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19 August 2017
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OpinionHybrid war as means of Kremlin’s survival

Russia has been delivering weapons to all rogue states with no exception, as well as to non-state actors engaged against nations around the world.

This suggests a pure and simple fact that Russia walks in the steps of the USSR. Furthermore, against the backdrop of the recent “Litvinenko report” issued by a UK court regarding the Kremlin’s complicity in the murder of a turncoat Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, there is a clear understanding that Putin regime, in fact, represents the ultimate evil.

However, the only point of interest remains the scope of Moscow’s tasks in forming its massive arms trafficking agenda. To understand it, a few examples might come quite handy.

First and foremost, the entire policy of a modern Russian state weaves around the interests of the state-owned, or Putin-allies-owned, companies engaged in hydrocarbon exports.

The entire policy of a modern Russian state weaves around the interests of the state-owned, or Putin-allies-owned, companies engaged in hydrocarbon exports.

Thus, as by Russia’s logic, its potential competitors in the field must face maximum obstacles, e.g. the territory to be used for a new oil pipeline, can be torn by war, for example, like it was with the Qatar project of a pipeline going through Syria.

Evidently, Russia needs a leader, or rather a force, in Syria which would ensure continuing hostilities for as long as possible, so that any oil transit through the area was virtually impossible.

It would be logical for Moscow to ensure that such leader should be properly armed to remain in power. Still he should not be capable of crushing his enemies, thus the latter should be well-equipped, too. Under such circumstances, Assad and ISIS coupled with Kurds battling against Turkish authorities act as a foil to each and, all-in-all, to the benefit of Russia, leaving the region in a trap of endless destabilization.

However, these hawkish sentiments professed by Russia are not shared by those campaigning for peace in the region. Noteworthy, the anti-chaos advocates in this case, are not just the Western states, but also Israel, which seems to be well aware of the increased threat posed to its northern borders by Russia, Hezbollah and ISIS. For example, Israel-7 reported that ISIS militants had recently received a hefty batch of some cutting-edge weaponry of the Russian make, which since 2014 has regularly been used by terrorist cells operating near Israeli border, according to Israel’s military.

So, in its covert support of terrorists, Russia seeks to create buffer zones full of chaos and blood. The latest illustration of that happen to be the territories of the eastern region of Ukraine, where self-styled DPR / LPR now seek to acquire the trappings of legal state.

Russia seeks to create buffer zones full of chaos and blood.

Meanwhile, Europe is suffocating from the inflow of refugees, many of them from war-stricken Syria, and some even from Russia, as it was on Finland’s border when the FSB reportedly facilitated their travel. There is not much guessing, who benefited the most from this destabilization factor which plants cracks into a pan-European concept of unity. Future restrictions on Schengen travel benefits, increased disputes over fiscal and border control policies regarding migrants, the newest rise of ultra-right forces – all these problems on the European agenda are the perfect music to the Kremlin’s ears.  

So, the more weapons to the madmen – the more havoc. The more chaos means no technological progress and less hydrocarbon competitors. Meanwhile, the more refugees in Europe means less attention from Brussels (as Russia wishes to believe) to the Kremlin’s aggression in eastern Ukraine.  

And Moscow will do anything but slow down its pace of global destabilization, with the latest move to arm its distant situational partner from the Pacific. As reported earlier, Fiji received from Russia some secretive military aid, including arms and training, in what many believe is a Russia’s bid for influence in the Pacific. Considering that the tiny nation has been subject to the U.S. sanctions since 2006, endorsed by the New Zealand and Australia, the tensions will surely rise now in yet another part of the world. Considering that Fiji is Britain’s former colony, the timing for such move by Russia doesn’t seem too vague. It’s the time when London is vocal in accusing the Kremlin of involvement in the Litvinenko’s assassination and set to impose more sanctions on Russia.

The coming months will definitely see several rounds of escalation between Moscow and the West. However, no one would predict where the developments may lead, and what other arguments of the two sides, of even new actors, may be involved in this geopolitical face-off.

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