By General Monzer El Ayoubi*


Translation: Dr Pierre A. Sarkis**

It is no longer a question about the mathematical constant “golden ratio” of an all-out war on the territory of the old continent (Europe), or on a global level.  In the midst of studies and expectations of strategic and political analysts looking forward to the prospect of the international situation and the developments of the military operation of the Russian forces in Ukraine, the theory topped or adopted the phrase “fear of slippage towards World War III”, perhaps the last on the planet.  In the concept of “slippage” in general, it is an involuntary event that may occur due to natural factors or human errors, in the aim of reaching situations and results that are not calculated or outside the desired goals.

Against the backdrop of the gradual exacerbation and deterioration of the geopolitical and military situation, especially after the implementation of item A in the confrontation plan with Russia or the lack of its results, contrary to the expected, including harsh economic sanctions with non-limited financial, material and weapon supplies to Ukraine; NATO and the United States have moved to item B of the confrontation plan to name a few: – Attempt to weaken the situation internally, both politically and security wise – launch of US-Japanese naval exercises of an offensive nature on Russia’s Eastern border – ignite hotbeds of tension and distraction, especially in the East Asian arc of “Armenia-Azerbaijan etc…”, Russia’s backyard with the goal to drain forces and divert the military effort, as well as, confuse the Kremlin or its leadership, etc…

From this point of view, the word “slippage” falls, as things with their purposes i.e. “in word and deed” have crossed the line drawn and the decision of a comprehensive confrontation is tangible, not excluded or neutral.  Russian President Vladimir Putin is fully convinced that what is happening is beyond the solidarity of allies, or that the Western reaction to a military operation launched by his forces could have been avoided through negotiations and diplomatic dialogue, had it not been for the intransigence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, surrounded by an extremist intelligence group not far from Langley-Fairfax (CIA Headquarters), that guarantees and oversees his plans and behaviors, driven by Western incitement that caused the burning of his country and its destruction, despite all the “sovereign justifications and independence” since arrogance has no place in the law of strategies, for the dynamics of healing or interaction have the character of “autonomy”, where spontaneity, independence and pragmatism rule.

Thus, in the exclusion of slippage, is it correct to ask what is the expected “timing” of the great battle, as well as, the quality of the structural weapons used?  Will a strategic or tactical nuclear weapon enter the battlefield to shorten it in time and space?  What guarantees a painful victory for one side and a fatal defeat for another?  Since February 24, the date of the start of the Russian battle or invasion, Ukraine has been the testing ground for land, sea and air weapons of the parties to the conflict; in addition to the test of control, tests in the efficiency in the management of battles and speed, adopting to developments, plus evaluating operational coordination between various infantry combat units, armored vehicles, artillery and missile support, as well as, the effectiveness of drone strikes and air cover.

It is a principle of military doctrine that “Russia will not be defeated” whether in the Ukraine or elsewhere and there is no complacency in its national security. The decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to start partial military mobilization came to coincide with warnings issued by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, of the possibility of opening ballistic and transient nuclear missile silos if the need arises, to confirm and answer the questions and concerns of the West and NATO countries about the question of “timing”, thus raised the degree of caution about the extent and ability of the European response to its war machine, in repelling and responding directly.

In this context, several indicators were recorded that fall into the threat column and the convergence of time (Zero Hour):

1- Deputy Secretary of the Russian National Security Council Rashid Nurgalyev: “any weapons, including nuclear ones can be used to defend our territory.”

2- Dimitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Putin’s National Security Council, personally: “Moscow will use every weapon in its arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, to protect the territory it annexes.”  Simultaneously, RT Russia broadcast today a comment “that nuclear war is likely.”

3- US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart against the consequences of using chemical or nuclear weapons amid the retreat of his forces in Ukraine stressing that this will change “the face of the war in a way unparalleled since World War II.”

4- President of Serbia Aleksander Vucic: “The geopolitical situation is deteriorating and the planet will witness a global conflict.”

5- NATO threatens: “Russia must immediately end the war, withdraw from Ukraine and warn against the use of nuclear weapons.”

6- Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croix urges the EU countries to remain calm and not provoke Russia and to pour oil on the fire.

7- The Ukrainian President expressed his belief that Putin will use nuclear weapons.

8- NATO launches joint exercises in the Baltic Sea to counter Russian threats, etc.

9- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stresses the unity of allies in North America and Europe considering Putin’s nuclear threats reckless.

10- German Chancellor Olaf Schultz: “Russia cannot win the criminal war in Ukraine and Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization is an expression of despair.”

11- British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace: “Russia’s announcement of the mobilization of troops is an acknowledgment by its president that his invasion fails.”

12- In a remarkable step that should be taken into account for its approach to timing rather than slippage, Poland’s Civil Defense Service distributed iodine pills free of charge to counter potential nuclear catastrophe.

On the other hand, President Putin’s cold mind is not freezing frost, as he deals with remarkable calmness with developments on the ground and the political and strategic performance of his country’s enemies, undeniable leadership behaviors characterized by a link between politics and intelligence, which gives him the ability to control combat tendencies, despite the fact that he senses an unexpectedly limited competence of his forces.  He considered that the war of attrition and the trap of luring him into the Ukraine quagmire have repercussions and consequences for European and American-Atlantic powers as well.

Russia’s warning of a third world war cannot be underestimated anymore, nor can the increasing risks of nuclear confrontation be underestimated, which confirms a strategic shift in the management of war by Russia.  The annexation of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson provinces to Russian soil after referendums coinciding with the announcement of partial mobilization, is an additional factor in the possibility of an all-out war.  On the other hand, NATO’s supply of “offensive” weapons to Ukraine in accordance to its criteria, is one of the features of the strategic response to confirm the transition into a new stage in “its essence”, that the Western Alliance of about 40 countries is seriously involved in a proxy war with Russia.  European leaders are also unanimous in fearing a subsequent repetition of Ukraine’s scenario by targeting the Baltic States and those of the former Soviet Union.

Finally, diplomatic solutions and compromises are hanging on the denunciation of time, and Western Powers and the US are unable to retreat from confrontation anymore, as they are involved in an open but undeclared war with Russia and perhaps China later, which indicates the importance of tracking the Red Square clock in activating Western and Atlantic defensive postures.  It has been proven that the Russian President is not the kind of person who jumps forward and randomly, and escalates things uncalculatedly, with the privilege that the zero hour is set and the first strike will be for him.

Beirut, 28/09/2022

*Scholar in Security and Strategic Affairs

** Retired Lecturer and Russian Specialist