From Peacekeeping to Peace Enforcement

The Somalia Precedent

by Patrick Gilkes
published in MER185

The US decision to intervene in Somalia in December 1992 came well after the two-year-old crisis had finally hit the headlines. The power vacuum that followed the flight of Siad Barre from Mogadishu in January 1991, and the subsequent civil war in the capital, particularly the fighting between November 1991 and March 1992, attracted little attention despite the country’s collapse into anarchy. [1]

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How Safe Is the Safe Haven?

by Ralf Backer , Ronald Ofteringer
published in MER187

More than 10 million landmines have been scattered in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1975. Fifty percent of these were made in Italy. During the Iran-Iraq war, vast areas like Haj Omran and Penjwin were mined by both sides. After the Anfal campaign in 1988, Iraqi troops heavily mined the remnants of destroyed villages and booby-trapped them to prevent access by villagers and Kurdish fighters. The last round of mining started during the Gulf crisis in 1990 when Iraqi troops laid hundreds of thousands of mines near the Turkish border to hinder a possible allied attack from Turkish territory.

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An Interview with Muhammad Sahnoun

by Joe Stork
published in MER187

Muhammad Sahnoun is a former Algerian diplomat who served as the special representative of UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Somalia prior to the US military intervention there. He is presently a fellow at the International Development and Research Center in Ottawa. Joe Stork spoke with him in Washington, DC in August 1993.

You are from a country that went through a national liberation struggle and which has historically taken a strong position against intervention. Yet you’re a practitioner of intervention. Do you see this as a new period requiring actions of this sort, or is this something that’s long overdue?

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An Interview with Mark Duffield

by Joe Stork
published in MER187

Mark Duffield visited Croatia and Bosnia between January 9 and 22, 1994, as part of a study of complex political emergencies. Joe Stork spoke with him on January 28, 1994.

In your field report you refer to the failure to provide protection as representing a political failure of historic consequences.

Bosnia and the Future of Military Humanitarianism

by Mark Duffield
published in MER187

Mark Duffield was in Bosnia and Croatia from January 9 to January 22, 1994 as part of a larger study of complex emergencies. The following is condensed from his “first impression” field report.

The war in former Yugoslavia has displaced over 4 million people. Nearly 3 million of these are in Bosnia, where half the population has been uprooted. From a humanitarian perspective, the war in Bosnia presents itself as the blockade and terrorization of civilian populations. While access can be negotiated, as the war has spread across central Bosnia this has become increasingly difficult. Food supplies have fallen to critical conditions.

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Sovereignty and Intervention After the Cold War

Lessons from the Emergency Relief Desk

by John Prendergast , Mark Duffield
published in MER187

Over the past several years, the perception has become widespread that the world has entered a period of profound change. A main feature of this change has been some erosion of the principle of state sovereignty as a major structural feature of international relations. The new activism of the United Nations and the trend toward selective military intervention for humanitarian purposes and as a means of international crisis management have been the most prominent features of this development.

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From the Editors

published in MER187

The collapse of the bipolar world order, and the profound crises of many post-colonial nation-states in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, Central America and Central Asia, have given rise to a range of conflicts and major humanitarian disasters that in turn have fueled a new debate in the US and elsewhere over military intervention. This debate cuts across once familiar political alignments, right and left, and has occupied the major journals of elite policy opinion as well as much of the left media.

Security Council Conflicts Over Sanctions

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER193

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Intervention, Sovereignty and Responsibility

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER193

Four years after Operation Desert Storm, and the mass uprisings that followed in the southern and northern parts of Iraq against Saddam Hussein’s regime, the country’s economic and social fabric is in tatters. Economic sanctions, following a destructive war and compounded by the Iraqi government’s abusive and divisive social and political policies, have devoured the country’s once substantial middle class and further impoverished the already poor. Even if tomorrow the sanctions were lifted and the regime were to vanish, the capacity of Iraqi society to reconstitute itself is in grave peril.

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