Over the past few months and weeks I've been speculating that we're watching some sort of covert "hot war" taking place, possibly between the USA and its proxies, and China and Russia and their proxies. My reasons for doing so, as most regular readers of this site are aware, I've speculated that the USS Donald Cook incidents from several years ago, and may encompass the Fitzgerald and McCain incidents, and as I blogged earlier this week, possibly the recent collisions between Chinese and Iranian, and Russian and Sierra Leonese ships. I have also entertained the possibility that perhaps there is a "third player," a non-state or non-territorial actor utilizing technologies to ratchet up tensions between these two blocs.
With that in mind, consider the following story from Russia's Sputnik online magazine, shared by Ms. E.:
There's something in this article that, in my opinion, requires some rather close attention and parsing (and I'm citing nearly the entire article here:
Overnight on January 6, militants in Syria launched a massive attack against Russian military facilities, including the Tartus Naval base and Hmeimin airbase, with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Russian military has taken control of six drones that were sent by militants, another seven were shot down by the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile and gun system, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
A technical analysis of the captured drones revealed that the terrorists are able to carry out attacks from a range of about 100 kilometers, the statement added. The Defense Ministry pointed out that the attempted attack marks the first time the terrorists have used modern guidance technologies on satellite GPS.
The Russian security services are carrying out a probe to find out who supplied the drones to terrorists.
Now, if one follows this ambiguous language closely, one is struck not so much by what is said, but by what is not said. Given the tensions in Syria and the tensions between Russia and the USA and the rest of the West because of the Russian intervention there, one is struck by the fact that the Russians have refrained from mentioning the obvious, namely, that it would be very easy to accuse the West's militant proxies as having obtained these drones, and having used them by gaining access to GPS satellite guidance networks - networks which are highly secure and dedicated military platforms - yet the article stops far short from naming the obvious candidates for the source of the drones: Saudi Arabia, Israel, the European powers, or the USA. All we are informed is that "the Russian security services are carrying out a probe to find out who supplied the drones to terrorists."
There are, I suspect, two ways to interpret this reluctance to "state the obvious," the first being that it is a diplomatic maneuver to avoid increasing tensions further in the area. In other words, it's calculated restraint on Russia's part, and this indeed fits the pattern we have seen in Russian diplomacy over the past few years, in spite of many provocations by the West from the Russian point of view. But the second possibility raises even darker questions and implications, namely, that the Russians may not know ultimately who the "actor" is behind these drone attacks, and that something about the attacks, or the drones themselves and the network used to operate them, may indicate that they may be dealing with a different actor on the stage than just the "usual suspects," in short, that they might be dealing with that "third non-territorial actor" that I have speculated might be behind the weird collisions of ships we've seen.
What is also intriguing, and which relates to my previous speculations about exotic electromagnetic warfare technologies perhaps being exhibited in the collisions incidents with US warships - from cyber-warfare to global positioning spoofing, to more exotic possibilities - is that the Sputnik article alludes to these possibilities once again in its carefully chosen language: "The Russian military has taken control of six drones that were sent by militants, another seven were shot down..." (Emphasis added) On the one hand, "Taking control of six drones" could imply that they were shot down by the Russians or Syrians, and the Russian military simply searched for the downed craft, acquired them, and is studying them. But on the other hand, "taking control" might imply the use of sophisticated technologies, and it is perhaps notable in this regard that the article states that other drones were "shot down."
The bottom line here is that at the minimum, we appear to be looking at a scenario in which some sort of covert hot war is indeed being waged by the West and its proxies, and Russia. But the other possibility - of some unknown third actor - cannot, in the final analysis, be discounted just yet.
See you on the flip side...