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Report: Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Libya, 2014-Present


This case study is intended to highlight the dynamics of Gray Zone conflict in Libya since 2014. It places specific emphasis on the roles of non-state actors within the conflict and how these actors utilize different levels of power to achieve their aims. With a focus on analyzing the dyadic relationships between various types of conflict actors, this research examines which types of dyads employ which instruments of power, as well as to what extent these activities fall within the Gray Zone of conflict as opposed to the more precisely delineated Black and White arenas. This research aims to assist practitioners and policy makers in determining how the types of actors involved in a conflict can influence which instruments of power deserve special consideration in that conflict. This investigation will also aid Special Operations Forces (SOF) in determining which types of belligerents may make effective partners depending on the type of adversary faced, and which instruments of power SOF should train and equip these partners to implement.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Gabriel, Rachel A., and Mila A. Johns. “Demystifying Gray Zone Conflict: A Typology of Conflict Dyads and Instruments of Power in Libya, 2014-Present,” Report to DHS S&T Office of University Programs and DoD Strategic Multilayer Assessment Branch. College Park, MD: START, 2016. https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_DemystifyingGrayZoneConflict_Libya_Nov2016.pdf

START Author(s):