Institute for the Study of Asymmetric Conflict

Contact Information

  • Where - Israel (The Middle East)
  • Website - www.asymmetricconflict.org
  • Contact Person - Don Radlauer
  • Email - dradlauer@asymmetricconflict.org
  • Address - 48 Arbel St., Alfei Menashe, 44851, Israel
  • Other - Yael Shahar, yshahar@asymmetricconflict.org

Areas of Expertise

The Institute for the Study of Asymmetric Conflict has expertise in a range of areas, including:

Main Aims and Objectives

ISAC studies and teaches about the nature and structure of asymmetric conflicts, taking a broadly interdisciplinary approach. ISAC attempts to understand how “evolutionary” pressures induce organizations and states to perpetuate rather than resolve conflicts, hoping to find strategies to encourage the transition from “permanent crisis” to constructive conflict resolution.

Vision

Modern-day asymmetric conflicts often seem to be both endless and pointless, with the innocent suffering from brutal violence as well as the degradation of civil society brought about by constant threat. States, while remaining the most effective providers of security and prosperity to their citizens, have tremendous difficulty coping with non-state adversaries while maintaining their international—and even domestic—legitimacy. ISAC believes that a better understanding of the origins and dynamics of these “fourth-generation” conflicts can enable faster and more constructive conflict resolution, greater social resilience, and ultimately a more peaceful world.

Mission

ISAC will conduct broadly interdisciplinary research on the factors that promote and prolong conflicts, the ways in which conflicts can be successfully resolved, and strategies for coping with ongoing conflict; ISAC will actively seek alliances with other organizations and individuals in order to help develop this field of study. ISAC will educate the general public as well as security and government professionals through website publications, lectures, and workshops. ISAC will also provide advice to government bodies regarding constructive, effective strategies for conducting and resolving asymmetric conflicts.

Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation

In ISAC’s teaching and writing, it attempts to convey the idea that attempting to “win” in the conventional sense is not usually a productive approach in asymmetric conflict. These conflicts tend to have a self-perpetuating dynamic, taking on a life of their own in which “root causes” never (or seldom) get resolved, but the organizations engaged in conflict survive and thrive. ISAC believes that an understanding of these issues is the first step in changing this conflict-perpetuation dynamic so that more constructive approaches have a chance to work.

Where and with Whom

ISAC is still in its start-up phase, seeking funding and opportunities. As such, ISAC have yet to establish solid relationships with governments and other NGO’s.

Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation

ISAC does not, at present, intend to be directly active in on-the-ground conflict transformation; its focus is on theory and teaching rather than direct practice. However, over time ISAC expects to be a resource for entities (particularly governments) seeking a better understanding of conflict dynamics and the ways in which conflicts can be better managed and resolved.

ISAC plans to act on a number of fronts to further its mission:

Databases

ISAC will design, develop, and populate databases pertaining to asymmetric conflicts, including general data such as state and organization profiles, conflict descriptions, and the like, with “drill-down” capabilities to the level of individual fatalities and detailed social network analysis of non-state organizations. ISAC will work with other institutions to create and promote common standards for conflict data reporting, with the goal of producing a reliable, comprehensive, and up-to-date global conflict database populated by experts in each region and conflict. ISAC will work with experts in the field of social network visualization, data mining, and other advanced techniques in order to further the science of conflict database design, population, and reporting.

Theory

ISAC will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to developing our understanding of modern conflict, drawing on fields as diverse as psychology, sociology, economics, computer science, and military strategy. ISAC will work to develop a broad international network of experts and institutions devoted to this field of study. ISAC believes that no single discipline can encompass all aspects of the “wicked problem” of modern asymmetric conflicts; the best approach to the field is thus to avoid the compartmentalized thinking that comes with over-specialization.

Publishing

ISAC will establish a website providing articles and reference materials to both the general public and specialists in the field. ISAC will participate actively in already-existing refereed journals dealing with asymmetric conflict; if developments indicate the need, ISAC will establish a new refereed journal to help advance the field. ISAC will also publish in other venues as appropriate.

Teaching

ISAC will seek academic affiliation and a role in teaching and curriculum development; ISAC will also actively participate in lecturing and leading workshops for government, security, and industry professionals seeking an understanding of “fourth-generation” conflict.

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