Republication from www.hf.uio.no ( University of Oslo)

“King Sverre’s march over the Vosse mountains” by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1862). Sverre was King of Norway from 1184 to 1202. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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There are many ways in which to understand the new wars of today. One way is to look at the wars that took place in medieval times.

Most wars since 1989 have not been fought between states. The divisions associated with classical types of warfare – between soldiers and civilians, soldiers and criminals, war and peace – are not that clear anymore. Such as the present situation in Afghanistan.

In recent years, there has been a major international discussion among political scientists and anthropologists about how to understand new types of wars that have arisen since the Cold War.

The classical understanding of the term “civil war” is often imprecise when wars are fought across national borders. Instead, the term “new wars” has become more common among many experts and researchers.

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