In the future the Mediterranean issue will realistically be that of dividing it into zones of influence -albeit communicating with one another – and anyway capable of absorbing also the geopolitical and military tension that will emerge in other world regions.
The idea that the Mediterranean can still be a small “European lake” is now to be completely ruled out, because the European Union, but also its individual Member States, or NATO itself have shown they cannot credibly hold any Mediterranean area.
The key event of this demonstration of impotence – and often of frank and overt foolishness – was the Second Balkan War.
As is well known, Tito, alias Josip Broz, died in May 1980.
The clash between Serbs and Slovenes immediately materialized in the Congress of the Yugoslav Communist League on January 20, 1990, but then the army harshly intervened in Slovenia, despite the fact that the secession of the various republics was envisaged by Tito’s Constitution, as also happens in all the Basic Laws resulting from the Communist tradition of the Third International.
We know the rest of the story, but we are interested in seeing how everything is concentrated and merged into that conflict: Islamist radicalisation, at first in Bosnia and later in Kosovo, where petromonarchies and jihad – often combined – entered the scene immediately.
Therefore, the obsession for “minorities” – a naive Americanist dogma – ended up fragmenting Europe and later reducing it to a mockery of sub-optimal rights, laws and statelets.
In the 18th century Germany was made up of 350 small States.
France, Italy and Spain, are now prey to very strong tensions between ethnic groups, linguistic areas and more or less presumed “nations”.
If this fragmentation continues, together with an economic and legal slowdown of the European Union, connected to the very strong immigration from Africa and the Middle East, the European Union will be what Italy was in Count Metternich’s mind, namely “a geographical expression”. Nowadays, however, there will be no American or other troops to save it from the mistakes it has foolishly made and self-inflicted.
This is the first true historical fact.
The second is the Western – especially European – attack on Gaddafi’s Libya which was struck in 2011. A stroke of genius, so to speak, that France had above all against Italy, the true protector of Gaddafi’s Libya.
Jihadists from Cyrenaica, talk about the famous “human rights” – which, when Gaddafi was financing Sarkozy’s election campaign were obviously not a problem – and another attempt to fragment a too big political system for the tiny brain of Western decision-makers: previously Yugoslavia, now Libya.
Now, however, it will be good to say enough is enough. It will therefore be necessary to rethink the Mediterranean in another way, without attempting to make ENI collapse and end in the jaws of Total, or possibly move German companies to Slovenia or Serbia, the only real criterion – at the time – for the division of former Yugoslavia. Today it is not a matter of splitting up, but rather of uniting, if anything.
With a view to immediately rehabilitating Eastern Länder, after reunification, Germany kept its interest rates very high, thus ruining its European competitors.
Germany also sought the break-up of Serbia, while Great Britain and France wanted to use the clauses of the 1920 Treaty.
It was exactly Serbia that strongly resisted the German Reich twice. These things matter. For those who still have it, unlike Italians, memory is a criterion also for judging the present time.
The first rule is to bring into the Mediterranean players capable of opposing the old European regional hegemonies.
Certainly also China. The Belt and Road Initiative currently involves 71 countries, which account for half of the world population and a quarter of the global GDP.
It is hard for the United States to counter this extraordinary mobilization of resources and strategic actions.
Since the United States does not even want to hear about the Chinese 5G, it will be a matter of establishing the areas of influence of the two different technologies.
If the United States does not agree, it may as well go and palm off elsewhere their Five Eyes-style Intelligence Service documentation, which is anyway manipulated and often not fully relevant.
For Asia alone, the World Bank forecasts an investment requirement of approximately 26 trillion U.S. dollars until 2030.
We poor Europeans do not even think of extracting this amount of money for the development of the Mediterranean on our own.
Therefore, it is first of all a matter of organizing a short and very effective “Conference on the Mediterranean”, not only between governments but also between figures who often count more than governments – a Conference capable of redefining the lines of presence of other old and new powers in the Mediterranean region.
China will certainly be able to develop its economic and infrastructure projects in the Mediterranean, but in such a context as to envisage the presence of the Chinese Armed Forces also in the operations for controlling and containing legal and illegal immigration between the Sahel and the whole sub-Saharan region.
The fields of action can be easily defined: let us therefore forget about EUNAVFORMED which, with its very recent IRINI mission, has already demonstrated – if there ever were any need – the irrelevance sine remedio of the European Union.
No ships, in this case, except for a French one, with Italy saying it is coming soon, but also Germany, which is officially distancing itself and break away, and finally Turkey, which is obviously doing its utmost to prevent the mission.
Therefore, the EU is currently paying for the flaw it imposed in the past during the destabilisation phase of the Soviet East: the continuous State and hyper-State factionism. No one to blame but oneself.
Therefore, first of all, a strong Conference for defining the areas of military influence, and hence of possible collaborations, in the Mediterranean region.
Hence China can move in the sub-Saharan area, but for what aim? To obviously have the possibility of exploiting the entire primary sub-Saharan region. And to protect its African development regions in the East. I think China will accept.
France will still be able to endure its African Francophonie. Certainly, but with a series of integrated military mechanisms, present between the Djibouti base, where there is also Italy, but also in other ones, as the one in the Ivory Coast, or the one in Senegal, in the military port of Dakar and in Ouakam.
Here, the mechanism of the New Treaty on the Mediterranean will envisage a parallel presence of Italy, Spain and the United States – if it ever agrees – and also a possible Russian base in the Ivory Coast.
Certainly, by now everything is heading for a new and silly Cold War, but hopefully rationality – at least the scarce and very residual one of the p Union – will make itself heard.
Hence what should the Russian Federation do? Meanwhile, Russia is already in Berbera, on the coast of Somaliland, but it is also interested in Eritrea, as well as in Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique. Russia is also present in the Central African Republic, but it also trains the Armed Forces of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Well, there is no point crying over the milk spilt by the Europeans’ clumsy pacifism.
Within the new division of the Mediterranean, for the Russian Federation there could also be a naval base in Cyrenaica, but less relevant than the one planned together with General Haftar, as well as a new Russian economic presence in the West African coasts, in Benin, Cape Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
For the Mediterranean coasts, we can think about a specific, but obviously not exclusive, development area for Russia, but between Egypt and Morocco.
No one will ever have exclusive zones in the Mediterranean, but all the participants in the New Mediterranean Pact will have a “supervision zone” for their primary development areas.
With a view to ensuring the military stability of the region, we can also think about a Mediterranean Bank, which will be integrated with the primary Investment Banks of the participating countries and will evaluate the new candidates’ proposals. As Napoleon used to say, money makes wars.
A good option would also be a sort of “Integrated Allied Command of the Mediterranean” among all the present Forces. I am perfectly aware it would be a matter of having a unified Command with Russia and China, but the United States should tell us whether it wants to stay seriously in the Mediterranean or if it wants to leave – as for NATO according to President Trump – because the issue is obviously essential.
If others in the world think that the problem of the Mediterranean is only the sloppy and careless theory of “terrorism”, it should be clearly said.
If, on the contrary, it is thought that the issue is broader and more complicated, then it would be good for the United States to participate in a non-NATO South Mediterranean Committee with other States and Organizations.
Also with this new Mediterranean Bank, Spain could stabilize both its old enclaves and enter the great sub-Saharan system, between Algeria and Morocco, which are traditional points of reference for Spain.
The Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea are essential for Spain both for military security and for the purchase of oil and gas.
For France, there are also 1,100 companies with over 2,109 branches in Africa.
The abandonment of the CFA Franc in favour of the ECO is a historic event, but the ECO will anyway be stabilized with respect to the Euro and guaranteed by France.
Here there is a severe problem: either we create a “Mediterranean” currency, which runs parallel to local currencies (here we will not make the same mistake as the Euro), or we plan an area of non-fixed exchange rates. But the idea of a secondary currency would not be bad.
France, however, would certainly not agree. The new Mediterranean currency could also be a mere currency of account, which remains in the Mediterranean but cannot be exchanged in sub-Saharan Africa.
What about Italy? There are approximately 30,000 US military and civilians in Italy.
The problem is that the undeniable economic crisis will lead to a sub-optimal contraction of the Italian Defence budget compared to the U.S. and Italian needs in the Mediterranean region.
Greece may certainly not be a strategic substitute. Now Italy has very different interests in the Mediterranean region, but not necessarily in conflict with the United States.
Hence what can be done apart from the strategy of distributing Nutella to children? The answer is simple: immediately choose our own proxies in Libya – but I am afraid it is too late – and later think about an operational strategy for political and economic penetration in the Mediterranean region and hence also in Africa.
Where? In Central and Southern Africa, but also in the South African Confederation.
Hence Sahel, where most of the migration flows originate, as well as fight against the Islamic State in Southern Sahara, and finally Italy’s participation in the Takuba Force, again between Sahel and the neighbouring countries. However, it is a Force with European-style Rules of Engagement (ROE) – hence in this case reference is again to be made to the above stated Nutella strategy.
With a now superhuman effort of strategic imagination, Italy could pass through the Sahel and Sudan’s border to Tunisia and its neighbouring areas, thus avoiding the Libyan chaos, in which it should operate differently, and later reach the Southern borders of Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.
In this new accurate division of areas of influence, Italy could deal mainly with the Mediterranean coasts and security, while other countries could deal – but obviously not without Italy – with the “poor” and immediate industrialization of the Southern Mediterranean coasts.
Both the new Committee for Mediterranean security, made up of all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean or anyway interested in it, and the above stated Mediterranean Bank, which could act both as a backer of coastal States and as a medium and long-term supporter of the national and international companies present in the Mediterranean Sea, could prove to be useful.
Russia points to evidence exposing Kiev’s intentions to use biological weapons
Documents uncovered in the special military operation in Ukraine corroborate the evidence exposing the Kiev regime’s intentions to use biological weapons, Head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Research Center for Chemical and Biological Threats Dmitry Poklonsky said in the run-up to the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention. “In some cases, the study focused on infectious disease agents that had never been registered on Ukrainian soil,” he said – informs TASS.
“We have obtained reports of investigations into a collection of microorganisms that indicate the accumulation of pathogens in unsubstantiated amounts. There are documents confirming the intentions to acquire unmanned delivery vehicles that could be used for employing biological weapons. Considering the non-transparent nature of this work and the absence of any substantiated responses from the United States and Ukraine, we, of course, regard the documents obtained as proof that Article 1.4 of the Convention was violated,” the defense official said.
The documents obtained in the special military operation in Ukraine, including reports by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the US Department of Defense, corroborate that the nature of work carried out there frequently ran counter to pressing healthcare problems, he stressed.
“In some cases, the study focused on infectious disease agents that had never been registered on Ukrainian soil,” Poklonsky pointed out.
Neither Washington nor Kiev deny the fact of the existence of biological labs in Ukraine bankrolled by the Pentagon, he pointed out.
“It was confirmed by the 2005 agreement between the US Department of Defense and the Ukrainian Health Ministry. Far more questions arise from the nature of the studies being carried out in these biological laboratories and how this work complies with the Convention’s requirements,” the chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Chemical and Biological Threats said.
Psychological Warfare (PSYOPS)- The Pandora’s Box of Security Issues
The world, functioning in its numerous forms and dimensions, is primarily perceived and misperceived by individuals through the faculty of the human Mind. A factor that creates a significant difference vis-a-vis human beings and other species is the complex cognitive ability possessed by humans. The mind is fundamentally an expression of thoughts circulated and imbibed through various means of communication. Deconstructing it further, thoughts portray the information consumed by an individual. In other words, this complex combination of the human mind, thoughts, and information shapes and reshapes our psychology.
Psychological war, in this context, can be perceived as a strategically orchestrated arrangement of information derived from variables like history, polity, religion, culture, literature, and philosophy broadly to channel propaganda with the prime objective of influencing and manipulating the behavior of the enemy to further one own interest. The term Psychological war is believed to be coined by a British Historian and military analyst, J.F.C Fuller, in 1920. One can observe that psychological war as an instrument of strategic importance is not of recent origin. Instead, the evolution of this tactic can be traced long back in history since the emergence of the State. It is considered one of the fundamental tools of statecraft and quite often has been put into the application as an instrument of state policy. Drawing a logical parallel, it can be advocated that psychological war has a close resemblance with the ancient notion of the allegory of the cave when applied in the present context.
Relevance of Psychological War
Napoleon Bonaparte once said “There are two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the mind.” With the gradual progress of human intelligentsia, the world is and will be shaped and reshaped through the use of technology. The hyperconnected nature of a modern globalized world broadly portrays the image of a collective human consciousness deeply engrossed in the overwhelming nature of technology that reverberates with every emerging aspect of human life. When viewed from the prism of the State as a governing body in the international forum, technology will be the emerging axis of geopolitics since no state and its citizen can exist in silos devoid of the influence of other states. This is primarily due to the free flow of data. In this context, due to the free flow of data, the power of propaganda as a significant dimension of psychological war would prove to be an effective instrument used by the State to further its national interest.
In this contextual framework, the role of conscious manufacturing of narratives under the larger ambit of the idea of psychological war must be given due consideration. In his famous book,The Ultimate Goal: A Former R&AW Chief Deconstructs How Nations and Intelligence Agency Construct Narratives, Vikram Sood unfolds the idea of how narratives are created, propagated, sustained, and refined in domestic countries and abroad to further the national interest. He emphasizes not only the power of information but also the power of disinformation to de-track and mislead the collective consciousness of the nation. Therefore, it is of critical significance for a nation to enhance its understanding of psychological war, considering it a major security issue.
The cost and the expense of war are also major concerns for the State. In this regard, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval establishes the viewpoint that wars are gradually becoming ineffective in achieving political and military objectives and that they are also highly expensive and are gradually becoming unaffordable. He further puts forward the idea of the 4th generation warfare where the operational target of the objective would be civil society. A fair understanding of the 4th generation warfare is of critical importance due to the fact that the modus operandi to target civil society would primarily be through the perpetual use of psychological war. The cost of psychological war, when compared with other forms of war, is abysmally low and also highly effective in manipulating the behaviour of the State. The cost-effectiveness helps it be more sustainable, which can be continued for an extended period of time.
Materialisation of Psychological War
Psychological war is applied by many States as an instrument of state policy. China, in this regard, can be considered a prominent player that has materialized this idea. In the strategic book on statecraft, The Art Of War, Sun Tzu states that “All warfare is based on deception.” China has consciously tried to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of psychological war. The Dhoklam issue in 2017 substantiates how the Chinese government used psychological war as an instrument of state policy to further its national interest.
The hostile approach of Pakistan towards India is not of recent origin. Instead, it is a phenomenon that can be traced back in history during the early germination of the idea of Pakistan when the Muslin League was formed in 1906. After the materialization of this idea by a painful partition of India in 1947, Kashmir became the bone of contention right after Pakistan’s inception as a nation-state. Pakistan, over the years, has become cognizant of the conventional asymmetry between the two nations. Therefore, it has operationalized the path of psychological war in the Kashmir region with a more pinpointed approach of using Twitter as an operational instrument to create misperceptions at a low cost to achieve its objectives.
Psychological War and the Indian Perspective
Taking a momentary glance at the historical evolution of India as a civilizational State, it can be rightly stated that understanding the nature of the mind has been a perpetual theme in the philosophical construct of India. The use of psychological war is not a new phenomenon. The references to it can be prominently found in Indian mythology. In this regard, the epic story of The Mahabharatha is a prominent example.
In one of the instances, Krishna applied this idea of psychological war by disclosing a fact to Karna, which hitherto was kept secret and hidden from him. Krishna, just before the war, unfolded the fact to Karna that he is the eldest son of Kunti, his father is the Sun God, and the Pandavas his brothers. This very fact and the timing of the disclosure of this fact put Karna in a deep psychological trauma that depletes his mental strength. It was at this moment that Krishna offered Karna to join the battle from the side of Pandavas. A similar instance of psychological war used by India was found during The Bangladesh liberation war.
In the context of psychological war, Arthashstra is also a relevant text. It mentions the art of Kutayuddha. In Sanskrit, the word Kuta implies the application of deception, the creation of misperception, and misleading the enemy state; Yudh means war. Kautilya is a staunch advocate of establishing a network of espionage to initiate intelligence and counterintelligence measures as a major security initiative for a state. Therefore, it can be rightly perceived that India has a history of psychological war, which it has implemented to maintain security and stability.
Taking an analogical perspective, if the mechanism of psychological war is like a gun, then information is the potential bullets that are fired from it to target the enemy. The flow of Information can be considered the most important factor that makes psychological war lethal, precise, and effective. Therefore, there exists an urgent need for the establishment of an ‘Information Operations Command’ to tackle the issue of psychological war that is rapidly maturing and enhancing in its nature and methodology, fusing with the 5th generation warfare.
Another area of critical importance in this regard is the pressing need for a ‘National Security Doctrine.’ A national security doctrine is primarily a broad vision of a nation in the domain of its security from an inclusive perspective. Strong inter-agency coordination and refined analysis of security issues are needed.
Psychological war, as a rapidly evolving tool of statecraft in the security domain, acts as a linchpin vis-a-vis the 4th and 5th generation warfare where civil society and citizens are targeted with a perfect blend of technology and information. This makes it a war that doesn’t have a start or an end date. It is fought every minute, and progress can be achieved, even though at a minuscule level, but on a daily basis. Therefore, India as a major player in international politics with two hostile neighbors on its eastern and western border, must hold into perspective the scope, significance, and emerging dynamics of psychological war to keep herself abreast with other states at the international level on the security front.
Growing India Israel Relations: A Threat to Sovereignty of Gulf States
India has developed remarkable ties with the Gulf nations, particularly the GCC, over the past few decades. The significant trade between GCC nations and India and Israel are the main cause. This gradualist approach and efforts on part of India is to include Israel in a broader Middle East policy. Under the Namenda Modi administration, since 2017 Israel is “special and normal” because India has avoided the negative repercussions and no longer have fears opened relations with the Jewish state.
However, the point of concern is that India and Israel’s growing ties must not result in a coalition against Muslims. Modi and Netanyahu have many good reasons to rejoice over their thawing ties. But the gulf countries must discredit them if they use that proximity to advance a common narrative of extreme nationalism, exclusion, and labeling Muslims as the enemy.
Since October 25th, 2022, news reports have been making the rounds in the media revealing India’s involvement in global terrorism. Eight former Indian Navy officers have recently been detained in Qatar on suspicion of espionage and terrorism supported by the Indian government. These spy-officers were arrested in August 2022 for their involvement in international terrorism, espionage, and spying while working in Qatar for a private company and providing training and other services to the Qatari Emiri Navy.
Purnendu Tiwari, a retired (Naval commander) who received the Pravasi Samman 2019 (Highest Indian Award Abroad), was the brains behind the transfer of data from a major Gulf Muslim nation to Israel and India. It has been reported in the media that these Indian officers had access to sensitive information while working with Qatar’s enemies and the Defense, Security, and other government agencies. This is not the first time; India has been involved in espionage operations that violate foreign governments’ sovereignty, though it continues to deny it. International terrorism perpetrated by India has also frequently targeted Pakistan in the past. One such instance is the Kalbushan Yadav case.
The relationship between India and Israel is frequently described as a result of a natural convergence of ideologies between their respective ruling BJP and Liked parties. The BJP’s Hindutva and right-wing Zionism are two ethno-nationalist political movements that naturally discriminate against other races and religions because they are based on the majority populations they serve. In comparison to earlier, more liberal iterations of Hindutva and Zionism, both parties have become more racist. Therefore, by all means, India’s continued close strategic, economic, and security ties with Israel are more ideological than pragmatic.
India should make an effort to protect itself ideologically from the threat of Hindutva becoming the state’s guiding principle and a vehicle for incitement both domestically and abroad. Its exclusivist and discriminatory belief that India is only the property of Hindus is dangerous, especially at a time when Muslim minorities are increasingly being lynched in the name of cow vigilantism.
Today, the Gulf is an integral part of India’s ‘extended neighborhood’, both by way of geographical proximity and as an area of expanded interests and growing Indian influence. However, as a result of escalating anti-Muslim sentiment and the Hindutva movement’s flawed ideology, the BJP, government is arguably facing its most difficult diplomatic challenge in its nine years in office. A few years ago in 2020, Muslim nations were outraged by Nupur Sharma’s (a BJP official) insulting comments made during a TV debate about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islamic-majority nations voiced their opposition through tweets, official statements, and by summoning Indian diplomats. The BJP was compelled to take action against the party officials for posting a screenshot of offensive tweet.
Subsequently, Princess Hend al-Qassimi of the UAE then made a rare public statement in response to the rising Islamophobia among Indians, saying in a tweet, “I miss the peaceful India.” She did this after she specifically called out a tweet from an Indian resident of the UAE as being “openly racist and discriminatory,” reminding her followers that the penalty for hate speech could be a fine or even expulsion. These statements come after the Islamic world, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, urged India to act quickly to defend the rights of its Muslim minority and expressed concern about how the BJP treats Indian Muslims.
This suggests that the relationships New Delhi has worked so hard to build over the past few years drawing on the efforts of the previous administration is now seriously in jeopardy. India’s diplomatic achievement is starting to fall apart due to domestic developments that target its 200 million Muslims. The flagrant mistreatment of India’s Muslim communities now jeopardizes New Delhi’s carefully crafted Middle Eastern diplomacy, particularly with regard to the Gulf States.
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