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On the road to liquid warfare?

The consequences of the proliferation of modern military technology on the warfare of autocratic states and non-state armed actors.

The project asks how the proliferation of modern military technology for remote warfare – e.g. ballistic missiles, precision-guided munition, or drones – transforms war and warfare practices of autocratic states and non-state armed actors. Based on the thoughts of Zygmunt Bauman on the reduced role of territory in ‘liquid modernity’, the project develops a typology of solid (territory-focused) and liquid (target-focused) warfare in interplay with each other. Democratic states exhibit a tendency towards the latter, as research on specific ‘western’ practices of warfare has already carved out. The project asks whether we can observe similar developments with regard to autocratic states and non-state armed actors, if they have the respective military technology at their disposal. In this regard, the project analyses in particular the development of warfare practices of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar since the early 1990s, as well as the warfare of the Houthi in Yemen and the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

Funded by

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)