Skip navigation

Myths of Hybrid Warfare. By Mary Ellen O’Connell

In short by Iris Höger

We are currently warned of a new threat, called “hybrid war”. Experts believe that a new form of war is emerging, to which international law cannot adequately respond. Here they see a danger which can only be countered by military force.

International law expert Mary Ellen O’Connell vehemently opposes this widespread opinion. Hybrid war is not new, she contends, international law has not been overtaken by new developments, and nor is it full of gaps. The basic principles of international law sufficiently regulate harmful conduct in war and in peace, and – O’Connell argues – can be applied to current conflicts and also to new technologies such as cyber weapons.

The international law expert warns against using the term “hybrid war” to circumvent existing law. Legal solutions, not military solutions, should be sought. In O’Connell’s view, the only way to achieve greater security in the long term is by recognizing “authentic” international law that is “shared by all nations, faiths and ideologies and devoted to the preservation of peace”. It remains an open question as to what exact form this would take and how it would be implemented.

Read the Full Article