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Guerrilla Warfare - The Dawn of New War Frontiers

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Humans have been striving since its evolution to survive. During the war of survival of the fittest, humans have evolved modern techniques of warfare for the survival of their country and empire. If we look at the war history, the military theorist categorizes the warfare into four generations. The first three generations belong to the linear conflict while the fourth generation belongs to the non-linear form of conflict. The first generation of warfare refers to the fight between the state-owned uniformed militaries. The line and columns formations were used by militaries to show manpower. This was the most common maneuver drilled by militaries to execute with precision. This warfare generation lasted until the later of the 19th century. Examples are the English civil war, American revolutionary war, Napoleonic war.

In 19th century with the invention of breech-loading guns and rifles the greater accuracy and longer ranger has been achieved marking end to the line and columns tactic because such form of tactic may result in larger causalities instead this warfare adopted a new tactic of operating in smaller group so that they can maneuver effectively and causing trouble for the opponent firepower. The second generation of warfare contributed to extensive technological development. More advanced artillery, reconnaissance techniques, and fire team maneuvers were developed by this generation. Examples are American civil war, Boer war, and World War 1 and Iran-Iraq war.

In the 21st century, mass communication became very effective with the launch of social media. The youth starting inspiring from the modern trends displayed on social media. This gave rise to the modern form of psychological warfare where now, the propaganda was carried out through social media to engage the minds of youth. This is also coined as the fifth generation of warfare, non-linear war. It involves all the aspect of state, military, economy, cyber as well as active diplomatic propaganda to disrupt nation reputation.

The hybrid warfare is not a war of state with a non-state actor only, but it is a war between nations to nation. The states adopt conventional means with the unconventional warfare along with cyber tactics to engage the rival nation. This increases the state’s targets hence decentralizing their moral and efforts to counter the war. Hybrid war can be fought with hybrid means only. It cannot be deterred by conventional means.

This is core element of this warfare where a narrative was built among the peoples of the target to nurture their minds with intended thoughts. This is based on the cultural, norms and the basic needs that the peoples are lacking, the violent actor would then use this to engage the target.

Galilee was a small town where WW2-based katayusha rockets were fired by the PLO on the Israeli settlements. The Israel in response launched an attack on Lebanon naming ‘Peace of galilee’. This is an excellent example of narrative building where a narrative was built by the Israeli authorities that Lebanon is providing safe heavens to terrorists. This operation turned to a full-scale war that result in creation of Hezbullah. The formation of Hezbollah was based on the narrative among the Palestinians peoples where they appeared as guardian to the locals.

The countries support the non-state actors in the rival nations to achieve their goals .This results in the insurgencies in the targeted nation weakening them economically, politically and causes military as well civilian damages. The violent group’s uses unconventional and guerrilla warfare tactics to weaken the enemy. Psychological warfare also used by proxies to create among the civilians as well as lowering the moral of the military troops.

Hezbollah is a non-state actor supported by Iran to fight against Israel. The group used de-centralized cells composed of guerilla groups, UAVs and advanced IEDs. Modern equipment was provided by the Iranian Quds force. The mass communication was used by Hezbollah to distribute the war photos and videos immediately throughout the world during the whole conflict. This is the most quoted example of hybrid war.

In 2014, the Russian troops termed as ‘Little green men’ without insignias infiltrated the Ukrainian territory. The troops took over the control of the strategic positions in the Crimean region with help of massive troops. Russia then annexed Crimea after a referendum in which pro-Russian groups voted for the Russia .This resulted into armed conflict between Ukrainian government and Russian back separatist in Donbass.

Russia also played an active role in the Syria .Russian air force bombed heavily on the Islamic state targets backing the Syrian Bashar ul Assad government. The Wagner group, a private group of Russia also participated in ground assaults against ISIS.

Pakistan has been ground to proxy war since the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The increase in the sectarian militancy, weak economy and diplomatic front caused a major setback to Pakistan development. The Baluchistan insurgency fueled by the Iraq, then Iran and India has increase the tension between state and Baloch nation. The BLA uses the Baloch cast narrative to induct people in the BLA, BRA .Such separatist movements used guerilla tactics to disrupt the state working in Baluchistan.

The tribal areas of Pakistan have suffered most in this context of war. The areas was crawling with hostile foreign militants e.g. Arab, Chechens, Tajiks and they created a fear among the locals to support the cause. The Pakistan army had to the fight the long and arduous war against the most difficult enemy. The army tried the conventional means but failed, they only won the war when they learnt the hybrid means of war to fight against a hybrid enemy. On militarily level, the army improved its unconventional, low-intensity battle tactics. Tactics were evolved to handle the IEDs and ambushes. In fact a whole new perspective was developed to fight against a clever enemy backed by arch old enemies.

The advancement in technology results in the evolution of third generation warfare. The high ranking commander placed trust in the junior officers to achieve combat objectives without micromanagement. The use of close air support, artillery, and mechanized infantry to demonstrate speed and maneuverability over the enemy and striking deep within the enemy with air support, helicopter infiltration and missiles to weaken the enemy from distance helps them to break linear lines of defense and capturing enemy territory. With the advancement in technologies, clever strategies were formulated to overcome the shortage of technology. The core focus of this warfare was to bypass direct combat and maneuver to capture enemy using speed and technology. The famous examples are World War 2, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq war.

This is a decentralized form of warfare in which the state is fighting a violent non-state actor. This a complex form of warfare that is difficult to neutralize. Guerrilla warfare is the most effective tactic used by insurgent where insurgents operate in small teams using unconventional war techniques. This warfare takes place on all the front, whether it’s economic, political, media or civilian. The enemy in 4GW lacks a structural command and control, patience and ability. The low-intensity conflict is the most effective violent tactic used by the enemy. Unlike the three generations of warfare, in this generation, the non-state actor lacks the hierarchal structure and smaller groups are operating with the allied groups to target the state. The state if smart enough could use psychological warfare tactics to weaken the alliance causing them to fight against themselves .Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is an excellent example of this where a different group like TNSM, IMU, ETIM and TTP groups like Sanjana group, and many others formed an alliance and fought against the Pakistan army. Some other examples of 4GW are Libyan civil war, the Iraqi insurgency, and the Syrian civil war.

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Guerrilla Warfare – The Dawn of New War Frontiers. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from
“Guerrilla Warfare – The Dawn of New War Frontiers.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022,
Guerrilla Warfare – The Dawn of New War Frontiers. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Jan. 2023].
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