get yer ya-ya’s here

Studying NATO’s “Hybrid Warfare”
South Front, Jan 16 2020

The NATO leadership is consistently introducing new ways of influencing its adversaries, be they real or potential. Today, there is a great deal of talk about NATO engaging in so-called “hybrid warfare,” while previously Russia, Iran, China and other NATO rivals had been vilified as states that carry out such activities. Actually, the term, similar to the concept itself, appeared inside the Euro-Atlantic bloc and provided for an integrated approach to the conduct of confrontation in the information society. Initially, the concept of “hybrid confrontation” or “hybrid warfare” was based on the “Warden’s Five Rings Theory”: leadership, system essentials, infrastructure, population and fielded military forces. Through this theory an image is created of the adversary’s stability, seen as the capacity of each individual element of the system and the connections between them. It is presumed that the most important or most vulnerable of these structural elements should be targeted from a distance. Engaging in direct armed confrontation is only conducted as a last resort.

According to NATO experts, the complex nature of non-linear threats complicates the task of identifying their sources, which are typically anonymous. The balanced combination of methods and means of asymmetric warfare complicates any operational assessment of the current situation, blurs the boundaries between war and peace, significantly complicates the decision-making process and the choice of measures to be used as a response. The following are considered as forms of “hybrid” action:

  • informational and psychological operations against state and military command bodies, personnel of the armed forces and the population of the adversarial state;
  • information attacks on state, military and commercial computer networks and infrastructure;
  • a complete or partial disruption of economic relations, violation of transport communications, the introduction of an embargo and a blockade;
  • organization of protests of opposition movements and destructive actions through “agents of influence”;
  • carrying out armed actions and sabotage by SOF, terrorist groups, or irregular units.

The key principles of carrying out “hybrid warfare” are considered timeliness, surprise and secrecy. The initial phase of the conflict, according to the NATO alliance, is the deliberate and planned destabilization of the domestic political situation in the state through an aggressive information campaign.

In the context of the developing crisis, SOF are transferred to the territory of the adversary state with the task of taking control of key objects of state and military command, as well as information and communication infrastructure. At the same time, large military drills are organized for the greater conventional armed forces, demonstrating the possibility of a large-scale military intervention. In the future, it is presumed that an outbreak of hostilities would be organized, using the armed forces of the opposition, separatists, bandit groups and organized crime, in conjunction with the most active propaganda and information technology pressure on facilities of the adversary’s infrastructure. After effectively  undermining the sovereignty of a part of the territory of the adversary state under control, measures are taken to legislatively consolidate its new status, change the political and territorial structure, and permanently deploy NATO units and sub-units. Despite the relative novelty of the term “hybrid warfare” itself (used within NATO since 2014, a bibliography on the topic can be found here), the development of measures and methods to exert comprehensive pressure on the adversary have been ongoing in the West for several decades. Since the late 1990s, this approach has been known as a combination of forces, means, approaches and methods of “soft power” for military and military-political purposes. It later received the name “NATO Comprehensive Approach” to guarantee security. The corresponding concept was approved at the NATO Riga Summit in 2006.

According to the concept and documents developed on the basis of the Comprehensive Approach, the plan is to achieve NATO’s goals through cooperation with international and regional non-governmental organizations and local opposition, as well as with criminal structures at every stage of development of the crisis. At the same time, military, reconnaissance, sabotage, and diplomatic tools are to be employed for the prevention of reaching the undesirable scenario of open conflict. The most significant portion of the “hybrid” actions of the bloc is the information-psychological confrontation. Throughout all of their operations in recent years, NATO allies have continuously influenced their target audiences through psychologically sophisticated propaganda. The US and NATO seek to completely eliminate the “information vacuum” that could be used by the adversary state. When this isn’t effective, an overwhelming information-technology domination in the global information space is employed. The key role is played by MSM. In this case, a model of interaction is used, the essence of which is the formation of a group of “privileged” media, all of whom are provided with priority rights in the coverage and interpretation of events. This is supported by the full technological power of leading information platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Tweeter, etc.

Particular significance is traditionally attributed to the use of direct disinformation, distortion of facts, ridicule and other methods of information-psychological influence. In the scope of the development of the concept of “hybrid warfare”, NATO is taking active measures to protect against asymmetric threats and to develop offensive asymmetric means of influence. In particular, over the past three years, NATO has revised its “Crisis Response System Manual” and its “Defense” plans. In 2015, the approved NATO “Hybrid Warfare Strategy,” focused on countering the methods of “hybrid warfare.” In accordance with the document, the main objectives of the alliance are defined as follows: timely detection of the “non-linear” threat and its source; convincing a potential adversary of the unattainability of the goals pursued by it, and the implementation of measures to ensure the internal security of the member states. In the best traditions of the language of double standards, the terms “protection and security” hide the offensive nature of the measures being developed. At the Alliance’s summit in Warsaw in 2016, the Allies pledged themselves to the “Commitment to Enhance NATO’s Resilience.” The document recorded the intention of NATO countries to develop an “individual and collective ability to withstand the whole spectrum of challenges from any direction.” At the same time, special attention was paid to strengthening the civilian sector, including ensuring the continuous functioning of government bodies and the uninterrupted operation of critical national services, improving the security of critical infrastructure, and providing support to civilian enterprises and companies in the energy, transport and communications sectors. Thus, the entire civil and business infrastructure of the countries of the alliance members are interlocked with the military component.

Given the complex nature of hybrid threats, the difficulty of their identification and the devastating nature of their consequences, the leaders of NATO countries did not exclude the possibility of involving mechanisms of “collective defense” (Article 5) in response to asymmetric aggression. Consequently, at the NATO Summit in Brussels in 2018, it was decided to form counter-hybrid support teams, which provide tailored targeted assistance to Allies upon their request in preparing against and responding to “hybrid threats”. In this case, “hybrid threats” can be defined as any non-military actions that run counter to the interests of NATO. At the same time, the number of personnel that comprise the NATO Response Force were increased from 25,000 to 40,000 troops. This included an interspecific Very High Readiness Joint Task Force numbering 5,000 troops capable of deploying within 2 to 7 days. The concept of enhancing the NRF VJTF was revised in detail, a Joint Intelligence and Security division was formed in the International Secretariat, and the NATO Situation Centre, which is part of NATO HQ, was transformed into a 24/7 operation.

An important role in countering “non-linear” threats is achieved by establishing capabilities in the field of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity refers, inter alia, to the activity of objectionable mass media. The main directions of development were formulated in the “Cyber Defense Pledge” from 2016. They propose the development of a cooperation between national structures in the field of information technology, enhancing and increasing data exchange, staff development, and education regarding relevant issues during operational and combat training. Cyberspace was introduced as a field of warfare. Additional multimillion-dollar budgets were allocated, for waging war in the new cyber domain between 2017-2020. In 2018, the NATO Council decided to establish a Cyber Operations Center in Monet, Belgium, the operational readiness of which should be achieved by 2023. The new coalition body is presumed to have a special focus on identifying the sources of threats in the information sphere. In the interests of identifying actions in the information environment that are considered aggressive, NATO countries collect data on the use of telecoms facilities and information distribution channels. At the same time, large-scale campaigns are launched to discredit objectionable media, including by employing technical and administrative resources and the introduction of strict censorship.

Trump Transforms the Middle East into NATO’s “Area of Responsibility”
Valery Kulikov, New Eastern Outlook, Jan 20 2020

There’s been no shortage of cultural and political figures over the last couple of centuries who would show interest towards the incredibly rich history of the Middle East. Essentially, this region gave birth to economy as we know it, a handful of ancient civilizations on top of three of world’s major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Pindostan started showing interest towards the Greater Middle East (that includes North Africa, Iran and Afghanistan on top of the Levant) as early as in the 19th century, when 20% of its maritime trade was with the Middle East. However, a lot has changed since those days, both in Washington’s assessment of the role that the Middle East plays in the global affairs and in the way it approaches individual players of this region. In the aftermath of WW2, in a bid to win trust of the people of Asia and Africa, Faschingstein opposed attempts made to preserve the British Empire and ousted the UK from the Middle East. This resulted in the Arabs taking Faschingstein’s peaceful intentions at face value, as they assumed that it would try to bring stability to the region. However, it didn’t take long for Pindostan to start subjugating Israel to its will, and then proceeding with attempts to push the USSR out of the Arab world, in spite of the latter remaining a principal advocate of the socio-economic transformation of a great many of Middle Eastern states. These days, with a grand total of 52 Pindo bases scattered across the region, there’s no arguing that Pindostan is hell-bent to dominate the region and its policies, with the local governments being treated as obedient puppets that are only there to wilfully provide a resource base for the sole hegemone. This determination results in Washington finding itself unable to compromise on a number of objectives that can hardly be achieved independently, while one’s desire to secure them all at the same time can only be described as a dangerous delusion. Among those objectives are ensuring America’s control over the entirety of hydrocarbon production of the region, preserving Israel’s primacy in regional affairs, limiting Iran’s role and the influence it enjoys, ensuring that those wealthy regional players carry on buying American weapons in large quantities. Therefore, it is not surprising that these days Arabs can often be heard saying:

It’s dangerous to get on the list of enemies of Pindostan. It’s twice as dangerous to end up on the list of its closest allies.

In a world where the Middle East acquires 35% of the world’s total arms sold each year, Turkish journalists go above and beyond to draw attention to the fact that all of these weapons are being used against Muslims! Therefore, it can be safely stated that the stage is set for even more bloodshed among Muslims by Faschingstein and its vassals that want to control the region by maintaining chaos across it. In fact, these days the region is endangered by the prospects of a major war. In a situation when regional peace is hang by a brittle thread, a single rash step can trigger an all-out conflict. It’s most likely that any such conflict will have far-reaching global ramifications and that the fighting will be taking place all across Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iran and the Persian Gulf. Unfortunately, such a scenario will results in ever greater strengthening of the Pindo military presence in the Middle East and the calls to draw NATO into the Middle East to police the region. It’s noteworthy that Trump has already urged NATO to make a step in that direction in the aftermath of assassination of Gen Qassem Soleimani. As it’s been reported, at the beginning of the year Trump proposed expanding NATO’s membership to include Middle Eastern nations in light of recent Pindo tensions in the region with Iran. As it’s been stated by the sitting POTUS:

I think that NATO should be expanded, and we should include the Middle East. Absolutely, because this is an international problem.

Even though Donald Trump has so far failed to clarify which Middle Eastern nations he would want to invite into NATO, this mutual-defense alliance created during the Cold War in a bid to impede the expansion of Russia’s influence has a total of 29 members today, which constitutes a considerable increase from its original 12 members. So far it has been made up entirely of North American and European nations, except for Turkey, which is partially located in Asia. It may seem funny that Trump comes up with all sorts of childish names like NATO-ME for the step that Pindostan is about to take, but chances are the consequences of such a step may leave us little to no room for laughter. In fact, Trump has been asking European countries to join the Pindo campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran for months, but it seems that it’s been a hard sell, at least for the time being. The State Dept has also been hard at work bringing Trump’s initiatives into fruition. Pompeo has recently concluded a series of phone conversations with foreign ministers of the better part of the NATO member-states that was supposed to get them behind this new development. Stoltenberg has already agreed with Pompeo that NATO was in position to make a greater contribution to “regional security” and the “fight against international terrorism” across the Middle East, as we learn from the joint statement released by the State Dept and NATO HQ. Some 700 servicemen of the 82nd Airborne Division have already left for the Middle East, and they are going to be joined by another 3,500 paratroopers in the nearest future. It’s hard to tell what is the most probable outcome of Faschingsteinn’s new designs. It is quite clear that when such “efforts” are taken, no sane person will be expecting anything but more feud and bloodshed. As Pindostan lost all of its credibility across the world, the Middle East entered a phase of regrouping of forces, when new alliances are being formed. However, the processes that are taking shape before our own eyes suggest there’s going to be a large-scale regional conflict involving a number of countries at once. The fires of the upcoming war are to be seen everywhere, from Libya to the Persian Gulf. >That is why it’s the principal goal of the international community today is to stop this militaristic insanity and to seek a peaceful solution to the armed conflicts that are being artificially created by Faschingstein.

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