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Hybrid warfare in the twenty-first century: an analysis of Western contentsi
Material posted: Zafar Javed Publication date: 09-02-2020

The problem international relations theory is that it does not explore the moral issues and focused on the study of the phenomenon of power. However, in the contemporary world order the Foundation of national States is the ethnic or linguistic community.

In the absence of morality, every country works for its own interests, not for the sake of humanity. There is no "right" or "wrong", everything is justified if it meets someone's interests, even if it involves mass murder, plundering the wealth of other Nations, etc. the Current world order is also based on anarchy; the government was the only guarantee of integration and preservation of the sovereignty of States. Among all States there is competition and rivalry for power and the ability to weaken other States.

Another problem of the international system is that if a powerful state commit any crimes against the weaker States, there is no supranational system for punishing them. They continue to use their unlimited power, contrary to international law and the well-being of the countries in which they intervene. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the deaths of thousands of Iraqis is a Prime example of such behavior.

War: what is it and why

War is a direct conflict, the struggle between different countries, groups and people. This struggle can be short and long depending on the capabilities and goals of the belligerent countries, for example, in the medieval period, between England and France waged the hundred years war (1337 - 1453) over succession to the French throne. During the conflict, use different weapons and tactics to defeat the enemy. In other words, "war is an act of violence to compel the enemy to do the will of the attacker". According to the great military General and strategic thinker Carl Philip Gottfried, "war is the continuation of politics by other means". There are three types of wars:

  1. Offensive war
  2. A defensive war
  3. Preventive war

Why are there wars?

The history of mankind is testimony to the fact that, despite all the anti-war measures, including the covenants, treaties and agreements, war was never fully addressed. The efforts of the League of Nations and United Nations also failed to eliminate war as a means of conflict resolution. This suggests that all of this is rooted in human psychology, the only problem is, how justified the use of violence.

War is a huge industry for many countries and businesses. It provides a profit, so they support the wars and conflicts around the world. Currently, the global politics and security require that all countries have bought a variety of lethal weapons systems in large numbers. Another reason for the persistence of military conflicts is the collapse of the modern democratic system and its replacement by the dictatorship of the majority. This leads to instability and conflict in many countries.

In the current system of national security is controlled not elected by the people or parliaments and lobbyists, influential and sometimes ideological groups which at some point will implement its own development strategy is the security of the compatriots and their welfare.

Sometimes powerful Nations or superpowers deliberately start a war to demonstrate its power. They also spread fear among weaker States to compel them not to follow their own interests, but to cede without any questions and reservations. Some leaders also start a war or conflict to grow as a strong leader and to create a heroic aura, as was Obama in the war against Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Sometimes war is just a tool of diverting the citizens ' attention from some very important issues and using the victory to success in the elections.

Why arise hybrid threats or war

Over the last few decades in all countries, progress has been made in areas such as Economics, politics, education, technology and basic management principles. In addition, States develop their defence capabilities to respond to most security threats. A significant part of the population of these countries have a good education, and some are now studying in the West in methods of winning wars and getting the desired results. The military power of the West have failed to achieve the desired goals in Iraq and Afghanistan directly, and so now Western experts focused on the study of systems and strategies the use of hybrid instruments to indirectly achieve military and political objectives.

Because Western countries are not able to directly counter China and Russia, they are using those hybrid instruments and strategies. Western leaders have imposed sanctions and restrictions, as well as contribute to the growth of local conflicts and support the dissatisfaction with the current government.

At this time the Islamic world is experiencing a period of post-secularism, and in many countries a number of democratic Islamic political movements competing for power, such as: Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc These movements tend to be anti-Western because of keeping the historical memory of the consequences of the intervention of the West in the development of these countries. Therefore, to withstand the specified political movements, the West has also started a hybrid war in the countries of the Islamic world. Thus, it should be noted that the geo-strategic situation in Iraq and Afghanistan at the moment is not favorable for the West.

Installation of a modern world order

  • It is still based on nation-States
  • Multiculturalism or coexistence is impossible
  • The unipolar world has collapsed
  • Western economic and military dominance tends to crash
  • Distrust between countries is growing multipolar

Hybrid war: definition and levels

Since in the course of direct war or military conflict, the costs of monetary or human, especially in today's world, some military theorists have developed other methods of achieving military objectives, which are called hybrid instruments. Therefore a war waged with the help of these tools, called hybrid war. Hybrid warfare is also defined as a method of warfare, combining conventional means, irregular military action, cyber attacks, methods of informational influence (e.g., fake news), diplomatic, legal methods of influence and election of foreign interference in the internal Affairs of the country.

Hybrid or multi vector

Hybrid theory develops in three directions. In the first stage of hybrid war state or non-state actor is willing covertly to influence the enemy through various means. For example, Western experts cite the example of Russia, which supposedly has created many propaganda websites, multilingual news portals, television channels and created a team of hackers for espionage. Their job is to constantly affect the interests of a particular country.

Hybrid conflict is the next stage in which the state or the party is exploiting the political, social and economic vulnerability of the enemy. To achieve the objectives of the war are also used diplomatic and technical capabilities.

Direct participation is the third stage where all the instruments and tools are used simultaneously, for example, the use of political, diplomatic, intelligence means; supporting opposition parties; the use of international law; support to military, paramilitary, special forces, armed forces to revolt; the support of criminal elements, creating unrest; destruction of economy and infrastructure; exploitation of social and religious differences, etc., to defeat the enemy.

Tool kit for hybrid threats (according to Western experts):

Hybrid instruments

Primary category

· Psychological operations



Information war

· Propaganda

· Social media

· Fake news

· Strategic leak

· Funding of non-governmental organizations







Other tools of hybrid war

· Sponsoring and provoking the political parties against the current regime

· support for violent protests and movements

· creation and support of the oligarchy for economic war

· the use of religious organizations (Orthodox Church /Jihadi / Fathullah Gulan Turkey / Fazlur Reham in Pakistan)

· The use of terrorist organizations

· Secret use of special forces

· Cyber-attacks

· Money laundering

· Paramilitary organizations, groups, special assignments

· Support for the military coup

· Support civil unrest

· Synchronization of all funds



The goal of hybrid attacks



The goal of hybrid war, the United States and the West:



· Maintain global hegemony

· The opposition of Russia and China

· Maintain status of sole superpower

· The fight against Western ideology and politics of Islam

· Continued expansion of NATO

· Change anti-Western regime

· Control of key global authorities

· The destruction of neutral space in the international political system

· Transactions for a favorable trade


· Maintenance of Western ideology


· Continue control of the global wealth


· Increased sales of weapons



The purpose of Russia's hybrid war (according to Western experts):



· The creation of a great power

· Business contracts

· Strengthening as the new architect of European security

· The easing of economic sanctions

· Establish regional hegemony

· The weakening of NATO and the EU

· Economic advantage, pushing the EU to a favorable election for Russia

· Filling the strategic vacuum after the decline of US influence in the world

· Global presence and the interests of the state in all regions

· Protection of Russian interests in the CIS

· Military and strategic interests

· Control over strategic infrastructure

· The collapse of the EU and NATO

· Protect the electoral process from external interference


The strategic objectives of China (according to Western experts):



· Great power status

· Business contracts

· Architect of the new Asian security

· Control over strategic infrastructure

· Global economic supremacy

· Cooperation at non-governmental level, the population of China with other countries

· Global presence and the interests of the state in all regions

· The formation of a new world political system

· Leader of technological development



Javed Zafar

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