I've mentioned before I have a friend in FA. I asked him what he thought of EN24's article about the TEST and FA falling out - if that term even applies. He sent me a rather lengthy reply. It's nothing earth shattering, just a grunts perspective of the situation However, my friend makes some interesting points. Here's his reply to me in full for your consideration.
"The Mittani posted a note where he quoted some things Mitrolio(?), the TEST leader said concerning CFC and FA. Our response was well-written, well thought out, and displayed a great deal of diplomacy and diplomatic restraint. Their respone to that was to accuse us in return of breaking and pushing all the "rules" by which we co-exist with them. That's like no Cloaky camping, no pos shooting, no iHub take down no Sov challenges, etc. Yet to my knowledge, we have done none of these things to them. I know for a fact that they routinely cloaky camp our ratting and mining systems, and even went so far as to set up a POS in the new system in Pure Blind where FA just moved its HQ. I cannot remember a day in the last month or two that TEST pilots have not cruised through Fade and Pure Blind looking for easy kills. We've killed a bunch of them. That however, is legal. It seems that TEST is either blue to CFC or neutral, but is blue to some alliances within the CFC. We are currently not one of them, although we have been in the past, like when we helped them take control of Delve recently. They are neutral to us, although I don't know if they call us neutral, orange, or red.I won't even pretend I'm qualified to analyse the implications of what he's said, let alone what's between the lines. I'll leave that to the more null-sec knowledgeable pilots leaving comments below.
Unfortunately, it seems that TEST is trying to single us out - in light of the TEST web / forum postings and their constant raids / camping / etc. it seems they are trying to put pressure on us in the hopes that we will start a war. I think it was The Mittani who commented that TEST is something like 5 times the size of FA, so it seems a little ridiculous. Potentially they are trying to get alliances to break away from CFC - I don't know. I think they believe that if they provoke us into as they put it our usual gunboat diplomacy, and we break the agreements and start a war, that the rest of the CFC will sit by and watch it happen without interfering. Seems like a vacuous assumption to me. By the way, the last few GSF fleets in which I have participated had more FA pilots in them than from any other alliance in CFC, so I don't think our participation is overlooked or discounted by the CFC.
I don't think we intend to escalate anything - keeping our cool seems to be the order of the day. However, as Zagdul seems to do often, I think he has already become bored with actually living in and protecting our SOV and simply enjoying the game. We got a warning order that a deployment of some kind is looming on the Horizon - don't know where or when. Given what little I know of politics at that level, I suspect we won't do anything without tacit backing or even active support of the CFC.
So, after all that, I have no clue if we'll wind up in a war or not. For me, I am still trying to get skills in place so I can even fly the ships in our new "armor" doctrine fleets. I have "Armor Tank Elite" skills and can't even use them, as all the DPS ships are Amarr and Laser shit. I can fly everything but those, so I'm training like mad right now. Even the smaller ships are ones that I don't have and have never flown, although I can, so I am starting at scratch and need to build an entirely new set of ships for fleets, along with learning how to fly and fight them. They also changed rules on the Ship Replacement Fund so now if we aren't using T2 guns, we dont get reimbursed for a loss. I'm not sure they understand how many pilots this affects, and the impact it will have in the case of a shooting war or deployment. It would be sad to find that we can only field fleets of cruisers and below with a few battleships mixed in on a deployment because people won't fly ships that won't be reimbursed. Sigh. Just my usual rant at the utter chaos the FA leadership seems to thrive upon. I personally don't get it. Maybe I just don't have the knowledge to understand the bigger picture. Something was said about the old fleet doctrines no longer being effective with the updates and upgrades in EVE, and the new tactics employed by enemies to counter the strengths of those fleets. Over my head - I just want to mine and manufacture and run anoms and occasionally join a fleet to kill things.
I think if a war occurs, TEST will likely be surprised. I think FA alone can field a tremendous force, and being outnumbered is not really a new concept for us. I hope that the CFC would respond as well if that happens, in which case I really think TEST would go down just like -A- (Triple A), Raiden, and NC(dot)."
There is one thing I'd would like to point out though. Poetic Stanziel already weighed in on the inevitability of a clash between HBC and the CFC. I agree with him. It's an inevitable conclusion and surprise should not be the response to such rumors. So the real question comes down to this. Why would they fight rather than enjoy what they have so far divided up between them? I suspect the answer to that question may be far more surprising - and interesting. Anyone care to take a stab at it?