“Russia has been in the throes of a financial crisis since Saudi Arabia began driving down oil prices last fall,” writes John Robb of Global Guerillas. “Until the Russians reverse this economic assault, Russia will remain weak and vulnerable.”
To be specific, Bloomberg, reports that the ruble has fallen 40% in the past year, inflation is expected to run at 17% in 2015 and GDP will contract by 4.5%. Ouch.
“Of course,” Robb continues, “Putin does have one way out. He needs to increase the price of oil. But how? There’s only one way to accomplish this quickly and easily: destabilize Saudi Arabia.”
That’s where “the fifth domain of war” comes in. Recall our own Byron King coined that term in early 2013. The traditional four domains of war are land, air, sea and space. But those would all be too overt for Russia to use to destabilize Saudi Arabia. The fifth domain, which refers to digital battlespace, is a much savvier choice.
“Russia has three great exports,” explains Robb, “oil, natural gas and criminal hacking.” It’s the latter, he suggests, that could easily cripple the Saudis. He gives four nuanced reasons why:
- The Saudi’s defense system is an easily penetrated patchwork.
- The workers who man the Saudi defense system are opportunists who could be easily bribed.
- The government’s reign is dependent upon command and control. Cut off the connection between the rulers and the army and the population will be able to revolt.
If you’ll continue indulging Robb’s hypothetical, here’s how his destabilization scenario might unfold thereafter. ISIS would dismantle Saudi Arabia’s northern border’s defense grid, including communication and surveillance systems. Then, a few thousand fighters would blitzkrieg the country, swiftly moving south and disrupting crude production.
Oil prices would then shoot to the moon. At the same time, says Robb, “Russian hackers, ISIS and the Russian government all make billions from the increase in the price of oil (both by going long on oil in the market and through the direct sales of product they produce).”
“Some people would argue that this deal isn’t possible,” concludes Robb. “They point out that Russia is at war with jihadis like we are, which means they would never cut a deal with ISIS.
“My response? That’s not a real problem considering the upside opportunity here. Russia is more than willing to cut deals with its enemies if it yields a big advantage. The infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviets and the Nazis is a great example of this.”
When you consider that the U.S. openly supported ISIS in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, does Russia covertly supporting them in order to save its bacon seem far-fetched?
[from Daily Reckoning.com]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis