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Crisis management and conflict resolution simulation: “This means war!” (III)

Four students of International Relations at IE University have been invited to participate in a crisis management and armed conflict simulation, organized by the The Higher Staff College of The Armed Forces (ESFAS) of Spain. During this simulation more than 250 people were involved in a Computer Assisted Exercise (CAX) that simulates joint, combined, and coalition civil-military operations at the operational level.

Following a demanding selection process IE School of International Relations and the The Higher Staff College of The Armed Forces invited Ana Barrenechea, Marco Pastor, Pilar Arenas and Thitivut Ekphaisansup to participate in the computer-based simulation that is taking place in Madrid from May 21st to May 28th.

In this series of blog posts IEU students will share their experience during the simulation!

“This means war!” – These where the words which came out of the Coalition Secretary General’s mouth after the UN and the members of the Alliance sank one of their boats in the Celtique Straits without any reason. Immediately after this action, politicians, diplomats and the military where coming in their masses to our Headquarters to ask for Political and Legal advice. We officially shifted from phase 2.1, which was offensive but more defensive, to 2.2, which was totally offensive. Throughout the day, we were able to see how this simulation had created a binomial relationship with reality. Moreover, we saw how war is not that simple and that it implies much more than shooting weapons and dropping bombs.

Firstly, it is important to explain that for an army to attack or take ANY action they need the approval from the Political level through what is called the Rules of Engagement (ROEs). This is where the LEGAD comes in and tells both the military and the politicians which ROEs they need to implement or remove and change for other ones (always following the parameters given by International Law).

In addition, we discovered how war is not only fought in the battlefield but in many other places. An example of it is the Media War, which is fought to obtain a positive view from the International and National public opinion. Sometimes your country is seen as the aggressor when you are really not. This makes people to not cooperate and for other countries to condemn you and can make it hard for you to take any action. However, if your Media centre is able of turning this around appealing to the emotions of people (i.e. showing the sufferment inside the Refugee Camps) it may give you the upper hand and lead you towards victory.

Therefore, war is not only about the Military and the Politicians but everybody and everything surrounding it.

Written by Pilar Arenas Merino