Obviously the security system of the Russian Federation was made up of the remains of the KGB, which had been deliberately and perhaps unreasonably disbanded in 1991.
A large part of the “Committee” was destroyed without any plan and then some KGB elements were redistributed in other agencies or even in other non-intelligence offices, by always trying to put the offices and the security apparatus in competition with each other.
A reasonable idea, but to be used in a non-exclusive way.
It should be noted, however, that after the Cold War the Russian Security Services were rebuilt and changed on the basis of the American model.
Not because the United States had won the “Cold War”, but because it still had as many as 17 different services in operation – and this is was a mistake also there.
Nevertheless, even before 1989, the end of the global confrontation had already weakened and marginalized the Western structures.
The political intelligence unit in the United States was abolished in 1985, as was the General Intelligence Division of the FBI.
In Great Britain the unit against “subversive activities”, known as F Branch, shifted from MI5 to counter-terrorism. The basic criterion there – which seems questionable today – was to operate counter-espionage only domestically and espionage only abroad. The divide and rule strategy of politicians over the intelligence services. But also a guarantee of inefficiency and information “holes” one after the other.
Post-communist Russia, however, did the same: the KGB was dismantled, with the Border Troops assigned to another ad hoc Agency and the communication troops to FAPSI, another new Agency, while the secret bunkers were largely removed or assigned to a simple office of the Presidential Administration.
However, the system born of the KGB’s disintegration imposed authoritatively lasted until 1998.
In 1991 Yeltsin also tried to establish a single Ministry for Security and Internal Affairs – an old reform that had been started by Stalin in 1953 before the Constitutional Court stopping it.
Certainly no country can currently afford such a concentration of power as the one resulting from a Single Service. Especially the kleptocratic ruling classes or, as often happens in the West, the completely incompetent ones. Or both.
In this case, the long war between the ruling classes and the intelligence Services would be won by the latter.
It is not necessarily always a bad thing.
The threats to Russia, however, were not particularly strong in the early 1990s – hence the Russian intelligence Service could be changed quite radically, albeit with the due bureaucratic slowness. And without too much damage, except for the lack of news about the relationship between the operators of the klepto-liberal transformation of the economy and the ruling class. It is not strange since it was exactly the goal it was intended to be achieved.
The “liberalization” of the post-Soviet Russian economy was the aim, while the mandatory silence of the intelligence Services or their participation in the klepto-system was the means.
Most of the KGB, especially the section related to counter-espionage, was rebuilt as Federal Security Service (FSB).
The First Central Directorate, dealing with foreign operations and espionage, became the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
The 6thand 8thChief Directorates of the KGB, already operating in electronic and signal intelligence, were merged and reorganized into a new Agency, the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI), based on the explicit model of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The 15thChief Directorate of the KGB became the Presidential Directorate for Special Programs, responsible for the protection of the country’s most secret and sensitive infrastructure, while the First Directorate for Security, i.e. the 9th Chief Directorate of the old KGB, was aimed at protecting the country’s most important personalities.
As noted above, the Border Troops became an autonomous administration.
Yeltsin himself made sure there was maximum competition between the intelligence Services and Agencies, also to prevent his Ministers from knowing about matters before, only or better than him. But the problem lies in understanding, not “having information before the others”. If the statesman does not succeed in understanding, there is nothing that can make him perceive a new idea, initiative or operation from a note of the intelligence Service. Nothing.
There are those who are born councillors for traffic, while there are those who are born statesmen. And we have far too many of the former ones, even second-rank ones.
The SVR competed even with the GRU (the Military Service) and the FSB, which then really rivalled with FAPSI.
Within the Presidency, there were also the Services that Russia called “sociological”: the GAS to monitor the socio-political (and economic) situation in the regions farthest away from Moscow; the Vybory(“elections”), which served precisely to monitor the electoral processes; the networks in charge of monitoring administrative costs. Efficient even today.
In 1993, the system of internal competition within the intelligence Services was even strengthened. In fact, in 1993 the Tax Police was also established, competing directly with the FSB’s Department for Economic Security.
In Putin’s hands those structures, but above all the Tax Office, became the main, but very selective tool against the “oligarchs”. Friendly oligarchs were chosen, while the others were forced into exile or into a few visits to Siberia.
Such a rational and practical choice not to destroy the system, which would have been fatal, and a way to remain in power.
Excessive competition between the intelligence Services, however, can lead to dangerous infighting for State stability and, above all, for information reliability. Hence the Presidency tried to put a limit to this “blame and killing game” as well.
In 1998, in fact, the idea of putting back together all the numerous pieces into which the old KGB had been shattered was revived, so as to prevent the excessive competition between the Structures from destroying the very function of intelligence.
It was only in 2003, however, that – after rising to power – Putin abolished the Federal Tax Police Service, as well as FAPSI and finally the Federal Agency for Border Troops and some other offices.
Instead, the “State Committee for combating Illegal Drug Trafficking and Trade” was created. The Border Troops became part of the FSB and FAPSI was once again divided between the FSB and the Federal Security Service, which had remained intact in the midst of the various and often very complex “reforms”.
The FSB was immediately given full and almost direct control over the Interior Ministry.
Nevertheless, once again the reconstruction-fragmentation of the Russian intelligence services partly spared the 5th Chief Directorate of the KGB, led and invented by Yuri Andropov, dealing with “political investigations”.
As Andropov himself used to say, the 5th Chief Directorate had been created to “fight ideological subversion inspired by Soviet enemies abroad”. Just think that when he became Secretary of the CPSU, some slovenly Italian daily newspapers told about his “passion for jazz” and “modern art”. Nothing forbids it, of course, but Andropov would not hesitate for a moment to send certain artists to the cold Siberia.
The 1st Department of the 5thChief Directorate was specialised in the infiltration and control of trade unions; the 2nd one operated against the domestic and foreign centres which supported Soviet dissidents abroad; the 3rd one operated within the student world. There were as many as 15 Departments only within the 5thChief Directorate, with the 14thDepartment responsible for controlling foreign journalists, the 13thone for keeping an eye on punks and spontaneous groups and the 8thone for Jews. All of them employed as many as 2,500 people.
With a view to “cleaning up” the image of the 5thChief Directorate, in 1989 it was renamed “Chief Directorate for defending Constitutional Order”, but it was formally eliminated in August 1991.
After seven years, in 1998, the new Chief Directorate for protecting the Constitution was established within the FSB.
As the Russian Presidency maintained, it operated in the “socio-political sphere” against “internal sedition” which – as Yeltsin said – had always been “more dangerous than external invasions”.
Later that Department was merged into the one for “Combating Terrorism”. Correctly, the Russian intelligence Services have always separated “terrorism” from “subversion” – a sign that their political analysis is subtler and more refined than the Western one.
In 2002, however, again for fear of concentrating too much power in one single Service, the Counter-Terrorism Service was divided in two.
It is incredible how an Intelligence Agency could have worked with this continuous institutional fragmentation.
The BT Service, i.e. the Counter-Terrorism Service, was incorporated again into the FSB but with a new name, i.e. the SZOKS and the BPeh, i.e. the “Service for protecting the Foundations of the Constitutional System” and the “Service for combating Political Extremism”, respectively.
It should be noted that the fight against terrorism was always separate from the one for “protecting the Constitution”.
In those years, a new Russian need emerged, i.e. the control of neighbouring foreign countries, namely the CIS.
The Russia-Belarus Federation, which we currently see actually in operation, was developed in 1999.
In 2005, however, the need arose for the FSB to carry out serious operations also beyond the neighbouring foreign countries, for example in Europe and North America.
From that moment on, the Russian Services have been above all very careful not to let the colour revolutions – typical of the Western Services’ current approach to the destabilisation/isolation of the Russian Federation – break out in their “buffer zone”. All this started -in the Serbian “democratic” transformation – with the OTPOR network, organized in the U.S. Embassy to Hungary, as well as in the U.S. foundations’ networks and – long live the unaware powerlessness – even in the European ones.
Meanwhile, also against the colour revolutions, the FSB became a real old-style intelligence agency, with its brand new “Directorate for the Coordination of Current Information” (UKOI) and the “Directorate for strategic planning, analysis and forecasting” (DAPSP) that both became the most important and powerful bodies of the Service.
Pending Putin’s rise to power and his first years of government, also the GRU and the SVR resumed their former function as real intelligence agencies.
In 2005, however, in the post-Soviet elite’s enthusiasm for new names, the structure that organised relations with the CIS countries, within the FSB, was again renamed as “Current Information Service”.
As mentioned above, in 2003 the Border Troops had been definitively brought back into the FSB.
The Russian Federation always remained a “police state” and there were two other bodies that dealt with borders and were not led by the Kremlin.
They were the “Counter-Terrorism Centre of CIS countries” and the internal control system of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
In 2006, the Duma also approved the establishment of a special Service for eliminating terrorists abroad. I wrote “eliminating” since a Service also has to do with certain phases of life.
We were always in the sensitive and long phase of the handover between Yeltsin and Putin, namely in 2000 – the year when Vladimir Putin placed part of the FSB within the Armed Forces, a stronghold of the excellent GRU which was never significantly manipulated by politicking.
The FSB immediately organized a “Directorate for the North Caucasus” and for military counterintelligence in that region. That was the geographical and strategic objective. The Service’s modus operandialso changed: from 2003 onwards, the FSB and the SVR not only disclosed the confidential information they collected, but also interpreted it – something that the old KGB would never have dared to do.
The “KGB” was excellent, like all the Services that have a real State behind them (a current issue for Italy to meditate and reflect), especially for operations abroad and for penetration in other regions of the world – as in Italy, for example – but it never dared to interpret the data it collected, thus hopelessly waiting for the para-Marxist and ossified blah-blah of the Kremlin.
Given the pseudo-Marxist chatter, those working for the KGB did as they pleased. Good old days.
Hence information arrived, almost without being processed, but only on the desk of the Director of the KGB (and then, for a while, also of the FSB) and he was the only one to select the data he deemed important.
The data collected by the Service was then sent to the various departments of the Central Committee and – reading between the lines – that was the Party’s control over the KGB.
In the 1990s, other Directorates were added to the Lubjanka, such as the Psychological Service, which was interested in mass phenomena and counterpropaganda.
The open source analysis, which is currently so important for all intelligence Services, did not exist as such at the time. Neither before nor after the fall of the Soviet regime.
There was, if anything, the study of errors and exact evaluations made by the Service in previous years and for similar cases. Too little.
There was also the new campaign, organized through the many complacent Western channels, to create the “myth” of the FSB – as years before that was dome for the KGB, certainly a very good Service, but not as extraordinary as the propaganda, including the Western one, let us believe.
For a Service, however, propaganda must always be well organized and supported, unlike what happens in Italy, where it seems that the intelligence Services are mainly represented by the militants of the extreme left organisation known as “Avanguardia Operaia”.
Just to make an example, one of those old militants was also Interior Minister for a right-wing party.
With great irritation and anger of former President Francesco Cossiga, who voted an individual motion of no confidence against that political leader.
Still today, the Soviet Services – albeit excellent and efficient (especially from an operational viewpoint) – are born from this long odyssey between uncertain ruling classes, sectoral and often “biased” evaluations, incompetent politicians. Currently a fundamental role is played by Putin, who has revived competition between the Agencies, although in a more complex and Kremlin-controlled way. After Vladimir Vladimirovic’s leadership – and this is certainly one of the aims of current Western operations – the Russian Services will be plunged again into the chaos resulting from an often para-criminal political polyarchy.
The role of maritime power
The maritime environment is both a means of transport and a resource. The first aspect is obviously expressed through what is transported by ship: containers, oil, minerals, many objects and many resources of our daily life have passed through the sea before we use them. Data also crosses the sea, since submarine cables are the heart of the Internet, constituting the “real” face of the “virtual” world. For the second aspect, that of resources, it is either food, with mainly fishing, energy, fossil with oil and gas, or renewable with wind turbines and tide turbines, or minerals, starting from sand, whose exploitation is little known, but essential for many activities including construction.
It was from the fifteenth century, which corresponded to the beginning of the great discoveries, that the control of the seas became an important topic. At that time, the British Sir Walter Raleigh theorized its importance: “Whoever owns the sea holds the trade of the world; whoever holds the trade holds the wealth; whoever holds the wealth of the world owns the world itself ”. Gradually, the United Kingdom becomes the maritime superpower par excellence, supplanting a Spain and Portugal soon exhausted by the colonization of a South America too big for them and unable to compete with a France that is too terrestrial. At the end of the 19th century, Britain controlled major sea routes and her empire was vast, with the great outdoors of Australia and Canada and the British Indies.
But the entry into the twentieth century coincided with the arrival of a new actor in the oceans, the United States. The theorist in charge here is Alfred Mahan, who has updated Raleigh’s theory by specifying that control of the sea passes through that of sea routes and that in this matter everything is played at the level of the straits. The pivotal year in this sense is undoubtedly 1914: it corresponds to the inauguration of the Panama Canal, a maritime passage controlled by Uncle Sam, but also to the beginning of the First World War, which at the same time weakens the United Kingdom, due to of the energy spent in the conflict that does not compensate for territorial gains in Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific. The turning point that completes the transformation of the United States into the great maritime power of the second half of the 20th century is World War II. Europeans, including those belonging to the victorious camp, are too weakened to maintain their historical prerogatives, especially when colonial empires become complicated to maintain for political as well as demographic reasons.
The United States emerged from the war with a colossal military and merchant fleet (thanks, among other things, to the Liberty ships), and was able to reconstitute those of its new allies in the Western camp. Moreover, this aid does not prevent the Americans from making their own interests prevail over those of their allies, as with the Suez crisis where they countered the Franco-British intervention that had militarily managed to regain control of this strategic channel with diplomatic means. This domination of the seas was hardly contested by the Russians, reduced to an asymmetrical confrontation, symbolized by submarines. It is important to stress that Russia does not have direct access to the oceans, a resource of the United States.
In 1990, the Soviet Union collapsed, but a phantom threat already hovered over the almighty awakening of America, that of China. Under the impact of Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms, its economy was starting to become competitive and the country was using its huge pool of cheap labor to become “the factory of the world”. This economy is export-oriented and generates colossal shipping traffic, to which the Dragon is adding its touch: rapidly, Chinese shipping companies and shipbuilding are becoming key players in their respective sectors. From a military point of view, the Middle Kingdom had an almost insignificant navy in the late 1980s, but today it is second in the world behind the United States, even if the latter maintain a good advantage.
On land, the Chinese strategy consists first of all in controlling the space contained within a first chain of islands corresponding to the East China Sea and the South China Sea, even if in the latter it means not respecting the rights of other coastal states. or even intimidate Taiwan, the “rebel province”. The next step is to dominate the space within a second chain of islands located further offshore, which would put China in direct contact with US possessions, with the risk of confrontation that this entails. The so-called “pearl necklace” strategy, consisting in the development of Chinese infrastructures in the Indian Ocean, also connects the Middle Kingdom with another competitor, India, which wishes to assert its rights in this space that India considers its courtyard. Finally, China inaugurated its first overseas naval base in Djibouti in 2018, and others may follow in the years to come, such as Walvis Bay in Namibia. This expansion solidifies China’s rank as a world power, while Russia has lost most of its network of naval bases around the world with the collapse of the USSR.
The power of the sea is composite, made up of elements that multiply each other more than they add up. The first of these is access to the sea, without which nothing is possible. Therefore, the United Kingdom, an island country, is naturally predisposed to the projection of maritime power. The United States, bordered by two large maritime spaces, is also favored. For Russia, things are less obvious, as for China; in fact, the goal of the pearl necklace strategy is both to allow access to the sea from peripheral regions such as Xinjiang and to control sea routes. Moreover, in its time, Russia had tried to develop its access to the sea with “the race for warm seas”.
Once you have mastered access to the sea, it is necessary to be able to move, thanks to the sea routes and more particularly to the strategic passages. Today, the Americans retain control of it, although the Middle Kingdom tries to weave its web. For example, instead of wanting to get its hands on the Panama Canal, China is supporting a competing canal project in Nicaragua, even if the latter is stopped for the moment. Traffic also requires a merchant fleet, and China is among the champions of shipping and also shipbuilding, where Americans are largely left behind, held back by a protectionist Jones Act that maintains a significant merchant fleet, but marginalized in the globalization.
In general, where terrestrial space is largely controlled by our human societies, the sea escapes this phenomenon much more, to the point that it is still a space to be conquered in many ways. The polar regions, especially the icy Arctic Ocean, but also the seas surrounding the Antarctic continent, constitute a new frontier for humans. The seabed and its mineral resources are also often less known than terrestrial space.
Finally, one last consideration: the Italy – with the exception of the maritime republics – has not been able to exploit its projection of maritime power. And this is one of the reasons, certainly not the only one, that has prevented – and prevents – Italy from having a credible, authoritative foreign policy and above all capable of stopping Turkish hegemonic ambitions.
Indian Chronicle: Exposing the Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan
In recent years Indian hybrid warfare against Pakistan has intensified manifold to malign Pakistan Internationally through disinformation and propaganda tactics. Hybrid warfare has mainly been described as achieving war-like objectives with the help of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda. The Objectives of Hybrid warfare are mostly to secure long term victory against the opponent. Similarly, India has launched massive hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which was uncovered by EU DisinfoLab in its report called “Indian Chronicle”.
EU DisinfoLab is an independent organization working to expose and tackle disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union and its member states. The organization has claimed that the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005, “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.
In a recent investigation EU DisinfoLab has exposed a malicious Indian campaign against Pakistan. In the report, “Indian Chronicle” EU DisinfoLab has exposed the dubious use of media outlets, NGOs, and fake personnel by India to malign Pakistan. The disinformation campaign mainly targeted the United Nations and the European Union through more than 750 fake media outlets and 10 fake NGOs. According to the report, “uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. We could tie at least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.”
According to the report the disinformation campaign is supported by the Srivastava group. The Srivastava group has helped in “resurrected dead NGOs” to spread fake news. The report says that “Our investigation led to the finding of 10 UN-accredited NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, which our full report introduces at length. Their common trait? The fact that they all rose from the ashes of real NGOs. Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings,”.
Moreover, Asian News International (ANI), a major news agency in India has provided a platform for suck fake news campaigns. The aim of the Srivastava group and ANI media outlet is “to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings” in India, and “internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN”.
The report claim that the organizations funded by the Srivastava group-sponsored trips for European Parliament members to Kashmir. “The organizations created by the Srivastava Group in Brussels organized trips for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Some of these trips led to much institutional controversy, as the delegations of MEPs were often presented as official EU delegations when they were in fact not traveling on behalf of the Parliament,”. Such sponsored trips aimed to build a positive image of India, while spreading disinformation about the alleged claims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.
Moreover, India has been actively involved in portraying Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state through its disinformation and fake news technique. For instance, India is lobbying strongly at FATF to put Pakistan on the blacklist.
India has also supported and sponsored Baloch separatist leaders and spread disinformation through their fake media outlets as mentioned in the EU DisinfoLab report.“These UN-accredited NGOs work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks and minority-rights NGOs in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them – like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House, and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) – were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,”one of the examples is Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy who was captured in Pakistan.
The Indian Chronicle report has exposed the dubious face of India and the administrative structure of the United Nations and the European Union. Indian involvement in the spread of disinformation and resurrection of dead people and NGOs has exposed its long-standing for Human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, the reports have also exposed the administrative structure of the UN and EU, as they failed to notice the activities of fake UN-accredited NGOs and spread of disinformation through their affiliated NGOs.
Hybrid Warfare: Threats to Pakistani Security
‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war’-Giulio Douhet
Hybrid threats are becoming a norm in Pakistan and if we want to move forward in this age of technological advancements, cybercrimes, and the use of social media, we must have a wholesome response mechanism.
Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs not only conventional forms of warfare but irregular with it as well. It involves propaganda, cyber-attacks, state-sponsored terrorism, electoral intervention, and many more means of multi-dimensional approaches towards war which are used by militarized non-state actors. The term ‘Hybrid’ came into use around 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars – Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) and became a hot-topic in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Using non-confrontational means can lead to internal struggles and crumbling of the target. What direct force won’t get you can be easily achieved by infiltration and multi-faceted resources. It’s neither character of war nor its outcome that defines it as a hybrid war, but the changing tactics (“State and Non-State Hybrid Warfare” 2018). In a world where everyone, from wealthy states to those caught in throes of hunger, is armed to the teeth, there are ways to achieve socio-political objectives through the use of violent and non-violent non-state actors.
Pakistan – A Target
Pakistan has risen to incredible heights despite it being a relatively young nation and this is only proved further by the interest international players have in its internal workings. Several factors contribute to the important stature Pakistan holds in the international community such as the Pak-China alliance, its geostrategic location, military aptitude, Russian interests in the Indian Ocean, Deep Sea Gwadar Port (One Belt One Road Project), neighbor to Afghanistan (a country existing as a battleground for proxies), etc. All these reasons make sure to keep Pakistan on the radar.
Though it may be secure militarily, Pakistan is still vulnerable to hybrid threats due to internal dynamics, numerous conflicting interests of nations in state-affairs, and increasing non-state actors. South Asian nuclearization has all but guaranteed that a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India is unlikely therefore the latter uses hybrid warfare to weaken Pakistan from within.
Evolutionary Nature of War
There was truth to Heraclites’s words when he claimed that change is the only constant in our world. The social theory of evolutionary change tells us that individuals, communities, societies, and states are always in a state of motion, continuously evolving according to the era. War is born from man, it is only fair that if a man changes, so shall war. It has become more complex; the stakes have raised from territorial boundaries to the maintenance of world order and preservation of state sovereignty. Wars are no longer fought on the borders, skirmishes aside, the real destruction takes place within. Due to the paradigm shift after the Cold War (Ball 2018), there rose a need for legal, economical, socio-political, and informational means of warfare. It is used as a way to undermine other nation-states in pursuit of national power; the international system is not only a race but also a way to tear others down.
Threats to Pakistani Security
To secure Pakistan from all sides, we must first analyze the threats it faces from all sides. Conventional Warfare used to be seen as one dimensional and it only perceived assault to be done through the land, air, or sea channels. However, now it is fought in various intangible zones.
India is a budding regional hegemon due to its political and economic growth including hidden agendas. Pakistan is perceived to be a direct threat to India especially after the launch of the CPEC project, perceived to be undermining its hold over the region, which is why it is employing stratagems of hybrid warfare to internally weaken Pakistan. Till now India has used State-Sponsored terrorism, funded insurgencies, operated terror cells, and even sent fighter jets into Pakistani Airspace as an attempt to ruin its reputation in the international community.
There has been growing instability in Afghanistan which has led to mass migrations across the porous border into Pakistan, with around 1.4 million registered Afghans (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2018) and 1 million unregistered (“Amnesty International” 2019). India has its claws in Afghan matters as well and will use it to exploit Pakistan’s weaknesses even after US forces leave the arena. Afghan Government’s poor administrative capability especially after the return of DAESH (Tribune 2020) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan are threats to Pakistan as well as regional peace and are a major cause of lawlessness in the country and has a spillover effect for its neighbors.
Ideologically speaking, Iran is a sectarian threat to Pakistan and its Port Chahbahar stands to lose active traffic once CPEC is fully functional which means it stands as an instigator of hybrid warfare and it would be a risk to overlook it based on past good relations.
Even after the Cold War, strategic rivalry and animosity between the powers including Russia, America, and China still exist. The emergence of China as an economic superpower is perceived as a threat to the US due to which there is a major shift in its defensive posture towards the region.
The US has shown significant interest in Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location but not all interest has yielded positive results. They carried out a surgical strike for the capture and assassination of Osama-Bin-Laden. Such a breach of sovereignty and security is a hybrid threat.
There are several lobbies in Pakistan all vying for their own cause. The Iranian lobby has sectarian undercurrents. Sectarianism has always been one of the leading factors of the divide in the Muslim civilization and is the rising trend of terrorism.Such conflict itself is volatile and is deepening the rift between different sects(Shia-Sunni) of Pakistan, causing unrest.
Rising prices of commodities such as flour and sugar can lead to social unrest and discord. Such industries and their stocks are under the thumb of a select few, the elites. With the right bribes and conditions, even they would agree to sell out society.
Non-state actors are groups or organizations that have influence in the state but work independently and have their socio-political agendas (“Towards a Typology of Non-State Actors in ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Proxy, Auxiliary, Surrogate and Affiliated Forces” 2019). They work on political opportunities and mobilized grievances. Groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are some of the major actors. Pakistan needs to focus on curbing Jihadist Terrorism as it is keeping it from leaving the grey list of FATF.
It refers to the spread of miscommunication. Propaganda and circulation of false news through social media are a relatively common way to cause turmoil in a community. Once a rumor is circling, there is no way to erase it. India claims that Pakistan is spreading the false narrative of ‘Islam being in danger’ to justify its actions, although untrue, is something that the Indians fully believe now. That Pakistani Intelligentsia is made solely to create narratives under which to attack India. Such beliefs further antagonize the states against each other.
Indian Chronicles are a prime example of information warfare being waged against Pakistan.
Channels such as Cyber-Jihad and Dark Web come under the purview of cyber warfare and are a threat to the fabric of society and its security in Pakistan.
Given the above discussed bleak prevailing internal security situation, Pakistan needs to formulate a short to mid and long-term response that curbs all external and internal parties alongside proxies from infiltrating and influencing the working of the state and affecting the masses.
For a full-spectrum approach, all domains should be covered such as diplomacy, defense, internal and external security, economic, informational, cyber, and media security.
There are steps to be followed through for active and effective quelling of hybrid threats. First, a strategy must be put for, then tactical action should be taken and lastly, the implementation process should be supervised and fully followed through.
The main focus of the state should be on deterrence towards, protection from, and prevention of hybrid threats to the state.
One must not forget that Hybrid war is a mix of both unconventional and conventional warfare, therefore a nation-wide response should include the intertwined operational capabilities of armed forces alongside political actors. Pakistan sees its security being threatened both by internal factors and external hostile/proxy elements. This is hampering state development. State-building and nation-building must go hand in hand if counter and deter such threats effectively.
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