The Next Generation of Warfare

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Hybrid conflicts are the new weapons of conflict and control. Military activities have devolved into archaic warfare. Cyberwarfare is the new weapon of choice for attackers. The new weapons of mass devastation are state-sponsored terrorism, ethnic strife, and religious rhetoric. This is referred to as fifth-generation warfare. In this sort of warfare, internal conflict is more common than foreign invasion. The globe has come a long way since the first-generation conflict.

What is happening in Pakistan does not fall into any of these categories. Is this to say that we are witnessing the emergence of a new 6th generation of warfare in Pakistan? Let’s look at the other five and then make a decision.

The term “first-generation warfare” refers to historical wars conducted with large amounts of manpower and classic trench tactics with state-controlled armies. Civil conflicts in the eighteenth century are one example. Weapon strategies utilised following the advent of rifles, as well as the development of the machine gun and indirect fire, are referred to as second-generation warfare. The United States military coined the phrase “second-generation warfare” in 1989. Third-generation warfare, sometimes known as guerrilla warfare, focuses on bypassing the enemy’s lines and collapsing their troops from behind, employing current war strategy-derived tactics such as speed, stealth, and surprise. On a tactical level, this effectively marked the end of linear combat, with units attempting to outmanoeuvre one another in order to acquire the biggest tactical advantage. Due to nation states’ loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces, fourth-generation warfare was marked by a “post-modern” return to decentralised forms of warfare, blurring the barriers between war and politics, soldiers and civilians.

Fifth-generation warfare is the most talked-about advancement. It’s mostly done via non-lethal military tactics like engineering, disinformation, and cyber-attacks, as well as new technologies like artificial intelligence and completely autonomous systems. Daniel Abbot describes fifth-generation warfare as a “war of information and perception.”

Pakistan has recently been subjected to fifth-generation warfare, which is centred on information and perception warfare. What is now taking place goes well beyond 5GWF. Is it possible that we are in the sixth generation of warfare? The following are some of the causes that have contributed to this new internal conflict.

Pakistan has suffered in the past due to India’s relentless portrayal of Pakistan as a renegade and terrorist state, which was aided by Israel and its western supporters. Pakistan was unable to reply to and oppose this well-coordinated information and perception campaign. In recent years, ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly exposed Modi’s hatred of Muslim hegemony, revealing the realities of India and putting them on the defensive. The revelations that India has been using bogus sites and organisations for fifteen years to construct a false image of Pakistan have shocked the world. Pakistan’s counter-offensive reversed the trend. In January 2020, Pakistan was named the most appealing destination to visit by World Tourism Sites in January 2020, in contrast to 2010 when it was named the most dangerous place to visit. This development made India and its allies uneasy. The results of 5th generation warfare were not the same. That is why they intended to adopt a combined method to depose an administration that was reversing the tide from the inside.

Another issue was that the country was rapidly becoming a case study in corona and economic management. In the previous two years, the United States, the European Union, and India have all been nightmare scenes of viral mismanagement and failure, as well as witnessing collapsing growth rates. Pakistan, on the other hand, is expected to grow by 5.74 per cent in 2021 and by around 6% in 2022. This made the opponents know that if they weren’t put to task right away, the game would slip away from them. There was no time for another round of 5th-generation combat. They chose the cooperation of the country’s most influential interests to attain speedy results. They calculated that this ostensibly constitutional vote of no-confidence would appear democratic and that no one would dare to speak out against the country’s most important interests. It appeared to be a fantastic 6th generation warfare strategy in which the opponent’s enemy becomes a partner in the fight against the country’s developing status.

Another challenge for Pakistan’s controllers was the leadership’s uncontrollability. After being humiliated in Afghanistan, the humiliation of being told “absolutely not” by Pakistan was too much to bear. The global superpower realised that the local powerhouse was struggling to manage this leadership as well. They played an impossible game with this common point of disagreement. They overthrew the government and won a battle, but not the war. This is still going on.

As a result, 6th generation warfare mixes conventional regime change techniques with new deception and perception weapons. Though the plan has worked in the sense that Pakistan’s economy has collapsed and the country is now struggling for survival, triumph or failure is still contingent on:

The public’s reaction was misjudged, which has now been proved. What isn’t clear is if the acknowledgement of the error will be accompanied by some corrective measure. The information and perception fight must be ruthless and unrelenting in order to reach the “making apologies” stage. So far, TikTok warriors have defeated weapons, shelling, beating, pounding, and arresting them with supersonic video bytes that are stinging the 6th generation of warfare.

Another consideration for all parties/stakeholders vs. one is the resistance’s ability to persist. According to rumours, nothing will change once the current Army Chief departs in November once he departs. The opposition will be stampeded and battered to a pulp. Whatever changes occur after November will be the responsibility of the future Chief of Army Staff. This alternative is debatable, given the government’s current coalition of 14 parties’ inability to address the economic situation. Even if political parties do not organise protests, this has already sparked popular outrage and is likely to lead to violence.

There are signs that the fabrication factories of information and perception are losing steam. The media and anchors who were instrumental in securing this change in administration are finding it hard to stay in business without expressing public indignation. Even the most skewed media gurus have recently been obliged to discuss the failing economy and administration. Stakeholder support has begun to splinter as a result of this. The veterans’ open press conference, demanding truth and action against the government, exemplified this split.

The world’s powers identify and collaborate with the country’s institutional power brokers in 6th generation warfare. These power centres may be found in the media, the court, the bureaucracy, and government institutions. This cooperation thus offers the appearance of internal constitutional change that “democratically replaces those who grow a country with those who destroy it.” The sixth generation of warfare is a battle within, a war of treachery, and a war waged by those who turn the gun inward. “Sometimes, the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun,” Chique le Frique explains.

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