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December 22, 2019

The new war

Opinion

December 22, 2019

The hybrid threat to Pakistan is three dimensional: economic, societal and political. Pakistan’s enemies are throwing dollars to exploit our internal fissures. Our enemies are throwing dollars to pitch powers within Pakistan against each other.

Yes, critical institutions are under attack in order to weaken the state. There’s no blood on our streets because hybrid warfare aims at ‘degrading the morale and well-being of a nation’s citizens’. The new war has just one goal: To weaken Pakistan’s war-fighting capability.

The ‘weaponisation of finance’ is the new battleground. A financial attack is three things: indirect, un-attributable and difficult to detect. Yes, financial warfare is about ‘entering enemy territory behind enemy lines. Yes, financial warfare is about denial of financial resources.

The focus of ‘financial warfare’ is just one thing: to target the country’s capital. Yes, financial warfare is about engagement-engagement through the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO (On January 29, WikiLeaks leaked a document authored by Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare. The document states: “Like all other instruments of US national power, the use and effects of financial weapons are interrelated and they must be coordinated carefully.” The document further states: “Of particular interest politically are the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization”).

At a more strategic level, the new war is about disrupting Pak Army’s focus and diluting its ability to concentrate on its primary mission. The new war is about degrading our army’s core capability: our soldiers’ morale or their will to fight. In essence, “morale relates to confidence, enthusiasm and discipline…..That is, the self-assurance to undertake a given task, the level of passion for that task and the degree of will-power in relation to that task.”

The new attack is an attack on esprit de corps — the “feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members” of our armed forces. Morale is not about military hardware, tanks and fighter jets. Morale is a feeling — motivation, job satisfaction; do my leaders care about me. Morale gives our soldiers a “sense of purpose higher than that of individual survival.” The morale of our soldiers is Pak Army’s most important intangible force multiplier. The morale of our soldiers’ is how they “feel about themselves, their team and their leaders”. This intangible is under attack.

Morale is three things: intangible, invisible and volatile. This volatility is under attack. Our adversary is attempting to damage our military’s morale through weapons other than tanks and jet fighters. This is ‘demoralization warfare’ — agents of influence, propaganda, disinformation and political warfare.

Napoleon claimed that ‘In war, three-quarters of victory is down to morale, only one quarter to the balance of military forces.’ We are under a strategic demoralization attack — ‘sowing seeds of doubt and anxiety’; ‘diverting frustrations and hatred to a new target’; and ‘denial of an enemy image’.

A general defined morale as “when a soldier thinks his army is the best in the world, his regiment the best in the army, his company the best in the regiment, his squad the best in the company, and that he himself is the best blankety-blank soldier man in the outfit.”

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh