HYBRID WARFARE: AN UMBRELLA FOR TERRORISM IN AN ERA OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION?
Shabbir, Muhammad F.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
Russell, James A.
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Today’s geostrategic environment is largely characterized by the phenomenon of great power competition (GPC). In this new cold war, instead of compelling an antagonist through use of force, hybrid warfare seeks to overcome an adversary by developing authenticity and persuading the populace. Against this evolving geopolitical backdrop, violent non-state actors (NSAs) and proxies gain even more significance. They become tools for great powers to achieve policy objectives. NSAs, like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Balochistan Liberation Army acting as Indian proxies against Pakistan, and Al-Qaida and ISIS in Afghanistan, provide apt examples of the enhanced role of terrorism through non-state proxies. Academic studies on the subjects of hybrid warfare, terrorism, and the GPC are found in abundance, but few draw together the distinct facets of hybrid warfare and GPC and the space for terrorism in between. This thesis is designed to tie together the dimensions of hybrid warfare, terrorism, and GPC to identify their impact on the security environment of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Based on the qualitative inquiry, this research concludes that hybrid warfare employed by great powers serves as an umbrella for terrorism, and the world needs to confront terrorism and hybrid threats together.
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