Although the end of the Cold War meant the end to the USSR’s hold on Eastern and Central Europe, conflicts in other regions around the world did not end.In fact, it may be argued, simmering issues in Central America and the Persian Gulf exacerbated between 1989-91.With your readings on the First Gulf War and the intervention in Central America, what are the three most important lessons that we’ve learned for peacekeeping operations from these early post-Cold War interventions?What has worked, what has not?Why? Try organizing your initial post using a thesis statement – which is the answer to the question with reasons why.There is no right or wrong answer, only your unique argument.For each reason, provide evidence from the readings and videos to support your answers.Make sure you link what you’ve read for the week to your answer in the discussion question.We try to make the discussion questions quite broad so that you may bring into focus areas that interest you.
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Week 2 Lesson
This week’s readings focus on
peacekeeping in the early 1990s, just after the end of the Cold War. The first major conflict
of the 1990s for the United States was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The US
response included a build-up of personnel and materiel to suppress Saddam Hussein’s
intentions known as Operation Desert Shield. As Desert Shield progressed throughout the
late summer and autumn, the presence of media coverage in conflict exploded. Never
before had any television network attempted to provide 24-hour coverage of a conflict – yet
Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN) provided “headline news” every thirty minutes
around the clock.
Many of the seasoned anchors on CNN today, like Wolf Blitzer, were on-the-ground
reporters as the conflict moved toward a ground war. Not only were reporters embedded in
the field, but briefings by the Defense Department and the State Department were shown
live. For an example, watch this briefing from January 20, 1991. The level of detail offered
by the constant interaction between the US government and media coverage brought the
minutiae of conflict operations into the televisions around the world. For peacekeeping
operations, the new media reporting became a double-edged sword. On one hand, public
awareness of global issues expanded, resulting in more widespread support for many
operations. Alternatively, failures were readily apparent and often were amplified by the
media in an effort to “get to the bottom” of the operations.
The media coverage explosion in the early 1990s in peacekeeping operations demanded a
new look at the types of missions around the world – their origin, their goals, their
progress. During this time, scholars began to discuss whether “traditional peacekeeping”
existed anymore, with its focus on “the so-called holy trinity of consent, impartiality and the
minimum use of force” (Bellamy and Williams 2010, 173). By its nature, traditional
peacekeeping meant a long-term commitment, yet violent conflicts became increasingly
short-term focused and intense.
The Gulf War conflict mentioned
above lasted in total only 5.5 months, from the buildup beginning in August 1990 to the
ground war offensive lasting from January 17 – February 28, 1991. Coalition-building
seemed possible in the post-Cold War era, with over 35 countries supporting the US in the
“ground war” at the end of the conflict. In this volatile, immediate response environment,
traditional peacekeeping fell out of favor. “It [was] neither a creative force in wider conflict
resolution processes nor a coercive instrument in defence of such processes. As activities of
a secondary kind, the creation and success of traditional peacekeeping missions depend
upon the consent and positive contribution of the disputants” (Bellamy and Williams 2010,
173-74). Yet because the world became more interconnected through media and
interdependent through trade, culture, migration, and other interactions, public perception of
the role of peacekeeping began to change. Critics began to question how traditional
peacekeeping could be adapted to the globalizing environment.
Our lessons this week focus on the changing international atmosphere and expectations for
peacekeeping operations. Not only were ongoing operations becoming costlier, expansion
into new operations put more stress on the UN system. Regional organizations like NATO
often took the lead in entering conflict areas, and as we’ll see next week with conflict in the
former Yugoslavia, these organizations engaged in violent conflict amid ongoing
peacekeeping operations. The period 1991-94 as outlined in the Week 2 readings contains
significant peacekeeping operations in El Salvador (ONUSAL 1991-95), Mozambique
(ONUMOZ 1992-94), and Cambodia (1992-93). Each of these operations sits on the cusp
between traditional peacekeeping and what some authors refer to as “wider
peacekeeping.” The term wider peacekeeping includes the “wider aspects of peacekeeping
operations carried out with the consent of the belligerent parties but in an environment that
may be volatile. Wider peacekeeping is also sometimes referred to as ‘second generation
peacekeeping’ . . . distinct from the first generation because such operations tended to take
place within states rather than between them and in an environment where the interposition
of blue helmets between organized belligerents was either not possible or ineffective”
(Bellamy and Williams 2010, 194). By 1995, authors labeled wider peacekeeping as
“Chapter 6 ½ peacekeeping” to amplify the idea that peacekeeping falls somewhere between
Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandate and the enforcement measures of Chapter VII of the
Charter. Bailey and Daws (1995) first reported on the increasingly ambiguous nature of the
operations of the 1990s (Bellamy and Williams 2010, 194).
In the invasion of Kuwait, if Kuwait had been a tiny country in Africa or Asia without any
natural resources, aggression by Iraq might have been addressed by Kuwait on its own
under Chapter VI. Yet it was the presence of Kuwait’s primary natural resource and its
significant geographical location in the Middle East that created an imperative under Chapter
VII. See the Council on Foreign relations history of dependence on oil in the Middle Eastern
region. https://www.cfr.org/timeline/oil-dependence-and-us-foreign-policy. Take a look at
the provisions of Chapter VI and Chapter VII below. It seems clear in the context of Kuwait
that Chapter VII applies. Yet what would have been the role of peacekeeping if the conflict
had not ended quickly?
The texts of the Chapter VI and Chapter VII articles is printed in their entirety
from http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/ .
CHAPTER VI: PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the
maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by
negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to
regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle
their dispute by such means.
The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to
international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance
of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and
3. Any Member of the United Nations may bring any dispute, or any situation of the
nature referred to in Article 34, to the attention of the Security Council or of the
4. A state which is not a Member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the
Security Council or of the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party if it
accepts in advance, for the purposes of the dispute, the obligations of pacific
settlement provided in the present Charter.
5. The proceedings of the General Assembly in respect of matters brought to its
attention under this Article will be subject to the provisions of Articles 11 and 12.
6. The Security Council may, at any stage of a dispute of the nature referred to in
Article 33 or of a situation of like nature, recommend appropriate procedures or
methods of adjustment.
7. The Security Council should take into consideration any procedures for the
settlement of the dispute which have already been adopted by the parties.
8. In making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take
into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the
parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the
Statute of the Court.
9. Should the parties to a dispute of the nature referred to in Article 33 fail to settle it by
the means indicated in that Article, they shall refer it to the Security Council.
10. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to
endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide
whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as
it may consider appropriate.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 33 to 37, the Security Council may, if all the
parties to any dispute so request, make recommendations to the parties with a view to a
pacific settlement of the dispute.
CHAPTER VII: ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THREATS TO THE PEACE, BREACHES OF THE PEACE,
AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the
peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be
taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and
In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the
recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the
parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable.
Such provisional measures shall be without prejudice to the rights, claims, or position of the
parties concerned. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such
The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be
employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations
to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic
relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and
the severance of diplomatic relations.
Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be
inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces
as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may
include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members
of the United Nations.
1.All Members of the United Nations, in order to contribute to the maintenance of
international peace and security, undertake to make available to the Security Council, on
its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, armed forces,
assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of
maintaining international peace and security.
2.Such agreement or agreements shall govern the numbers and types of forces, their
degree of readiness and general location, and the nature of the facilities and assistance
to be provided.
3.The agreement or agreements shall be negotiated as soon as possible on the initiative of
the Security Council. They shall be concluded between the Security Council and
Members or between the Security Council and groups of Members and shall be subject
to ratification by the signatory states in accordance with their respective constitutional
When the Security Council has decided to use force it shall, before calling upon a Member not
represented on it to provide armed forces in fulfilment of the obligations assumed under Article
43, invite that Member, if the Member so desires, to participate in the decisions of the Security
Council concerning the employment of contingents of that Member’s armed forces.
In order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold
immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement
action. The strength and degree of readiness of these contingents and plans for their combined
action shall be determined within the limits laid down in the special agreement or agreements
referred to in Article 43, by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff
Plans for the application of armed force shall be made by the Security Council with the
assistance of the Military Staff Committee.
1.There shall be established a Military Staff Committee to advise and assist the Security
Council on all questions relating to the Security Council’s military requirements for the
maintenance of international peace and security, the employment and command of
forces placed at its disposal, the regulation of armaments, and possible disarmament.
2.The Military Staff Committee shall consist of the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members
of the Security Council or their representatives. Any Member of the United Nations not
permanently represented on the Committee shall be invited by the Committee to be
associated with it when the efficient discharge of the Committee’s responsibilities
requires the participation of that Member in its work.
3.The Military Staff Committee shall be responsible under the Security Council for the
strategic direction of any armed forces placed at the disposal of the Security Council.
Questions relating to the command of such forces shall be worked out subsequently.
4.The Military Staff Committee, with the authorization of the Security Council and after
consultation with appropriate regional agencies, may establish regional sub-committees.
1.The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance
of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United
Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine.
2.Such decisions shall be carried out by the Members of the United Nations directly and
through their action in the appropriate international agencies of which they are members.
The Members of the United Nations shall join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the
measures decided upon by the Security Council.
If preventive or enforcement measures against any state are taken by the Security Council, any
other state, whether a Member of the United Nations or not, which finds itself confronted with
special economic problems arising from the carrying out of those measures shall have the right
to consult the Security Council with regard to a solution of those problems.
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective selfdefence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security
Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures
taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to
the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the
Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary
in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Wider peacekeeping has evolved
beyond the holy trinity of consent, impartiality, and the minimum use of force into six larger
11. Wider peacekeeping occurs within the context of ongoing violence.
12. The “wars” in which wider peacekeeping occurs are “new” in the sense they are not
traditional interstate conflicts.
13. Soldiers in wider peacekeeping take on more roles and responsibilities such as
separating forces, “disarming belligerents, organizing and supervising elections,
delivering humanitarian aid, protecting civilians and UN personnel, guaranteeing
freedom of movement, host-state capacity-building, monitoring ceasefires, and
enforcing no-fly zones” (Bellamy and Williams 2010, 194).
14. Wider peacekeeping involves the interaction between soldiers and civilian operations
such as NGOs with whom they coordinate activities.
15. The mandates of wider peacekeeping tend to change. Within UNTPROFOR’s
mandate which lasted just over three years, from 1992-95, the UN Security Council
passed 83 resolutions to modify the peacekeepers’ mission and roles.
16. Wider peacekeeping missions often encounter financial hardship because the
mission continues to shift while the budget does not move as quickly. This creates a
“significant gulf between means and ends” to complete the mission (Bellamy and
Williams 2010, 195).
Wider peacekeeping in practice began in 1992 with the UNPROFOR mission in Bosnia
(1992-95). In Week 3, we’ll explore UNPROFOR in more detail.
For reference only (not required), check out the C-SPAN video on the adoption of the UN
Security Council resolution to end the Gulf War. The clip is over 4 hours in length, but it is
interesting to flip through it to view glimpses of the debates and process.
Bellamy, Alex J., and Paul D. Williams. 2010. Understanding Peacekeeping. 2nd.
Cambridge: Polity Press.
Vol. 12, No. 3, 399–405, November 2007
The Western Sahara Cul-de-Sac
School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
ABSTRACT For the first time in seven years, on 18 June 2007, representatives of the
Kingdom of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de
Oro (POLISARIO) began face-to-face negotiations facilitated by UN officials regarding the
political future of the Western Sahara territory. Morocco has striven to obtain international
recognition for its occupation of this territory over three decades while the POLISARIO sticks
to the principle of self-determination to be exercised through the organization of a UNsponsored referendum. This new peacemaking attempt is overshadowed by the disappointing
outcome of past negotiations between the parties that failed to bridge their differences over
the future of the world’s largest country in the UN list of non-self-governing territories.
The UN Settlement Proposals
On 30 August 1988, Morocco and the POLISARIO accepted in principle the
so-called Settlement Proposals for the Peace Plan in Western Sahara under the
auspices of UN secretary general Pérez de Cuéllar. The Settlement Proposals
contained ceasefire provisions and the basis for a political solution to the conflict.
On 29 April 1991, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western
Sahara (MINURSO) was established by the Security Council, in its resolution 690.
The first contingents were deployed in September to verify the ceasefire and the
end of hostilities alongside the sand berm (the name given to the sand wall
dividing both sides of the country), which was gradually built by Morocco in the
1980s across the desert to impede the incursions of the so-called Saharawi
Liberation Army (SLA). Almost two decades have gone by since the approval of
the Settlement Proposals by the parties but the Western Saharan conflict appears as
irresolvable as ever.
The main political aim of the Settlement Proposals was the organization of a
referendum for the self-determination of the Western Sahara people. The parties,
the POLISARIO Front and the Kingdom of Morocco, agreed that the voters’ list
would be based on the last census undertaken by the Spanish authorities of the
Spanish Western Sahara in 1974. However, the parties strongly disagreed
regarding the criteria to update this list. Morocco was keen to include many
Correspondence Address: Andreu Solà-Martı́n, School of Social Sciences, Dover Street Building,
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Email: Andreu.Sola-Martin@manchester.ac.uk
1362-9395 Print/1743-9418 Online/07/030399-7 q 2007 Taylor & Francis
people living in Morocco who allegedly belonged to Western Saharan families,
but the former Spanish authorities who elaborated the census list denied that such
claims were grounded in historical evidence. Nevertheless, th …
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