Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy defines war as “an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities” (Orend 1). From these definitions war can occur between people, cultures and states. War is usually aimed at having power over the other person. An overall definition of war is continuous violence between groups in which state military forces take part on one side in case of a civil war or both sides in case of interstate wars.
There are different types of war which are triggered by different situations. Hegemonic war also known as global war or world war or general war is a war aimed at controlling or conquering the whole world. It last happened during the Second World War. Where a state attempts to conquer and occupy another state, it is referred to as total war. The aim of the state is to reach the capital city and force the government to surrender. The whole of the enemy’s family is perceived as a legitimate target. After conquering, the victor replaces the subdued government with its own choice. An example of total war is the 2003 Iraq war.
In limited war, the conqueror aims at doing other things apart from conquering and occupying the state. It is a common phenomenon in border wars, after occupying the state it wants, it may stop there to defend its gains. An example of such a war is the U.S. war against Iraq in 1991; U.S. recaptured Kuwait but did not go further to topple Saddam Hussein’s government.
Civil war occurs between some groups within a state with the aim of creating, or preventing a new government for the whole state or some parts of it. Guerilla war is operated by illegal forces that are hidden by civilian population. They rarely confront an enemy; instead they harass and punish the enemy for a long time till the enemy limits its controls. Finally the enemy loosens its grip on the territory and liberates it to the guerrilla army (Eckbaull 1).
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