Occupation and Civil War in the Contemporary World - Essay Example

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The administration of a state occurs in three areas, that is physical base, institutions and principles and ideas. Physical base deals with the geographical area that is governed by the elite and the institutions deal with processes and mechanisms that allow a state to function. Principles and ideas are the basis of the administration since the ideologies govern the country. While some argue that civil wars are permanent and the same other scholars suggest that they are different. For any civil war to take place, there is a need for objective and the trinity. There must be a political objective, capable military and a supportive population for the civil wars to occur. Since civil wars have been there for a long time, scholars from 1990s have sought to theorize wars in order for them to come to a good understanding of the motive and how new and old wars have changed over time (Gray, 2013 pp.3). One aspect that differentiates old war from new war is the fact that the old wars were about ideological or geopolitical goals while the new wars are about political identity.

The civil wars have changed over time, and since the objective now is about political identity, the characteristics and strategies used have also changed. The new wars are characterized with mass killings, forcible resettlements, and population expulsion. As a result of this shift, the international community has come up with new and appropriate strategies aimed at mitigating the negative consequences of civil wars. The conflict management from a global perspective takes both military and non-military approaches as certain international bodies are given the mandate of peace building. Institutions as being major players in the government of a nation remain essential even in the occurrence of civil wars. In the current world, in the face of conflict, organizations like UN, various NGOs in the grassroots, military groups all work together in seeking peace (Kalyvas, 2017, pp.3). The world being a global village work together in pursuit of peace, especially for the vulnerable nations. For instance, Middle East has had a series of civil wars in their quest for democracy. The wars have been prevalent, and the major reason for that is the religious aspect of the Muslims found there who are unwilling to relent as such the war rages. Unlike the notion that may be prevalent that civil wars are just intrastate with the causal factors within the state and the population within, the reality of this new war is that other nations have a bearing on the civil war in a given country. However, that does not allude that there is another government in conflict with the states government but might be external political influences, and that has been the case for Syria continuous civil war.

The rise and complexity of the civil wars across the globe have resulted in the establishment of various organizations and institutions by the world government to address conflict emanating from wars. It seems that civil wars are perpetual and as such a need to devise mechanisms and processes that mitigate the adverse outcomes of civil wars. In this current world, the international body has a part to play addressing civil wars once they arise. Since the libertarian political system governs the international system, the states are guaranteed of independence, sovereignty and equality by players like UN, ICC and the judiciary despite the limitation of the world government. Decisions made by these international bodies is mostly by consensus but can also be made by the votes of the majority. However, when important decisions are to be made by the Security Council (World Legislature), the concurrence of the five big powers is a requirement (Baylis, Owens, and Smith, 2017, pp1). Thus, as much as nations are independent and sovereign and allowed to run their affairs, in the case of civil wars, international interventions supersedes the interests of the nation to mitigate negative outcomes like mass deaths of loss of resources.

Occupation, on the other hand, has changed over time and has also played a pivotal role in shaping the international relations. The objective in the wars is to render the enemy militarily impotent and political helpless so that overthrowing the enemy becomes imminent and imposing control over the nation happens (Holmes, 2017, pp2). Occupation is a temporary situation and presents the citizens with options of either collaborating, suffering or resisting. Whatever option they take means that there are consequences in the long run. The occupying state will have some rights while in the nations but just limited. For instance, they have no access to private property, they cannot export the resources of that country to another for their own monetary gains. However, they have the rights to access food resources and water that they need to survive on during the time of occupancy. Currently, collaboration does not occur because of naivety or fear as it would in the old wars as women would do anything within their power to feed their families.

In the contemporary world, the strategies and means of occupancy have changed since matters like guerrilla wars are not present as they were several decades ago. Further, the increased modern technology has resulted in intelligence and escape networks among the citizens making occupation harder (Buhaug, and Rod, 2006, pp.315). However, the occupying nations as well are using technological devices to advance their course as well as collaborating with powerful military nations to overthrow their targets. Since occupation falls under foreign occupation policy and goes beyond the national borders, the influence of the international society is apparent since the legal back up required to protect the nation should be transcendent.

In the contemporary world, various challenges have been present as it relates to the occupation. First, the HL instruments that provide the standards that govern the start and end of occupancy are not clear but vague making it difficult to implement related laws. The vagueness of the definition of the term occupancy continues to breed challenges in the contemporary world since the local authority is allowed to exercise authority and hostilities continue as well. Such a scenario poses confusion given that not even the policies and laws present can resolve the situation. Therefore, in this time and age, it becomes apparent that there is a need for more precise and particular guidelines on the definition and extent of occupation. Alternatively, the international world can just accept the fact that modernization and occupation are mutually exclusive. In fact some states have interpreted the occupation law as self-serving with a perception of reducing the constraints of the discretionary power. Thus, the relevance of the laws surrounding the occupation has been criticized as pervasive as its application is sought in the contemporary situations. Apparently, there are nations in the world that have been reluctant to apply this law citing its unsuitable for the contemporary situation and that it was all suited for the old wars as noted by Ferraro, Benvenisti, and Koutroulis, (2012 pp.8). As such, if the application of the occupation law is to be accepted by more states, there is a need for an overhaul and complete change of the legal structures to suit the current world system and international society with it variations from the old society.



Buhaug, H. and Rod, J.K., 2006. Local determinants of African civil wars, 19702001. Political Geography, 25(3), pp.315-335.

Baylis, J., Owens, P. and Smith, S. eds., 2017. The globalization of world politics: An introduction to international relations. Oxford University Press.

Ferraro, T., Benvenisti, E. and Koutroulis, V., 2012. Occupation and other forms of administration of foreign territory. ICRC.

Gray, C.S., 2013. War, peace and international relations: an introduction to strategic history. Routledge.

Holmes, T.M., 2017. The Clausewitzian fallacy of absolute war. Journal of Strategic Studies, pp.1-20.

Kalyvas, S.N., 2017. Civil wars. In The Oxford handbook of comparative politics.


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