I am haggling semantics but... To me, "combat" is a term used to describe fighting, specifically fighting within a military designation and in a organized fashion. Over the years I have chosen to be more particular about combat arts, fighting arts and martial arts. As Cliff said, I think that aikido can be used as a combative art, but aikido training resists defining an "enemy" with whom to combat.
Second, I think aikido resolves confrontation. Conflict resolution is somewhat of a political buzz term that we like because it sounds productive and positive. I believe the terminology gives us three issues (that I know of): 1. that nage is resolving the conflict. 2. that nage's intention is the correct resolution. 3. that aikido happens once there is conflict. Uke is responsible for resolving the confrontation. The assumption nage is always right is simply outrageous. We [should] be connected to our partner before the moment of conflict arises.
For example. Robin Hood and Little John wish to cross the river using a fallen tree. Both begin crossing and confront each other on the log. In the story, Robin Hood refuses to retract and allow Little John to cross, Little John the same. We have a confrontation which created a conflict. However, if either party would have let the other pass, the confrontation would not have yielded a conflict. I think it is important that we consider conflict can be physical, emotional, or mental. And, that there are pre-indicators to conflict that we look to identify.
I think in general, it takes significant training to remove yourself physically, emotionally, and mental from the investment of a fight. I think when you reach this stage the role of sparring or more intense training can improve your aikido because it will provide a different stress. I think it is generally very difficult for people to actually do this and is why we see it rarely in aikido.