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Game of Proxies – Towards a new model of warfare : Experiences from the CAR, Libya, Mali, Syria, and Ukraine


[ 1 ] Instytut Studiów Strategicznych, Wydział Bezpieczeństwa Narodowego, Akademia Sztuki Wojennej | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[5.5] Political science and public administration

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 31 | Journal number: no. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Konflikty zbrojne
  • Libia
  • Mali
  • Outsourcing
  • Ukraina
  • Syria
  • Wojna
  • Armed conflicts
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Syria
  • Outsourcing
  • Ukraine
  • War

EN The objective of the study is to carry out a meaningful comparison that demonstrates the similarities and differences of various conflict theatres where proxy forces were employed. The analyses of the discussed cases focused on different aspects of the conflict and nature of the proxy use. The analyses presented on the following pages were conducted on the basis of the literature on the subject, governmental research and reports, and supporting sources reporting recent developments that complemented academic sources. Various non-state actors such as ethnic militias, paramilitary units, and private military companies have become more and more visible on contemporary battlegrounds. Modern states employ those actors to further their objectives, as this limits their own political and financial costs. This increasingly visible phenomenon points to an emerging new model of warfare where state actors are relying ever more on proxies of various character and nature. It is highly likely that any future conflict will be characterised by a proxy-based model of warfare, which will consist of a limited footprint made by regular forces (or none at all) and, consequently, the extended use of proxies supported by special forces. Because such an approach is less costly, proxies will be more often employed by low-budget states, previously reluctant to carry out such costly military endeavours. Denying the actions and affiliations of these proxies will inevitably follow and, in turn, a lack of political accountability and responsibility for the conflict’s outcome.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

77 - 97





Bibliografia, netografia na stronach 93-97.

License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021