The growing impact of hybrid war

This form of warfare can be savage

Living in the world of conflicts, every hideous action, terrible decision, hopeless thought or horrendous mistake can ruin your state in a second, such is the “art of war”. The art of war involving tactics and strategies exploiting and worsening situations, causing damage within the national boundary ranges, are encountered on severe levels which is today known as Hybrid War. Many Countries including Pakistan are facing such asymmetric conflicts, named hybrid war, under such critical situations, with conditions are getting worse day by day due to which hybrid war is now becoming a serious threat around the globe.

What we really need to know about hybrid war is that it actually involves activities conducted or featured by non-state or state actors to destabiliz and sabotage, and cause confusion and destruction within a certain country. A number of tactics, strategies and techniques influenced by non-state parties create disruption and chaos within the society. With emerging modern hybrid warfare strategies and technologies, one can achieve one’s objectives and aims against enemies without an upfront enmity and maintaining one’s own peace while affecting others.

- Advertisement -

A series of hybrid warfare roots can be, misleading through false information, fake propaganda, cyber attacks such as attacks damaging the country’s situation in the times of crisis, financial influences, economical pressure, military actions and so on. Good examples are the US involvement in the Vietnam War, the Syrian civil war and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The countries lacking flexibility and pliancy in controlling and handling such warfare tactics are easily defeated and torn down, as hybrid war takes place in an interrelated operating atmosphere found within a society which highly affects and exploits the war on battlefields.

With advances in technology and increased use of the Internet as well as social media platforms, our dependence and reliance has increased on the Internet’s information too, that has led us mainly to false information and misinterpretations available on certain websites. Likewise, a large number of countries have banned the use of Wikipedia, as incorrect and making wrong information available, which faces vandalism nearly everyday.

Pakistan has handled itself quite well under the influence of Hybrid War tactics by promoting peace and harmony, not only in its own region but around the globe as well. The hybrid war today faced by many countries including Pakistan may be an old notion but new technology and a new approach has made hybrid war quite treacherous and savage

Whereas certain platforms developed in the name of spreading self and social awareness are misleading and circulating false information, blurring the visions and mindsets seeking awareness and knowledge, creating absolute confusion and dual realities. Such acts are recognised as cyberwars. Cyberwars are increasing at an alarming and dangerous rate. Every electronic device used in banks, educational institutions, multinational and national companies, government institutions and departments, even our mobile phones, computers and laptops are a great threat and challenge to national security.

There are even a fine number of apps present that can instantly hack your phones and laptops resulting in the leak of your personal photos and information, numerous apps that have your face and fingerprints access, many more apps that ask about your personal account and credit card details which are later sold to the agencies, including Facebook. Instagram and other social networking apps being a part of hybrid war are especially highly designed according to algorithms.

As we are aware of the fact that Instagram’s algorithm calculates how likely someone is to interact with a post, known as a score of interest, which determines the order in which posts are displayed in their feed and timelines. Not only that, apps like YouTube and Instagram restricted certain posts and videos by claiming them to be used against community guidelines or applying an age restriction on them, such as YouTube and Instagram taking down all posts and videos supporting  Palestinians,  but happily spreading Israeli content throughout the Internet.

Another example of cyberattack was recently discovered, that an Israeli app was being used by India to monitor and supervise politicians all over the globe. This app was installed in their mobiles, which collected confidential information and data not only through their voice recordings but also through phone call information and messages. In 2019, the USA began to attack Russian power grids through online hacking whose main aim was to physically destroy all Russian power grids and plants, all situations serving to be the part of hybrid war.

- Advertisement -

The hype that the media creates, the prophecies that anchors tell, the secrets in between the sports teams that players expose, the intelligence information that politicians leak, never quite happens on its own. Sudden rises in prices, loadshedding, sudden decreases in water supply and food resources, underdeveloped areas, malfunctioning institutions and unemployment or even drone strikes, sending spies as non-state actors, such as the identification of Kulbhushan Jhadav as an Indian agent, fake propaganda, fake movements such as the recent Balochistan separatist movement created a huge ethnic conflict in Pakistan, with all such artefacts being a part of cyberwar, mostly perceived as ‘hybrid threats’. Such a mixture of tactics and techniques results in the terror, pressure and confusion among the nation and an unidentified opponent.\

Hybrid wars have a great financial influence on the nation in certain ways, and such warfare tactics are used as hurdles for states racing towards prosperity. Investments are made through third parties or non-state actors, including uncertain energy supply deals, major foreign investments are halted for some obscure reasons, certain loans are offered to the country descending in financial crisis with the emphasis on consideration of certain conditions.

Pakistan had to face a severe economic crisis as Pakistan exporters faced difficulties with restrictive regulations, non-tariff measures affected imports and exports resulting in decline of the economy. Major industries including textile and automobile industries, faced downfall due to high oil and energy costs, shortage of electricity, decreasing quotas, high utility bills, and more. Not just this, India ruined Pakistan’s reputation all around the world, claiming it was a terrorist country and not a safe place for travelling, and partially ended tourism in Pakistan, directly affecting Pakistan’s economy. Nonetheless the attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team played a vital role in India’s tactics for ending tourism. Such hybrid war policies makes the country vulnerable in the long political run, especially an underdeveloped state like ours.

Pakistan has handled itself quite well under the influence of Hybrid War tactics by promoting peace and harmony, not only in its own region but around the globe as well. The hybrid war today faced by many countries including Pakistan may be an old notion but new technology and a new approach has made hybrid war quite treacherous and savage.

A vicious challenge for progressive countries is posed, as conformist, irregular and terrorist modules are now increasingly a part of hybrid war. Hence to survive and avoid such factors a country mustn’t stand alone, a state must associate itself with other nations not only on political basis but a wider range of interactions such as societal, diplomatic, economical, atmospherical, and more. Such notions define the strategies and decision making of the respective states, which can be done by forming fair and subtle foreign policies. The role of non-state actors must be diminished completely, as such actors are keystones of destruction within a country. The countries must prepare themselves for the worst as well as the best.

Khadija Bilal
The writer is a freelance columnist

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

A bridge too far?

AT PENPOINT The inordinate delay in the issuing of the notification of the new DG ISI has meant many things, but one of the most...

Pakistan and the IMF