Peacekeeping: March 6, 2005

Archives

The UN wants to keep peacekeepers in East Timor for an extra year, mainly because of continued threats from neighboring West Timor, which is a part of Indonesia. Many Indonesians who once lived in East Timor, but fled to West Timor when 10,000 UN peacekeepers arrived in 1999, still believe that East Timor should belong to Indonesia. The number of peacekeepers has been reduced year by year, and only about 500 remain. For the additional year, only about 200 would be needed, mainly to watch the border with West Timor. Dealing with unruly neighbors is a common chore with peacekeepers. In this case, the neighbor (Indonesia) is officially willing to keep the peace at the border. But in practice, the Indonesian government is not willing to use force against its own people to keep them from causing trouble (that it, making it part of Indonesia, by force) in East Timor. Indonesian popular opinion was against the UN peacekeeping actions that made East Timor a separate nation. East Timor, like many parts of Indonesia, is ethnically distinct from the majority of Indonesians (who are Malay Moslems, while East Timorese are Christian Melanesians.) Indonesia took East Timor by force when the Portuguese colonial administration abruptly left in 1975. As soon as Portugal left, the East Timorese declared independence, but the Indonesians said no, and invaded. The East Timorese never accepted the Indonesian conquest, but the move was very popular throughout Indonesia. Now, five years after getting the Indonesians out, the UN is trying to recruit, train and arm an East Timorese army strong enough to at least keep small groups of armed Indonesian irregulars from making trouble along the border. This process is, the UN believes, almost complete. But in the peacekeeping business, you never know. Look at Africa, where several successful peacekeeping jobs later came undone. And then theres the Balkans, where Bosnia and Kosovo are still in danger of exploding again, even with the continued presence of peacekeepers.

 


Article Archive

Peacekeeping: Current 2019 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close