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Peace Operations and Intrastate Conflict: The Sword or the Olive Branch, by Thomas R. Mockaitis

Westprot, Ct.: Praeger, 1999. . . . ISBN:0275961737.

A critical analysis of peacekeeping operations in intrastate conflicts. Observing that,“Neutrality in a civil conflct is a myth, the author points out that many of the problems which have plagued peacekeeping efforts in intrastate conflicts over the past decade had already been encountered earlier, most notably in the Congo in 1960, but that the institutional memory in the peacekeeping community is extremely poor. He goes on to note that some problems are ultimately intractable, so that while some operations, such the observer missions in the Middle East and Kashmir, or the peacekeeping missions in Cyprus and Sinai, which have been going on for decades “with no end in sight hardly [seem] like a good solution until one looks at the bloodbaths in Rwanda or Bosnia.”

Focusing on three major U.N. operations, the Congo, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavia, Mockaitis points out many of the more obvious errors, spreading the blame for the failure of peacekeeping in intra state conflicts pretty broadly. In a concluding chapter he proposes some fundamental changes to the “paradigm” of peacekeeping.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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