Hybrid Wars is a podcast series by United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, exploring how violent conflict around the world is becoming more deadly and more difficult to resolve than ever before. This podcast builds upon original field fieldwork of government-led counter-insurgency: the Nigeria’s Civilian Joint Task Force, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units and Somalia’s darwish forces. The research, Hyrbid Conflict, Hybrid Peace, can be found at: https://cpr.unu.edu/hybrid-conflict.html.
The views expressed in these episodes are those of the speakers, not of United Nations University or its partners.
The Battle Against ISIS in Iraq (Part 2)
In this fifth episode, Adam Day speaks to Mara Revkin, National Security Law Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center, about her research regarding the Islamic State, particular the "stayers" - those who decided to stay in Islamic State-controlled territory and who are now considered ISIS affiliates. What happens to the cooks and cleaners of ISIS, or those forced to pay taxes to them? Is there a likelihood of an ISIS resurgence? How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted these groups? Listen to find out.
The Battle Against ISIS in Iraq (Part 1)
In this fourth episode, Adam Day speaks to Fanar Haddad, Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute at the National University, about the battle against the Islamic State, tracing the formation of ISIS back to the Iraq War that began in 2003. They focus on the Popular Mobilization Units, paramilitary groups that sprung up in 2014 in local Iraqi communities to defend themselves against ISIS, and consider the role that the Popular Mobilization Units play in the Iraqi State today.
The Long War in Somalia
In this third episode, Adam Day speaks to Vanda Felbab-Brown, who regularly does fieldwork in Somalia, going to places where very few people from outside the region go, meeting with dozens of armed groups and militias around the country. One of the groups she’s most interested in is Al-Shabaab, a group that emerged as a radical youth wing of the Islamic Courts that controlled Mogadishu in 2006. It’s listed as a terrorist group and may have links to other terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria. In 2009, Al-Shabaab took over a lot of southern Somalia, taking over huge territories and ruling them with brutality and repression.
How are the Somali militias, particularly the darwish, battling against Al-Shabbab and what is the group's role in the country?
Fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria
In this second episode, we are going to be talking about Nigeria and the battle against the terrorist insurgency Boko Haram. We’re going to look at one of the untold stories in this fight: the community-based militias that emerged to defend themselves against Boko Haram, militias that began when the Nigerian army couldn’t do the job on its own. Today, these paramilitary forces have become more than just fighters against Boko Haram, they are likely now permanent features on the Nigerian landscape.
Adam Day speaks to Vanda Felbab-Brown, one of the foremost experts on Nigerian counterinsurgencies. She has gone to Nigeria dozens of times, often into highly insecure parts of the north, interviewing fighters on the front lines of the battle against Boko Haram. She said that in order to understand the paramilitary groups fighting Boko Haram, you first need to understand how the group emerged nearly twenty years ago.
The Changing Nature of Armed Conflict
This podcast is about how war is changing. Over the past three years, our researchers have spent months in some of the most war-torn places on Earth. They have gone into parts of Iraq where ISIS occupied vast territories. They have witnessed first-hand how the battle against al-Shabaab is being waged in Somalia. They travelled to northern Nigeria where Boko Haram still threatens hundreds of thousands of people today.
In this first episode, Adam Day speaks to Erica Gaston to consider the complex role and impact of paramilitary groups in some of the most conflicted-affected areas in the world. This draws on a recent United Nations University report entitled Hybrid Conflict, Hybrid Peace. Paramilitary and militia forces are often hybrid actors, playing a role somewhere in between official State and non-State armed groups. They are creatures of fragmented, hybrid systems who then often go on to further uphold such systems and structures post-conflict.