> Vol. 4, No 4. 2014 > Hybridization of Conflicts

Hybridization of Conflicts

17 2014

At a basic level, historically wars and conflicts were easy to understand: a cause, an enemy, a war. Things seemed clear, consistent, and predictable. There was symmetry and each side had its counterpart. The enemy was able to negotiate. It was all at least somewhat straightforward, if tragic. This was the case for centuries – up until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then in the early 1990s a nebula appeared that we Occidentals referred to as “al-Qaeda” (or more formally the “World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders” – less effective for marketing, but more accurate). The emergence of al-Qaeda irreversibly altered the conventional and often automatic, “terrorism / international state sponsor” analysis. Terrorists no longer had need of state sponsorship, and terrorism became de-linked from strictly nationalist motives. Terrorism evolved beyond the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, a Basque separatist organization), the IRA (Irish Republican Army), or PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) type of organization. France has had the misfortune to experience revolutionary terrorism since its own revolution of 1789, and indeed the term terrorism, derives from the French “terrorisme,” which was used to describe the atrocities committed by the French government during the Reign of Terror. This paper reviews the revolution in terrorism affairs since the 1960s