Few players in the galaxy had mastered the waging of proxy war to the same extent as the Republics of Ramanunjagar and Sarabhai. Nations like Capitol and the Union of Worlds had both employed proxies as one tool among many to destroy each other, but the geography of the two Republics made their proxy war an inescapable side of their nature. Sharing over two thirds of their planets with each other, Ramanunjagar and Sarabhai's geopolitical frontline was so vast that clandestine forces had become a fact of life for them. Every social upheaval and internal tension that arose in either Republic was promptly appropriated and used as a point of pressure by the other through agitation and the funding of insurgencies; an eternal cycle of mutually-funded insurgent groups kept both republics in check, sinking too many resources in their own internal problems to gain an upper hand over the other.
Every chapter in the modern history of the two Republics had in some way been co-authored by the other and the latest one was no exception. The rise of wealth inequality and modernization had transformed the ethnic-religious insurgencies waged in both countries since decades and given them a socialist angle; from the ashes of a myriad jihadist local factions came two powerful movements that had taken the republics by storm: the Bhatarist People's War in Ramanunjagar and the Red Front-Seghalist Movement in Sarabhai.
In less than a decade these two large currents of social reform had reignited the civil conflicts of Ramanunjagar and Sarabhai across every province once thought safe from internecine war. They were modern, well-organized and well equipped movements; the product of charismatic martyrs who had only turned their guns against the local government after working over every rift that had plagued the previous generation of guerrilla movements. BPW and RFSM fought against the governments of their respective territories and became the latest avatar through which the Republics sought to undermine each other.
As the Second Ancerious War raged, both republics sought to leverage the conflict through open neutrality and hidden collaboration. Ramanunjagar's Secret Services Intelligence became spies to the higest bidder, selling information about military movements to both APP and AGA. SSI's agents and diplomats made themselves a trusted source of intelligence for the opposing militaries and only when that rapport of confidence was strong enough did they start spiking their reports with false information and begin using their soft power as a weapon. With increasing frequency, SSI's reports of military movements started pointing APP to Sarabhai territory and the targeted Republic found itself increasingly under pressure from invading fleets who sought to destroy the enemy units that were supposedly being sheltered by Sarabhai. In exchange for these intelligence reports, Ramanunjagar's war chests swelled with funds that trickled through the vast frontier and onto the coffers of the Red Front-Seghalist Movement to intensify their actions against the Sarabh government. It did not matter that RFSM was infinitely more hostile to Ramanunjagar’s ideology and people than the actual government of Sarabhai, anyone willing to do Ramanunjagar's dirty work for them would have an ample supply of diverted APP and AGA foreign aid.
The well-calculated burning of SSI's own reputation as a reliable source was executed just in time to put Sarabhai under more pressure than it could bear; Ramanunjagar's geopolitical bet ended up paying off when the Sarabhai interstellar navy began shooting down ships from both APP and AGA to enforce its own neutrality. In a few weeks, Sarabhai’s own interstellar force was devastated by attacks from both powerful coalitions and the Republic was pushed to the brink of disintegration by fierce uprisings from well-funded RFSM cells. Dozens of provinces fell as the Sarabhai government traded territory for time, entrenching its armed forces around its most industrialized areas and leaving the countryside at the mercy of the communists. Yet in this critical time, the Republic of Ramanunjagar that had once pulled the strings also began losing control of the situation.
The Raman SSI had not only lost the trust of APP and AGA’s foreign services and the funds that came with it but their excessive turn to foreign intelligence had deprived their domestic surveillance branch of their best and brightest. The violent anarchy taking place in fallen Sarabh provinces, which Ramanunjagar planned on using as springboards for military action, had instead become a no man’s land through which the Bhatarist People’s War -Ramanunjagar’s own insurgents- moved freely and secured weapons meant for RFSM. Inspired by the victories of Colonel Tamir Seghal’s fanatical followers in Sarabhai and benefitting from the breakdown in social order at the borders, the Red Front of guru Imran Bhatar intensified their attacks on Ramanunjagar’s forces.
From that moment onwards, the Republic of Ramanunjagar would gradually see its geopolitical superiority erode and Sarabhai recover from the brink. The ghosts of previous nationalistic movements had come back to haunt the once-monolithic Red Front; internal divisions exacerbated by assassinations of key leaders gradually caused racial tensions to resurface and split the Red Front along ethnic lines: a splinter group named the Red Front Seghalist Movement-Raman Nation was violently formed by the Raman ethnic minority in Sarabhai. The men and women of RFSM-RN had been just as fiercely anti-government as the main current of the movement but, in the grueling years of civil war that nearly brought about the collapse of the Sarabhai state, they began seeing their Sarabh brothers in arms with suspicion and thinking that they would be the next ones in line for annihilation. RFSM-RN demanded territorial autonomy for Ramans in Sarabhai, bringing an end to the large movement’s unity and giving the government some time to regroup as guerrillas fought each other.
By the end of AW2 Ramanunjagar’s planned land grab of hundreds of disputed territories in Sarabhai never took place, the dream of a “Greater Ramanunjagar” that united all Raman territories in one continguous landmass was shattered. Worse yet, the new government of Sarabhai was stronger than ever and had managed to renormalize relations with the AGA. Scandals and investigations wracked Ramanunjagar as AGA began finding out they had been provided false information during the war and began providing Sarabhai with foreign aid to rebuild their stellar navy.
All too eager to give their opponents a taste of their own medicine, the government of Sarabhai invested most of the foreign aid into a flood of weapons and materiel to the Bhatarist People’s War. The Republic of Sarabhai consolidated its territories and began a counter-attack that stretched for two years, taking back many of the provinces once ruled by the RFSM and putting additional pressure on the insurgent group.
The highly demoralized RFSM, which had come close to completely toppling the Sarabhai Republic at the height of the war, was a shadow of itself now that funds from Ramanunjagar dried up. The organized army-style actions and seizing of cities of years past became untenable and RFSM gradually turned once again to terrorism and massacres. As RFSM’s unifying “old guard” of commanders died or were captured, opportunists and warlords began taking their place. These local leaders mobilized the old ethnic tensions and directed the widespread resentment of RFSM’s depleted ranks against the rebels of RFSM-RN. It was because of them, they argued, that the civil war had been lost, more so than because of any government effort. If the Republic of Sarabhai was to ever fall and a new social order was to be created, the demagogues argued, RFSM-RN would have to be removed as well as the source of its supporters.
As long as Ramans lived in Sarabhai, there could be no victory.
Tanakol System: Disputed Sarabhai/Ramanunjagar Space
“Izi what do you see?”
“Ligma balls hahahaha” the other man frowned and stood up to the makeshift firing step. The ruins of the building where they set up on making a perfect ramshackle MG position.
“Go fuck yourself this isnt time for games” He grated, peering through the small vision gap between the rubble and down the barrel of the weapon they both crewed. Beyond was the blasted and broken no man's land, little more than the remains of a civilian park which denoted open ground between the two sides. Only 300 meters away was a blown out apartment block, and Aaenga knew the enemy would be staring right back at him. Izi merely smiled and stepped back.
“Chill dude, the RFSM aint gonna be moving tonight” the young man's chirpy voice angered Aaenga, he hated the boy in every conceivable way. He was everything that Aaenga disliked about the changing of the times, before it had been the old guard, the true men who had taken up arms to defend their homeland. Now it was new and young men who cared more about ancnet trends than fighting a proper conflict, half of them even sold their bodies out sometimes to let others online fight, it disgusted him. The nation of Sarabhai deserved better, as did all those who had died defending the people of the country for the past few years against the RFSM. Aaenga grunted and kept watch, he had seen plenty of engagements and he wasn't taking any chances.
The city of Bouthan was but one of the major conflict points, the whole of Tanakol was alight as were other worlds, but Tanakol was the focus. The Sarabhai Armed forces, Aaenga and Izis unit included, had rolled into the city 3 days ago. Word had spread of atrocities and mass killings of Ramans and the armed forces in their drive to rid the region of the RFSM had responded quickly to the claims. If they were true it would spell disaster for everyone involved, ethnic purging could bring the entire political stage to an explosive climax.
As such the entire situation was on a knife edge, and while the RFSM had only somewhat pulled out of the city no evidence of the genocides had been found. Yet.
“Hey old man you know we have others on watch too right?” Izi called up, opening up a can of Palm Rhyshida meat with which to heat up on the stove. Aaenga shook his head.
“I don't like taking my eyes off the enemy,” he replied. Izi sighed, before placing the can on the stove to cook.
“Gonna be hard to take a shit then aye? Come on foods up” Izi smiled. Aaenga started to turn away after a moment before looking back up. Izi raised an eyebrow.
“Movement” Aaenga, picked up the MG and used the sight, prompting Izi to looked agitated, caught between the food and a potential enemy attack. He finally made his choice, placing the tin off the stove before rushing up to take a look.
“What is it?” He asked, Aaenga didn't reply but pointed out to the left. Izi followed his eye line to a series of embankments and trench positions all dug out weeks ago by the RFSM forces, behind them was another open area which had been at one point used as a staging ground before Sarabhai snipers put an end to that. He watched as there was quite a lot of movement. RFSM insurgents, denoted by small flashes of red on their clothing, were dragging things out into the open and hoisting them up onto wooden stakes… Were they trying to make a statement?
“I can't get a clear view,” Izi remarked.
“Bastards. Those bastards” Aaenga was trembling in rage.
“What is it? What are they doing?”
“They are putting Ramans on stakes, those are civilians. They have butchered civilians…” Aaenga was livid, the claims had not only been right, but now the RFSM was doing it to show them, to make a statement. This was the natural evolution of everything the two peoples had been through, it was the end of the line and yet the beginning of a chapter far worse than Aaenga could imagine. This was ethnic cleansing.
“There will be blood for this,” Izi growled.
Nagargaon System: Ramanunjagar Capital
“32 thousand dead and that's just the numbers we have available! This is totally unacceptable, who the hell authorized RFSM to conduct these operations or undertake ethnic cleansing! Already I've got reports coming in of RFSM-RN forces slaughtering Sarabhs on their own autonomous zone! This has turned into a political and social nightmare!”
The whole of the room was quiet as Prime Minister Euphemi laid out the bad news. Only hours ago word had come in of mass killings conducted in Sarabhai territory by the Ramanunjagar backed RFSM, no order had been given, no agreements made and no plans for such a written up. In response the RFSM-RN forces in their own autonomous territory had done the same against the Ramans, leading to BPW insurgents now conducting ethnic killings of Ramans in Sarahb territories. Sarahb and Raman ethnic families were being pulled out of their homes and shot en masse to make a statement. Scenes of horror permeated this section of the anc net as atrocities were committed by all groups and had since been condemned by both governments. Still people cried out for blood on both sides while quiet orders had gone out by both governments to try and curb the atrocities committed by the two proxies which were government backed. The worst part was, the Ramanunjagar government directly bankrolled the RFSM, and that meant that all leads now pointed to them being at fault.
“Prime Minister the situation is bleak but our forces have undergone renewed atta-” The women cut him off.
“And what? The fact that this has occurred means that we have ties to mass ethnic killings, what the hell do you think the AGA will do when they hear about this? Let alone our few trade partners and even our own people! Our own fucking proxy has been killing our ethnic population, if they find out all of us are dead, quite literally.” She was standing at the large table, her cabinet rather submissively keeping quiet and not provoking her ire. She sat down and pinched her nose.
“Tell the air forces to go in there and stamp out RFSM once and for all, and I want covered military units to be inserted to support the RFSM-RN. Do you understand? Keep this as quiet and as discreet as possible, I want their leaders dragged off and I want our military commanders to be pulling the strings now from new puppets, hopefully this way we can stop the atrocities and also stop the inevitable collapse of our government and everything else. Put the fleet on standby as well and raise conditions to alert level 2. I wont tolerate any surprise strikes, we have to try to de-escalate this while we can but be ready for anything.” Her cabinet responded with nods and echoes of ‘Yes ma’am’. This was going to be a long day.
Celebranskt System: Orillian Capital
“Quite simply I believe this to be the best course of action”
“Intervening? An interesting take considering that both nations have had ties to the colonials. You wish to put our forces on the line and jeopardize the plan being put in motion?” The reply came calmly and collectively. Takar Oran merely nodded.
“I do. I feel that the actions of us using our unmanned forces to act as a peacekeeper in the Ramanunjagar and Sarabhai ethnic conflict would be a huge boon to our outward galactic image and help us undermine AGA peacekeeping authority. Given that Sarabhai is using AGA funds to funnel into the BPW in order to genocide Ramans I think this is a golden opportunity to work against them.”
The other individuals in the room murmured to themselves. They were the ruling body of Orillia, the Statist Council, made up of generals, admirals, Civil Leaders and Political powerhouses; they had been the ones to overthrow the previous regime. The room from within which they worked and conducted themselves was dark and dimly lit, but despite it being hard to see Takar knew each and every one of the faces which looked to him through the dark.
“Are we sure that Ramans own actions are what has caused this? They are far from at fault” One voice called out, Oniot one of the industrial magistrates.
“Technically Sarahbais assasinations put the cleansing radicals into power of the RFSM. In their attempt to behead the organisation they in fact wiped out the state leashed moderates and instead caused a rapid rise to power of fundementalist radicals. They are the ones responsible, also done with the AGAs own war funds. Already as we speak Ramanunjagar air forces are bombing RFSM targets in Sarabhai, it's only a matter of time before Sarabhai responds in kind and the situation escalates beyond what we can control. I need your decision and I need it now”
There was some more murmuring before one by one staves were bashed into the floor, each one denoted a vote of yes. The noises came rhythmically, those tones which were met with silence was a no vote. Takar counted 3 no votes out of 28, himself and Madam Yrillix not counted. He would keep an eye on those who voted no later, no doubt others in the council would too.
“I thank you for your vote of confidence. The 4th and 7th Rapid strike fleets supplemented by the 65th and 98th Ground Revolutionaries will be deployed for peacekeeping efforts at once.” He bowed, before striding out of the room.
This was everything he needed.