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The end of the Cold War in 1991 did not abolish armed conflict, but it coincided with a substantial decline in the total number of violent outbreaks around the world. At the same time, though, the number of internal wars increased substantially, making these the dominant form of conflict of the contemporary era. These empirical trends prompted a lively debate among scholars as to whether the observed quantitative change in conflict patterns that had taken place in the wake of the Cold War also indicated a qualitative transformation of warfare. Many authors indeed argued that intrastate or civil wars underwent a qualitative change during this time period.

In this context, “new” wars as a thesis was introduced by Mary Kaldor, who suggested that in parts of ...

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