Irregular War


The Frontline Club

Image by Helen Benigson

Fifteen years have passed since French philosopher Jean Baudrillard published - on the aftermath of 9/11- the infamous text The Spirit of Terrorism (2001). Yet, the text on the logic behind terrorist attacks and the consequential response from the western ‘allies’, and the paradoxes of late 20th century wars, has never felt more relevant.

In the last twelve months the everyday peace of both the US and Europe has been shaken; and not from one destructive and spectacular event, but from several, repetitive, unexpected attacks that have been carried out mainly by ISIS, or its sympathisers. The spread of these acts on the soil of countries that have not experienced such burst of violence since World War II, have triggered in Western people an unforeseen desire for awareness on the dynamics of current global wars and a state of interdependency that runs between them.

Terrorism for instance has imposed itself on the narrative of contemporary wars around the world, far from being on the extreme margin of conflicts, it has developed as one of the main - or at least the most visible - characteristics of war. The violent presence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Qaida in Yemen, the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the wave of attacks that have been occurring in Europe, together introduce what can be defined as the state of global warfare in the 21st century.

In light of the confused future of global conflicts, a group of experts in the topic have been invited to the Frontline Club - a gathering place for journalists - to discuss the complex structure that characterises current conflicts and how notions of intervention, non-intervention, and diplomacy should be developed in order to fit this new condition of warfare.