaps of organizations and corporations in the business. Just ask for an expression of interest and advertise for companies to present their proposals for building your Foreign Legion. These days you can practically buy them off the shelf. Time to go shopping.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure mercenaries wouldn't think twice about overthrowing their employer if there's much more money in it. This means you need to pay them well and on time and you need to make sure killing you is not profitable. This might include extensive espionage and counter espionage to ward off CIA, FSB, Mossad, MI 6, DGSE, etc as well as corporations in case your cooperation with them starts to go poorly. $\endgroup$
    – M i ech
    Mar 30, 2017 at 3:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Miech Sorry! Look at the real world. There are mercenary organizations galore. There isn't more money in it for them overthrowing the governments they work for. These soldiers for hire not governments in waiting. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Mar 30, 2017 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ You really think they wouldn't go for it, if they somehow found out you keep your Swiss bank account credentials taped to the bottom of 2nd lowest drawer in mahogany desk in your palace? Sure they would. You missed the point like elite imperial stormtrooper. Large enough bribe from foreign power or chance to drain your accounts or accounts of your raw materials companies would be enough. Overthrowing governments isn't always done to take over. It can be done to steal stuff, sell country to highest bidder, or because some corp paid enough and already has replacement cabinet picked. $\endgroup$
    – M i ech
    Mar 30, 2017 at 4:05
  • $\begingroup$ And if you ever miss a payment, you are making cost/benefit analysis of betraying you so much less favourable for yourself. $\endgroup$
    – M i ech
    Mar 30, 2017 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ With regards to Libya: that's a very common claim that went around, but in reality there is no evidence Gaddafi ever hired mercenaries. Try taking a look at this long book if you care for an analysis on that, but suffice to say that most of the claims of Gaddafi's supposed atrocities that went around on Twitter, the news media, etc., were made up on the spot without substantial evidence to back them up. I'm not saying your whole answer is bad (it's pretty good, in fact), but you picked a bad example. $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Mar 30, 2017 at 14:23

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