Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

In the years since the Dhofar war, the UK’s special forces have been

gradually expanded, and since 1996, all its members have been obliged

to sign a confidentiality agreement. This has reinforced the discretion with

which members of elite units within the military traditionally perform their

duties, and it has rarely been broken.

Meanwhile, the evolution of successive generations of unmanned

aerial vehicles, or drones, has presented military planners with greater

opportunities to mount operations that could remain unknown, other than

to those who are ordering, planning and executing them, and to those on

the receiving end.

The reliance of modern societies on the internet and the increasing

frequency with which states probe and attack each other’s cyber defences

have led some analysts to talk of a hybrid warfare, much of which is

shrouded in deniability. The result is that the line between war and peace

is increasingly blurred.


In the years after 9/11, hints began to emerge, in the footnotes of

the budget statements of the Ministry of Defence, and from scraps of

evidence salvaged from the coastal villages of Somalia, the mountains

of Yemen and the cities of Libya, that the British were once again waging

war in secret. It appeared that a lethal trinity of special forces, drones and

local proxies was being brought to bear in a way that would spare the

British public the disagreeable details of the nature of modern war, and

relieve parliament of the need to debate the wisdom of waging it.


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