Are hybrid threats warfare?

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The chief component of the hybrid strategy against any country remains the use of irregular forces. More recently, these irregular forces are regarded as terrorists, which use violent means to spread chaos and anarchy. The employability of tech-oriented weapons, the widespread use of social media, the excessive and uninterrupted reach of information technology and an enhanced understanding of socio-political narratives by people, validate the vulnerability of states to hybrid threats. These hybrid threats had been influencing state behaviors in recent times. Owing to the changing interests of states, they make use of hybrid means to achieve desired outcomes. The ongoing Syrian war, and a looming Iran- US crisis encompasses various such moves being made by competing stakeholders. These all incidences prove that hybrid warfare is nothing far from being a reality and is a powerful course to target regimes, anywhere in the world. In recent times, hybrid threats have become so influential, that the state’s sociopolitical and administrative structures eventually surrender to these extortions. The examples of Ukraine, Serbia, Syria, Lebanon, and Georgia, etc. speak for hybrid threats viability. There are states as well, which are struggling against these threats. For instance, the assassination of Qasem Solemani, and the tragic killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh — who was reportedly shot dead by Israeli forces earlier this week while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank, have kicked a new wave of hybrid warfare. In the ongoing tussle between the US and Iran, some causalities may be in the form of human losses, but each side is struggling to subdue the enemy through financial, political, psychological, or via cyber means. The hybrid warfare concept is being widely used against adversarial states and therefore, states the vulnerability aspect has expanded. There is a growing realization among states that they need to expand their hybrid capabilities to counter the opponents’ hybrid designs. However, owing to the economic constraints, there exists a large disparity in capabilities between the developed and underdeveloped states. This disparity is resulting in the widening of the threat perception for smaller states.

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