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Cyber attacks and wars fought with proxies: How can peacemakers respond to hybrid influencing?

Published on Friday, 13 September 2019

This is CMI’s Peace Talks, our new podcast. In this episode, we take a good look at hybrid influencing that makes conflicts more complex and unpredictable. How can peacemakers respond to challenges posed by hybrid operations? 

Foreign meddling in elections, cyber attacks and wars fought with proxies on the battlefield. Hybrid influencing has caught the headlines in recent years.

Blurring the lines between war and peace and resorting to a variety of actors and methods, hybrid operations make conflicts more complex and unpredictable.

In this episode, we discuss how peacemakers can deal with some of the challenges posed by hybrid influencing. What is now needed to prevent tensions from escalating into an open conflict? With whom to engage and how to resolve one?

“With hybrid influencing the level of complexity is such that peacemakers really need to react to it. We need to understand what is really going on and make sure that we build peace in the right way”, says Ed Marques, CMI’s Interim Head for Middle East and North Africa.

“Peace mediation must be about creating conditions for sustainable peace”

Mika Kerttunen, who works as Adjunct Professor of Military Strategy at the Finnish National Defence University, points out that there is a greater need for building stable, safe and just societies to counter hybrid threats. Hybrid operations often use existing vulnerabilities to create tensions in a given society.

“In this respect, peace mediation must be about creating conditions for sustainable peace. You have to pay attention to the needs of the society as a whole.”

According to Kerttunen, CMI is well-placed to create these conditions as we seek to engage all relevant actors in a conflict, including marginalized groups such as women, to build lasting peace. Some of the conflict actors, such as non-state armed groups, can be off-limits to official diplomacy.

“As an unofficial actor, we have a greater degree of flexibility in terms of who we talk to and how we talk to them”, summarizes Ed Marques.

The use of non-state armed groups as proxies is one form of hybrid influencing in the Middle East, Marques says.

In CMI’s Peace Talks we look at the world through the lenses of peacemaking. We have conversations with both our own and other top experts on what it takes to build lasting peace in this unstable world situation. In the wise words of our founder, Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari, we believe that all conflicts can be resolved. This podcast is about how to do it.

Guests

Ed Marques, CMI’s Interim Head for Middle East and North Africa, and Mika Kerttunen, Adjunct Professor for Military Strategy at the Finnish National Defence University.

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Recorded: September 11, 2019

Edited: Antero Karvonen

Host: Antti Ämmälä

Jingle: Jukka Backlund

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CMI’s Peace Talks available on: AnchorSpotify, Google Podcasts and iTunes.