The paper puts into focus the way terrorist and anti/counter-terrorist operations in the framework of the Global War on Terrorism (GwoT) in the Middle East (ME) fit into the theoretical provisions of peace and conflict studies. General conceptual and methodological capacities and deficits in the field are discussed. Specifically, the prevalent understanding of the concepts military conflict, conflict de-escalation, and nation-building (conflict transformation) is addressed. First, the territorial limits, immediate participation, and possible physical differentiation of combatants and non-combatants in the traditional military hostilities counters with the 'non-territoriality', 'invisibility' of the combat techniques and increasing amalgamation of civil and military elements on the battlefields of the GWoT. Second, the notion of military de-escalation, usually associated with 'the moment of hurting stalemate', implicating temporality of conflicts, contrasts the ever-changing conflict dynamics and flexibility of combat strategies locally, regionally, and globally. Third, the policy of (neo-liberal) nation-building, enforced as an intended transformative conflict strategy under the banner of the GWoT in the ME, seems to have doubtful effect on the continuing self-bombing attacks/local insurgency or secret punishment operations thereafter. Examining these three established terms is to support us in our assessment of the ontological nature of contemporary wars and world hegemonies alike, heavily incorporated in the paradigm of 'security' and 'irregularity'. Both the technical and political incentives for the participants in the GWoT have shown that the concepts of 'protracted conflict' and 'conflict resolution' from the traditional peace studies and of 'structures of inequality and oppression' from the critical peace studies should be brought into the terrorism investigation in the discipline more explicitly. Critical IR, political theory and geography perspectives are namely to mediate in this effort. It should be more about conflict resolution, all-embracing disarmament, critical foreign policy, and global justice analysis.
War and peace, terrorism, international conflict, theory of international relations, globalization;