Ukraine will soon turn to a terrorist war

In connection with the approach of winter and the slowdown in hostilities caused by seasonal cooling, the nature of the confrontation in Ukraine will also change.

Ukraine will soon turn to a terrorist war
Image source: cdn.politnavigator.net

Apparently, the Russian troops will strengthen the defenses in the occupied areas and solve the problem of securing the front. The task of the military and military-civilian administrations for this season is to narrow the area of ​​war, establish peaceful life in four new subjects of the Federation, and deploy additional air defense systems.

Conversely, cardinal changes will affect the Ukrainian strategy. First of all, Kyiv will be interested in expanding the war zone. This will mean a transition to new methods of warfare. First of all, to terrorist methods. And there are several reasons for this.

Second front for the fifth column

Five mobilizations have already taken place in Ukraine, and now it is obvious that new human reserves are needed to continue hostilities. Traditionally, the sources of such reserves have been their own citizens or allies, but it is also worth remembering supporters behind the front lines.

Modern wars are fought in one way or another to overthrow governments or to make concessions under the threat of overthrow. Governments are overthrown, and their will is changed under the pressure of public opinion. Such is the hypothesis of the Western type of military operations in the second half of the 20th century. In liberal democracies, governments are more likely to make concessions under pressure from the public, in illiberal democracies less often. To change the course of Western liberal democracies, it is enough to destroy the usual everyday comforts. For illiberal countries, methods of pressure on society, and therefore on governments, can be much less humane.

Ukraine has its agents on Russian territory. The arrests carried out by the FSB from February to the present have shown this. There are Ukrainian informants here. Perhaps there are agents of influence. And certainly there are potential perpetrators of terrorist attacks, no matter what they are guided by. The five Russians detained in Simferopol and the three Russians in Moscow charged with committing a terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge are not the only Ukrainian sympathizers.

The winter part of the special operation will require even more funds and people from Kyiv. It is clear that the training of terrorist groups will cost much less.

An indirect sign of the future transition to sabotage (at the front) and terrorist (on the territory of Russia) forms of war is the extensive information support of the terrorist attacks already committed and thwarted by the Russian special services (the murder of Darya Dugina, the explosion of the Crimean bridge, the transport of an anti-aircraft complex to the territory of Russia in order to shoot down a civilian aircraft, preparing the assassination of Vladimir Solovyov, terrorist attacks against officials in new regions of Russia). The same countries that sought Russia’s support in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan in the 2000s are now justifying Ukrainian terrorists, if not making Russia responsible either for the explosion of its own gas pipeline or for the murder of Dugina, allegedly by FSB agents.

During a terrorist attack, a specific explosion, even if it takes dozens of lives, is not the main damaging effect. This is just the capsule that should ignite the main explosive. Such a main striking element in a terrorist attack is information. That is, discussing the meaning and consequences of a particular terrorist attack properly. Ukraine itself, even with its fake factories, does not have such capacities. But the collective West is already ready to provide it with information platforms. And soon, apparently, we will see a change in Zelensky’s requirements: instead of Leopard-2 tanks – additional air time. And behind him, new terrorist attacks are on the agenda.

From Clausewitz’s War to Van Creveld’s War

One of the main theorists of war, Carl von Clausewitz, taught about trinitarian warfare – a war where government, society and the army are separated from each other and perform their specific functions for the sake of common victory. His theories determined the face of wars in the 19th and 20th centuries. An important condition for such a war, which takes place on the front line and does not affect the civilian population, was the special protection of the war. These are, first of all, the laws and customs of war, which were more or less respected until the 21st century. To ensure that no one uses genocide, prohibited types of weapons, inhumane methods – and vice versa, respects the rights of prisoners of war, both authoritative international organizations and superpowers: the USA and the USSR, monitored.

Today, the meaning, content and methods of warfare are being seriously transformed. And not for the better. Of course, in science fiction works on both sides of the Iron Curtain, we were described the coming war of robots with the victory of one side or another on points.

There, the war, accordingly, will be waged in the future not by the ministries of defense, but by the ministries of finance, which allocate money for new combat vehicles. But life is different: if in the course of hostilities the parties do not threaten something vital, the war does not achieve its goal – building a world better than the previous one. This means that with the weakening of control over the observance of the laws and customs of war and with the decline in protecting the sphere of war, war itself will not end as a phenomenon, it will not become robotic and will not go into either virtuality or economic competition. It will become less trinitarian and more terrorist.

If the enemy cannot crush the enemy army, he will ignore the border between the army and the government (and commit terrorist attacks against officials), the border between the army and society (and commit terrorist attacks against civilians), between the government and society (commit acts of genocide, executions and punitive raids against civilians, blaming them for government actions). These dark motives were first noticed by another military theorist, Martin van Creveld, a military historian and professor at the University of Jerusalem.

All military actions had a terrorist component before. The First World War formally began with a terrorist attack in Sarajevo. But war, according to van Creveld, implies a significant expansion of terrorist practices in the course of hostilities in the future, complicating the tactics of terrorist attacks to the point that at some point we will no longer be able to distinguish between hostilities and terrorist activity. The armies are already carrying out anti-terrorist operations in different regions of the world, it remains to wait for the appearance of special terrorist troops as new methods of warfare.

And the West is already thinking in this direction. Many countries, for example, provide political asylum to individuals who have been seen committing terrorist attacks. Moral pluralism refuses rigid definitions of terrorism and terrorist – there are 32 regional anti-terrorism conventions in the world and not a single global one. Today it is impossible to draw a line between a rebel, a guerrilla, a freedom fighter and a terrorist. This makes the definition of terrorism and terrorist attack very shaky concepts, which means they normalize them as a method of warfare.

Why are special services needed?

The idea of ​​intelligence agencies engaged in intelligence and spreading influence was born at the end of the Great Game – the global confrontation between Russia and Great Britain in the 19th century. Their heyday fell on the “golden age of espionage” – the period of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. All these CIA, MI6, KGB / FSB, Mossad in an ideal world should be abolished after the collapse of the USSR. But the state machines, with their inherent efficiency, did not abandon the existing resource and simply reassigned the world’s special services to new tasks. There were three of these tasks. At least, that’s how it seemed.

First, commercial espionage. Reassign special services to the same intelligence, but a little different. Stealing corporate secrets and know-how for the benefit of national governments and corporations. The world of corporate espionage was described in detail by science fiction writers in their works. These James Bonds from mega-corporations infiltrated data vaults, intercepted enemy spies and protected industrial secrets.

The reality turned out to be more prosaic. Why steal other people’s know-how, if they can be discovered by reverse engineering – by disassembling samples of someone else’s products, identifying working principles and, on their basis, assemble your own products? The problem is not that secrets are secret, but that they are protected by patent law and protected by property rights. This adds work to lawyers, but deprives the secret services of bread.

Secondly, it is the fight against terrorism. The hypothesis is the same: yes, the country has enemies, but they cannot be found on the world map. These are network structures, secretive and elusive, which, along with the hostile powers of the past, threaten the constitutional order, public order and infrastructural integrity. The special services, intended to collect information and to fight spies, were thrown into a police task that was completely unusual for them – the fight against terrorism.

There was a third task: the fight against political opponents and the opposition. Which was very convenient if this opposition practiced terrorist methods. Well, or at least was officially accused of terrorism. And the world is full of regimes where the special services do not disdain participation in political clashes of various parties or openly fight the opposition.

What is happening in Ukraine?

In Ukraine, according to the results of a special operation from February to November 2022, the SBU turns out to be the most combat-ready unit capable of performing the assigned tasks. The SBU did not participate in the hostilities, since it was not intended for this. We did not see any big losses of the SBU. It also did not fight any terrorism. The Ukrainian special services methodically pursued the pro-Russian forces on the territory of their country and recruited agents on the territory of Russia. With the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it is to be expected that the focus of attention will switch to the operations of the SBU.

The expected methods of the SBU in the course of hostilities directly follow from the role of the special services today. Training terrorists exactly according to their own anti-terrorist training manuals read backwards. Who else will prepare a successful terrorist, if not the one who fought with him all his life?

Both war and terrorism have their own laws and customs. In winter, we can face both traditional types of terrorist attacks (explosions of shrapnel ammunition, hostage-taking, terrorist attacks on infrastructure, destruction of civil aviation), as well as new, unconventional ones that we did not expect. While the Ukrainian soldiers in the trenches will be warmed by improvised means, the Ukrainian terrorists will exercise in the ingenuity of more and more new means of influencing the Russian government and Russian citizens. And we need to prepare for this – not to panic, of course, but to actively resist.

Vitaly Trofimov-Trofimov, VIEW

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