The modern society is faced with challenges of security even as nations struggle to keep their borders secure despite their polarity. Warfare in the recent years raises awareness of the increased fighting for various reasons and the desire for avenging of enemies. The environment and strategies used are influenced by technology advancements and globalization which also on the other hand pose as potential dangers to countries among other factors. The cost of war is relatively high with the need to stay ahead and informed of the strategies of the opponents. While war in the 21st century includes tribal disputes, most dominant is war between nations motivated by the desire for global control. This thus includes alliances and other religious motivations. While terrorism and the war on terrorism are characterized with increases in peace treaties, nations are embarking on the investment in air, land and security measures and with technology space security. It is worth evaluating the motivations for the war, so as to address the intervention measures. United Nations mission of peace together with other peace agencies is hampered by warfare since; terror attacks elicit the desire for revenge creating a cycle of wars. In order to thus evaluate the concept of operational laws in dealing with war, it is worth evaluating the elements, developments, indicators, factors, strategies and its effects to establish the challenges in law dealing with warfare in the 21st and to adequately address the peace strategies.
Definition of Warfare in the 21st Century
While warfare in the earlier years was characterized by actual physical fights involving weapons and centralized systems of war, the modern times have faced developments that have not only changed what is defined as war, but also the perspectives to the same.1 The developments in technology, globalization and other factors have expounded the limited definition of warfare even as most believe that such definition in the 21st century has become complex. The common definition of warfare has included mainly nations of different ideologies, tactics, resources and strategies with interactions to exploit the weakness of the opponent and strategies that are not limited to military. The warfare on the modern era is still evolving and what is agreeable, is that there is no clear definition of the 21st century warfare.
The 21st century warfare has been defined as “war of ideas”, where the enemy involved is not necessarily a nation or state, but rather an organized movement with the war having no national or territory borders.2 Warfare is also defined in the concept of increased alliances mostly dealing with terrorism, decentralization where the opponent is not aware of the next move to be taken, psychological warfare based on manipulation of the media so as to win public support, guerrilla and insurgent attacks, use of pressures either politically, socially, economically or use of military and is based on long term struggles until the opponent gives in. Modern day warfare mostly involves the fights against non state violent actors with the battlefield not just visible as land, air or sea, but also virtual space.
The 21st century definition of warfare includes all potential areas that can be used and has been termed as the fifth generation warfare. 3Although the warfare is not mostly weapons based, they are used with increased technology of the same with the main emphasis being on the strategies of war and national preparedness. Different nations, states or systems in war and non state actors receive differentiated opinions and hence they have supporters and opponents who are not necessarily in the same location as the initial opponent or supporter. The 21st century warfare however receives much intervention although the enhancement of security remains crucial. The training in the 21st century has been incorporated emphasis on getting to understand the enemy, identifying the battlefield and striking fact and effectively.4 The costs of the 21st century has compared to other past periods is relatively high with the desire to protect the people and minimize the casualties although the humanitarian law still is faced with different challenges in this.
Warfare classification and categories have increased in the 21st century due to the ability to make use of such technological systems to fight the enemy. The main concept is the use of asymmetrical warfare which is rather decentralised, technically planned with strategic tactics and attacks.5 Network- centric and information warfare is also a category of such modern war and other operations and technology based warfare. The space power warfare is also rampant with the hacking of the cyber space mostly by organized groups such as Al-Qaeda in order to dominate and create global terror.6 Biological warfare has also been taken up with the use of weapons for mass destruction due to their ability to counter the enemy within short times. For example, in the 9/11 attacks on the US, the hijackers killed around three thousand people within no time. The other types of warfare in the modern times involve the use of weapons and non lethal ones and other systems on land, sea and air. In deed, the 21st century is characterised by increased investment in air force and security systems due to its ability to monitor the enemy, lowered cost of war and the increased effectiveness. Most importantly is the characteristic of the fifth generation war which encompasses the lack of the understanding of who the adversary is; the focus on establishing strategic warfare objectives and increased informed force selection and training as well as evaluation.7
Motivations for Warfare in the 21st Century
The motivations for war in the 21st century are the basic reasons that nations and states and other actors do engage in war in the 21st century. Unlike in the past years where there was colonization and thus nations and societies waged war against their colonial masters to gain freedom, modern times has no considerably significant states or societies that are colonized and in need of freedom. The complexity developments of warfare, limit the causes and motivations for engaging in war. The main motivations for warfare are historical differences and conflicts over resources and identity.8 The historical differences mostly influence the matters of borders, geographical locations among others, for example, the fights between Israel and the Palestine groups is based on issues to do with boundaries.
The identity conflicts as points out, is based on the fight against dehumanizing claims that includes the example of the war on Iraq due to the claims put against Saddam Hussein. The aspect of resources is so common. The resources include valuable things like minerals, oil, water, agricultural products among others. The US has been criticized for engaging war on Iraq. While some analysts argue that the US anticipates having control of oil resources in the Middle East hence causes war so as to shift the attention of the nation, it defends itself has anticipating to maintain peace in the volatile nation. Since the war also includes the issue of ideologies, conflicts arise in the failure of a system of ideology thus necessitating warfare though not physically at most times. For example, with the recent financial crisis, most people believe that the emphasis of the use of the capitalism system by the US and its application in other nations especially the developing nations is the main reason for the crisis. With the failure of capitalism to fight the crisis globally, and the subsequent rise of communism, many feel that there is a heated hatred and enmity towards the US for this.9
Nature of Warfare in the 21st Century
This analysis shall involve the evaluation of the elements of warfare, factors that influence the development of warfare, indicators, factors influencing the war, the strategies of war and the effects from such warfare in the 21st century.
Developments in Warfare
Different researches interested in the concept of warfare, have analysed the changing nature of wars over the time. Although, their ideologies and opinions seem to differ, one thing they appreciate is the fact that war is an interconnected concept that cannot be analysed through partitioning while still it involves a paradigm shift of strategy from one period to another. They also appreciate that the periods are related to some extent even in wars of very past centuries in terms of changes in strategy with war being termed as a social concept whose analysis in the arts and sciences has proven a challenge.10 The concept of evolving and changing generations of war seems to be helping in the analysis and understanding of war which has proven quite challenging over the years. The definition of generation in war is suggested by Lind as.
“In the context of the Four Generations of Modern War, “generation” is shorthand for a dialectically qualitative shift. One simple test for whether or not something constitutes a generational shift is that, absent a vast disparity in size, an army from a previous generation cannot beat a force from the new generation.”11
Analysts also show that the generations of war do not override the already exiting ones, and are not just based on time periods.12 The evolvement of wars are said to be based on the period after the rise of nations as states in the time of 1648.13 The first generation of war at that time entailed the use of line and military formation tactics and smoothbore muskets for political reasons between nation-states armies. The second generation of wars on the other hand was influenced by the industrial revolution with the use of firepower mainly during the First World War. The third generation war is said to have been conceived by the Germans during the First World War and used in the Second World War with improved technological operations in the cyber domain, air, land and sea and used the manoeuvre tactics.
Historical analysts do assert that this has remained the form of warfare for most nations.14 However, the fourth generation of war was seen to evolve with the use of asymmetrical tactics applied inconsistently especially against nations endowed with great military power, too strong to counter.15 This kind of war made use of networks and had large numbers of casualties even with its lengthy application and is said to have been used in the North Vietnam to defeat the US, and the US against Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite the existence of the fourth generation of war, analysts do agree that the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the US signify the end of the fourth generation with the evolvement of the fifth generation which is complex with no clearly agreed upon definition.16 The fifth generation of war is thus the main type of war for the 21st century.
Elements of Warfare in the 21st Century
The fifth generation war is characterised of elements which are the basis of its classification.17 Despite the differences among the generations of war, analysts do agree that the basic elements of war still remain as the nature of the battlefield which is the domain of the war, objectives and purposes of the war, weapons necessary to engage war, and the soldiers that are involved both as in the team and those forming the opponents.18 These elements however differ in terms and nature with the influence of changes such as technological, economical, political, social, and ideological among others. The interaction of these elements do point to the nature of warfare since they answer the basic questions of “where”, “what”, “why” and “how”. The domain of war in history has played a major role in influencing the character of war, direction as well as the fighting style applied. For example, the reliance on the physical domain of land and sea especially in the revolutionary period required more analysis of that domain in terms of the terrain, to make use of it in fighting the opponent. The fifth generation of wars also the 21st century war, has increased the domain scope to include more domains that are more influenced by globalization and technological changes.19
The domains applied are the physical domain covering the land, sea and with increased investment in air due to its ability to not only effectively and quickly attack the opponent due to the ability to take notice, but also the ability to lower the cost of war as well as reduce the number of casualties.20 The information domain is highly used with emphasis on the cyber domain, while the social domain covers the aspects of religion, beliefs, values, attitudes and culture while the political decisions of the state are in line with the will of the people to foster more support. Additionally, while this war is referred to as the “war of ideas”, the cognitive domain is applied covering the techniques, tactics, procedures and strategies to be used in war with increased focus on effective decision making.21 Ideally, the fifth generation war of the 21st century seems to imply that the field for battle is just everywhere.
The element of adversaries is very much necessary since the knowledge of the enemy enables the nation to be prepared and ready to counter their attacks. The 21st century is characterised by war that is not based on nations, but on movements, networks and even individuals who make use of the issues of globalization, information to form up attacks against nation states.22 The battle field being everywhere means that the adversaries can just be anywhere and can attack from any point. The changing domains of war and the target adversaries have influenced the change of the objectives of war in the 21st century. The adversaries groups and networks in the 21st century that are the main attackers in the fifth generation of war, have adjusted their objectives of war with more focus on development of leadership, building up of alliances, increased networking, ideological outreach to the public, recruitment of new members globally, funds acquisitions, seeking for support and other material and shelter needs, efforts organization, training of personnel and increased spread of doctrine, setting plans and targets, movement and operations strategies, setting up of communication networks and exploitation of results.23 The efforts of nations involved in fights in the 21st century against such groups and networks are focused on use of both non- lethal and lethal weapons as well as the military and non- military strategies. The use of force and weapons in the 21st century war are focused on using whichever mean that is likely to compel the adversary to surrender.
Unlike in the previous generations of war, the 21st century of war is faced with the desire of not just defeating the enemy to cause him to surrender both politically and in the military as experienced in the Vietnam war, but focus is on rendering the efforts of the enemy useless and making him vulnerable to defeat.24 This means that the war is characterised by unrestricted means. Reed asserts that the fifth generation war is made up of special characteristics which are as a result of informational age while advancing on the ideologies of the previous forms of war and has an increased dialectical advantage over the other previous generations of war. The participants of the 21st century war are able to transcend the conventional war boundaries with the potential for achieving supra combinations.25 In this case, such conflict domains cover every aspect of human experiences with the potential of having alternative ways of handling an enemy. As such, the success in battle is not based on reliance on military strength, but rather on the interconnectedness of the factor domains together with new types of warfare such as religious warfare, cultural warfare, environmental warfare, media fabrication warfare, financial warfare, science and technology warfare, biological warfare and psychological warfare with increased combinations of these.26
Since the war is not state based, the participants in the war attain supra adversary support where the members of networks are connected by common interests irrespective of geographical, ideology or national boundaries.27 The objectives of the 21st century war are based on supra combinations where the main motivation is not defeating the enemy, but with actions based on policies, operations, tactics and strategies while making prudent use of space and time. These warfare objectives are based on agitility and allow for flexibility with the ability to operate on different multiple levels. The supra weapons are based on using every means possible with no restrictions and rules. This war as analysts do show is focused on developing to the point of flexibility and not hindered by finite resources or skill with the limitations of just imagination where the elements are applied in combination and ensuring that the operations are not rendered irrelevant for then, you lose the battle in the 21st century. This is because manipulation and control is attained by the opponent.28
The main aspect that most analysts agree on in the 21st century war analysis is the limitless war boundaries which are in the fields of ideology, physical, moral or technical fields. This normally raises opinions on differentiating moral from profane acts, criminal from acts of war, weapons of war from those that are not weapons; which for sure is made almost impossible by the 21st century warfare. For example, the 9/11 attacks involved the Al Qaeda group which made use of technologies developed by the nation states for outreach and informational purposes together with commercial planes to forge the attacks. What remain so visible are the facts that the non state groups and networks benefit greatly since they do not need to either finance or carry out developments of modern weapons, they just rely on those that are made by the state nations. Further, the forge for funds through seeking increased network support especially from those individuals, states or groups that are against the state nations. This means that the participation in the war is in very many different ways unlike in the earlier wars. The issue of combatants and non combatants in this war is very critical since, the network groups do not only target the nation states, but also their supporters and other civilians who do not necessarily need to have an interest in the war. The morality of such war is seen through the eyes of the victor, with the end justifying the means.
… “We issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it” (Osama bin Laden, Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, February 1998).29
The predicted aspect of the 21sr century war is the ability of the smaller opponent to defeat the strong one with assumed network characteristics, coalitions, flexibility and agility in operations implementation, taking advantage of the rigidity of the superior opponent, rendering the resource in military of the superior opponent irrelevant and using all forms of force with no basis of restrictions or rules.30
Indicators of the 21st Century Warfare
The analysis of the attacks of war in the 21st century just in the past few years raises the awareness of the nature of such war through the indicators of such war. The recent 21st century wars started with the 9/11 attacks and includes the emergence of Al Qaeda, the 2001 anthrax and 2003–2004 Risin attacks, emergence of computer hackers and the Madrid bombings among others which are all raising the indicators of the 21st century warfare. The opponents in these wars do not provide any centers of gravity that can be recognized or attacked directly with them showing great levels of resilience.31 Additionally, they have demonstrated the ability of using multiple sources of forces with versatility in their use. Computer hackers have the ability of causing disruptions to corporations and governments globally through internet attacks causing great losses and attracts adversaries due to its requirement of minimal investment, anonymity allowance and the gains from the same.32 The attacks have not left military computer systems with the most serious ones being of 2003 referred to as Titan Rain. The 2003-2004 Risin attacks raised issues to do with the reaction to the 9/11 attacks while the Madrid bombings spell out the severity and strategy of the attack with great casualties.33 Such did not only spur demonstrations but also Spain withdrew its military support to the US in Iraq operations.
The war on terror signifies the fight against a non state entity which has dialectical advantage and as such, the Al Qaeda is perceived to be the future forerunner for the 21st century warfare based on estimates of the national intelligence.34 These shows that the jihad attacks of Al Qaeda globally increased following the attack on Iraq. As such, analysts observe that the Al Qaeda has focused on establishing itself as a global insurgent group and aims at making the efforts of the US in Iraq as expensive as possible until it will be futile to maintain such.
Factors influencing the 21st Century Warfare
Analysts estimate and reports do show that the Al Qaeda is going to be the forerunner of war in the 21st century based on their characteristics.35 However, it is worth noting that the conditions and factors of the 21st century do create an environment for the growth and evolution of the fifth generation war. These factors include globalization, information technology and other social, political and economic conditions.36 Globalization has created a world with no boundaries. As such, nations are interconnected with no boundary limitations against such. As a result of globalization, trade, communication, travel, business and the integration of society has been possible. This aspect however has created the opportunity of bringing people of similar interests together despite their geographical, national or ideological boundaries (Barkun 192). As a result, this has facilitated the creation of networks which have played a crucial role in the attacks of war with more recruitment and enhancement of ideologies such as the Al Qaeda or Hamas groups where it is not possible to know the adversaries37.
Technological advancements have created greater opportunities for attacks through the ability to use programs that hinder the functioning of systems, blocking of systems, and access to the information on the opponents and has necessitated such crimes as computer laundering.38 Further, technology has been incorporated in the development of weapons such as in nuclear power and other weapons of mass destruction which is part of the 21st century war. Political ideologies have influenced war, with the network groups targeting the nations or states and even civilians who are in support of such nations in war especially the US.39 Additionally, religion plays a key role in the war of the 21st century. While religious ideologies differ, there has been increased awareness of this with more extremism and focus on the attacks against other religions.40 Following the emphasis on religion, the target thus has been shifted globally.
Principles of War in the 21st Century
Different ideologists and analysts have suggested different principles of war for the 21st century. The fifth generation warfare is based on new principles which differ to great extents from those used in the previous wars. 41Asymmetry as was applied in the fourth generation warfare, still forms the basis for the fifth generation warfare. This principle focuses on flexibility in the objectives of war, domain perspectives, adversaries and weapons. However, it has been provided that it is important to be proportional in such cases so as to make effective use of time and space. Omnidirectionality is based on the capability of maintaining a great dimensional view of the domain globally with supra combination of the war elements. Assurance in war for the 21st century by maintaining control and adjusting in the war process from the beginning to the end with the motive of domination mostly based on dynamism in interactions especially with opponents groups.42 The war also involves use of unrestricted means where the participants in war make use of whatever means as to warrant the achievement of their objectives. The 21st century warfare is also founded on emphasis of clear strategic definition, attainment and decisiveness of objectives, while the use of offensive actions in which there is the seizure, detainment, exploitation, of initiatives for achieving the objectives. The other principle suggested is synchrony based on agility and coordination of events and elements of war.43 This also considers the issue of time and space strategies with the use of reinforcement measures for attack maintenance. However, the wars in the 21st century are long term with quick, strategic but of significant influence.
Strategies of Fifth generation warfare
The changing nature of war and the increased complexity, calls for strategies that are flexible and suited for the times. This is because further of the high costs associated with the 21st century and the changing nature of the adversaries, objectives, weapons and domains. Further developments information technology and the increase in globalization pose new challenges in the war of the 21st century which is even still difficult to define. The strategies to be used in the war take into consideration that the 21st century war is a new war which unlike the old wars require an examination of the evolving domains, objectives, adversaries and weapons.44 The strategies therefore focus on the basic issues of knowing the adversaries, understanding the battlefield and striking quickly and effectively. However, the disadvantage of these is the fact that the enemy is not some state or nation or group that can be located in one place, neither is it one of distinct observable characters. It is unfortunate that even government officials involved in the states fighting the non state entities has some officials who are part of these no state groups. For example, when Israel was fighting Lebanon, she forgot that Lebanon government as a whole was not part of Hamas, yet some Hamas members were in the government. The necessity of use of mixed elements has never been such urgent.
This kind of new war requires for basic strategies of reinforcement of security through weapons, laws and set up of security measures in the porous areas.45 This is more of national preparedness in all aspects being aware that the attacks of the enemy is targeted to the urban areas and most populated area where the impact expected is quite high. This preparedness requires a change of mindset of how to go about the war. Analysts have raised different viewpoints on which is the most effective strategy. While some argue that the negotiations with these network groups would be effective, others still believe that these adversaries are aimed at creating their dominance globally all in the name of religious enforcement. The difficulty in analyzing the issues of strategies for war is the fact that the morality of actions is subjective while the motivation is based on self interest.
Strategies of preparedness would do with increased focus on security in order to if not counter attacks; at least mitigate the impact of such attacks. Following the failure of the Bush attack on Iraq, it has become a lesson that military efforts are not the solution, but more non military war of ideologies. This is difficult though because of the ability of such organizations to render the peace efforts irrelevant with their counter attacks. The basic preparedness will require more emphasis of such fifth generation war in training of armies and officers, increase in technological advanced security, focus on negotiations with the networks with the change in the interventions carried out in volatile nations and the engagement of alliances.
Effects of War
The 21st century warfare poses as a great challenge globally due to its nature and its adverse effects. This kind of war does not have a clear definition with just claims that it is “war on terror”, which creates anxiety, fear, doubt and discouragement.46 The fact that the war is borderless and limitless creates the perception of long term basis which is likely to breed a siege mentality while the adversaries attack when least expected creates issues of security and increases in war casualties.47 The casualties are mainly composed of civilians who are not even aware of the issues of war causing them to suffer innocently. Ideally, the humanitarian organizations are affected by the 21st century due to the speed of striking, multiple number of casualties and the fact that the adversaries have even focused on more ways of retaining, oppressing and even killing and targeting the humanitarian organizations. This is because their aim is to completely deplete the nation states. This has affected peace efforts since every one is prone to attacks. The Madrid bombings of Spain have been considered to be as a result of her involvement of the military in the US efforts in Iraq which caused Spain to withdraw her support to the US.48 Hence, it is likely that the 21st century war will involve one the one hand, groups increasing their alliances and networks and on the other, targeting the nations and individuals who seem to support the nation state. As a result, the efforts on war are likely to be individualised while the Al Qaeda and such network groups are the forerunners expected of the war.49
Analysts have warned that the strategy the Al Qaeda and such groups are using is to cause the efforts of the nation states to completely be rendered irrelevant.50 As a result, they are likely to incur very high costs in the war with increased military budgets. The outcome of this is that the other sectors of the economy shall be affected with the influences of crisis in such economies. Ideally, the limited expenditure in the nations in other sectors of the economy has been predicted to likely cause such nations to become vulnerable to the attacks of the opponents.51 This will not only influence their operations, but also elicit civil wars, chaos and anarchy. Further, this will raise the issues of which nations attain global dominance. The complex nature of the 21st century war is likely to spread to all aspects and pillars of society. This will thus include issues of fear and anxiety which is likely to lower trust between nations and as such limit global integration.52 Operations globally are also to be influenced to great extents such as the running and governing of humanitarian organizations. This is due to the targets on humanitarian official by such networks which will require more global alliances and the challenges the war poses to them. Additionally, the laws of operations globally will definitely be affected even as the participants in war differ completely in ideologies, strategies, organizations and governance.53
The organized leadership of the Al Qaeda and similar groups hinder the operational of laws of war and other international laws for fighting terrorism. For example, while the networked groups do make use of terror attacks, they term it as defamation to be referred to as “terrorists” despite their admitting that they were behind the attacks such as the Madrid bombings or 9/11 attack.54 The network groups believed to be based in the Arabic and Asian nations are influenced greatly by religion with their leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, claiming that they have to get rid of the Christians. Therefore, the effects of the war shall be felt in the organization and the interactions and operations of religious organizations ideally the row between Muslims and Christians.55 Some analysts do assert that war in the 21st century is founded on the concept of fighting against terrorism which however is comparable to such societal fights against drugs or poverty.56 This means that just like drugs and poverty, no amount of fighting is likely to make this kind of long term war end.
As a result of the war just like in other generations of war, it is anticipated that some nations shall rise up economically to achieve global dominance especially the Middle East nations whose focus is more on development with examples of China, Japan, and India among others.57 Contrary to this for these nations, it is anticipated that some nations shall experience economic downfall and lowered global impact due to over investment in war especially for the United States. Although the war is not based on national boundaries, the 21st century has a great effect on the political structure of nations and the effects of peace efforts especially in the highly volatile nations. Due to the volatility from the war, organizations and institutions shall also be affected such as banks and financial institutions, corporations, trade laws among others.
Laws Governing Warfare
Historical periods of war have been characterised by the applications of different laws applicable for such period depending on the situations prevailing at that time. International law is concerned of interactions between nations hence the role of laws to govern how nations engage in war even with the mandate of ensuring justice is observed.58 These laws are applied in agreements, treaties which form binding relationships between nations participating in war. International laws on war are formed with the purposes and principles which imply that wars should be limited to the achievement of political objectives for which it was started, ended as fast as possible and non combatants protected.59 These laws of wars are set with mostly the fields of land, sea and air, although there have been developments in information laws and laws on volatile nations as well as terrorism attacks. International laws also limit the issues of the extent to which a nation ca engage in war, participation in war, laws regarding casualties as well as issues of revenge.60 The international operational body has laws such as in the humanitarian areas, technology among others which govern war issues with reference to the specific warfare type.
Challenges of 21st Century Warfare to International Operational Laws
The international operational laws are more like organized forms of wars that limit the actions taken in law as well as address the issues of when to intervene in peace measures. The laws are organized along predictable lines of who the participants in war are, the reasons for war and the determination of the end of war. This however is contrary to the characteristics of the 21st century war which thus pose as a challenge to such laws. The war on terror seems to have spurred the evolvement of the fifth generation warfare. This evolution however, is characterised mainly with many nations and states which have the aim of fighting terrorism. It becomes a challenge to the operational international laws when it has to be fair yet in all reasonable judgement does not support crime or favours one ideology.61 For example, the Al Qaeda groups and similar networks are not to be referred to as “terrorists” yet they openly admit of their responsibility in such attacks especially the 9/11 attacks. This has spurred mixed reactions with some arguing that the international law favours terrorism.62
While the war is also based on changing adversaries, domains among others, it becomes a challenge for the international laws to be applied to the networks and other non state agencies which usually are organized in leadership and it is mostly, a challenge where their ideologies of justice and morality differ from those of their opponents especially the US hence limiting the application of law.63 The 21st century war has been known to have issues of detainment and even murder of the humanitarian and United Nations officials especially by these networks which then limit the application of the international law due to the ignorance and dismissal of such laws by the network groups.
The different types of warfare that have come up are so complex especially the cyber crimes which are easy to accomplish and allow for anonymity creates the perceptions that even if such crimes would be followed, it would be quite difficult to know the actual adversaries. Additionally, the cost of following such crimes becomes very high.64 Just as the definition of war in the 21st century is not quite clear, the international laws lack a definite definition of what forms an armed attack which creates loopholes for the creation of laws.65 The extent of some strategies of war that become a crime in international law is quite subjective, for example, while manipulation of news is not crime, it is a challenge to know to what extent and at what point it becomes a crime in the eyes of law. Ideally, the nature of the 21st century law do presents challenges so diverse such as the target of non combatants, violence in war, use of weapons for mass destruction and the limitations of nuclear power, technological and information laws, laws that address the issue of revenge and counter terrorism as well as the long duration of war in the 21st century.66 The other major factors lie in the costs of war and hence the costs of implementation of such laws with globalization and technology also posing as challenges.67
The issues of war despite the rich history, still has new developments and evolvements which limit the application of past theories and ideologies to new times. Law being such a foundation for the international community is faced with challenges brought about by the unique and complex nature of the 21st century war. It is important for more in depth analysis in the challenges so as to guarantee peace and justice globally.
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- Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (New York: Nation books, 2008), 77.
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- Peter Singer, Wired for war: the robotics revolution and conflict in the twenty-first century (New York: Penguin Press, 2009), 97.
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- Daniel Levitas, 103.
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- Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006), 135.
- Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006), 47.
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- Donald Reed, “Beyond the War on Terror: into the Fifth Generation of War and Conflict.” Studies in Conflicts and Terrorism 31. 2 (2008): 689.
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- Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (London: Verso, 2006), 101.
- John George and Laird Wilcox, American Extremists: Militias, supremacists, Klansmen, Communists and Others, (New York: Promotheus Books, 1996), 133.
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- Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006), 124.
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