HIT AND RUN: Liquid Warfare in the International Military Interventions of the Gulf (1990-1991) and Kosovo (1999)
Bergen, L. van
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In recent years Western state-led military operations have shifted towards remote forms of military interventions. Max Mutschler, Jolle Demmers and Lauren Gould explain this transformation of warfare in their introduced concept of ‘liquid warfare’, which they describe as the moment in military interventions that the conventional ties between war, space and time have become undone. In an attempt to influence the existing debates on the ‘key moment’ from which on military interventions became more ‘liquid’, this research presents evidence for the appearance of ‘liquid warfare’ in the Gulf War (1990-1991) and the Kosovo War (1999). The central question of this research is to what extent ‘liquid warfare’ occurred in the pre-9/11 military interventions in the Gulf and Kosovo. To answer this question in a structured and organized matter, this research established a comprehensive definition of ‘liquid warfare’, which is used as an analytical tool throughout this research. ‘Liquid warfare’ is explained as a combination of (1) a form of military interventionism that has transformed from boots on the ground deployments towards light-footprint military interventions, which can also be described as the use of remote warfare techniques. (2) The vision that remote warfare techniques are used to shun the direct control of territory, focusing instead on the destruction of enemy forces and/or infrastructure, copying certain characteristics of guerrilla warfare, integrating risk-transfer strategies and avoiding order-building and order-maintaining responsibilities.