world war E
dispatches from the network society

Trench War in the Caucasus

Armenian and Azeri hackers fight a guerrilla war over Nagorno-Karabakh in cyber-trenches.

[via Paul]

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2 Responses to “Trench War in the Caucasus”

  1. This is really fascinating; so many ambivalent issues show how high the stakes are in world war E.

    1) is cyber-warfare “just wasting time” or is it precisely devastating by virtue of the counter-development pressure it puts on emerging digital infrastructure? guerrilla warfare is not about winning decisive victories, but about, in the words of Fanon, daunting hegemony

    2) are these attacks (on media stations now, and possibly humanitarian organizations and the entire internet infrastructure) really a “violation of human rights?” while we do not yet live in pervasive virtuality, the time is coming, according to Castells, when the degree of real virtuality will be a constituent of everyday human existence – consequently, the day will have to come when virtuality becomes a constituent of human rights – especially insofar as internet infrastructure is critical to providing services/development/expertise

    3) the trend of decentralization away from the state is a harbinger of things to come; independent hackers have always been years ahead of state apparatuses in terms of their ability to conduct cyber-attacks – the more that states, however, are complicit in cementing identity politics, the more likely it is that people will take things into their own hands and, because of the relative anonymity provided by cyberspace, they will be harder if not impossible to track down and prosecute. whereas historic guerrillas relied on the complicity of local people to hide them from authority, cyber-guerrillas are more liberated from these resource constraints, for the time being.

  2. for the moment, it seems to me that in the above case the implications of the guerrilla warfare are still confined to traditional conflict dynamics – i.e. disrupt the operational functions of an existing enemy. It is however interesting, as you point out, to note that a new, and potentially devastating, conflict could start in the virtual world, not as a reflection of a real faultline in the real world, but as a spin-off of the processes of fragmentation and aggregation that take place in the virtual web. In other words, the wars that might start on the internet might not be related to those that are happening in the real world. A good example is the Digg revolt by everyday users who challenge the principles of market economy without necessarily having ever taken the streets protesting against a WTO ministerial conference…


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