19
Aug
11

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Betrayal in Palestine and Its Legacy (Middle East) – 2

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

 

EGYPT: TWO UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY FORCES AND THREE WARS

In the summer of 1956, as Palestinian raids on Israeli-held territories and Israeli retaliatory attacks became increasingly frequent, the Arab-Israeli conflict took on new dimensions. President Nasser, the charismatic dictator of Egypt, nationalized the Suez Canal and imposed restrictions in the Gulf of Aqaba for Israeli shipping. The conflict threatened to grow into another full scale Arab-Israeli war with a risk of an open East-West confrontation.
Continue reading ‘UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Betrayal in Palestine and Its Legacy (Middle East) – 2′

18
Aug
11

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Betrayal in Palestine and Its Legacy (Middle East) – 1

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

 

In 1945 the United Nations proudly pronounced itself determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Its Charter equipped it with an arsenal of tools needed to pursue such a lofty, almost utopian, goal. In 1947-1948 the Middle East and Palestine offered the UN the first major opportunity to employ these tools and to test the organization’s credibility. The results were negative: instead of preventing the local conflict from escalating, the UN helped to turn it into a major international conflagration. By introducing for a territory engulfed in a civil war a partition plan without the intention of enforcing it, the UN made an international war for Palestine inevitable. It also failed in bringing this war to an end, despite the deployment of several military missions in the Middle East theatre. The partition of Palestine is an ongoing process, leaving Israel without internationally recognized borders and the Palestinians without a state of their own. The Arabs and Israelis feel the consequences daily and with them the rest of the world.
Continue reading ‘UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Betrayal in Palestine and Its Legacy (Middle East) – 1′

17
Aug
11

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Introduction

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

 

Soldiers from all corners of the world congregate under the Blue Flag in god-forsaken places they have difficulty of finding on a map. What brings together young men from Zimbabwe and France, from Russia and Fiji, from Poland and Bangladesh, from Argentina and UK, and, rarely, even from the United States of America? Their common cause is United Nations peacekeeping, which in words of the UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “… stands out, as one of the
Organization’s most original and ambitious undertakings in its efforts to control conflict and promote peace.” 1 But Fred Cuny, an American from Texas, the legendary international relief leader, liked to say that, if the United Nations had been around in 1939, we would all be speaking German.2 He was not alone in thinking that the contribution of the colorful contingents fell miserably short of the grand expectations people had of them.
Continue reading ‘UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Introduction’

16
Aug
11

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Foreword

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

 

(Translated from Polish by Ireneusz Adach)

The history of mankind is branded with armed conflicts of greater or lesser cruelty. In the twentieth century, which was no exception, violent conflagrations reached, in fact, a tragic peak in the number of mainly civilian victims and in the scale of abhorrent crimes committed. The drama of the Second World War and the suffering of victims of the totalitarian Nazi and Stalinist regimes gave rise to a search for effective international countermeasures. The United Nations Charter and the Universal Human Rights Declaration were supposed to provide the foundations of a new order in international relations which would make it possible, not only to react effectively to brutal violations of basic human rights, but also to prevent such violations; a strong desire prevailed among the communities affected by war atrocities as well as their elite: no more Auschwitz, Katyn, Hiroshima, or mass deportations. The cold war put an early end to such hopes. The genocide perpetrated on the people of Cambodia, though without doubt the largest in scale, was only one example of the atrocities committed in defiance of basic human values. The United Nations, an international organization that came into existence to prevent such crimes, proved to be helpless.1
Continue reading ‘UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality: Foreword’

15
Aug
11

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

UN Peacekeeping Myth and Reality

 

Foreword

Introduction

1. Script
2. Main Actors
3. Betrayal in Palestine and Its Legacy (Middle East)
4. Stumbling into War (The Congo)
5. Mission Accomplished (Namibia)
6. The Failed Authority (Cambodia)
7. Defeated by Warlords (Somalia)
8. Witnesses to Genocide (Rwanda)
9. The Predictable Disaster (ex-Yugoslavia)
10. The Prospects

12
Aug
11

Why Nations Go to War: Learning from History

Why Nations Go to War

If we are to seek understanding from history’s vast tapestry, we must also pay attention to its “might-have-beens.” These “might-have-beens” are not just ghostly echoes; in some instances, they are objective possibilities that were missed-most of the time, for want of a free intelligence prepared to explore alternatives. Hence, it is our responsibility not to ignore these “ifs” and “might-have-beens” for they could have been.
Continue reading ‘Why Nations Go to War: Learning from History’

11
Aug
11

Why Nations Go to War: Heart of Darkness: Rwanda and Darfur

Why Nations Go to War

Ours is still a far from peaceful world. September 11, 2001, is embedded in the collective memory of our generation, and George W. Bush’s war with Iraq will echo through history for decades. But there are other wars on a horrendous scale that threaten humanity’s future and must not be ignored. Two of these took place in Africa and involved horrible massacres on an almost unimaginable scale. Both were described as genocide by the United Nations, yet they were slow to arouse effective action by the international community because neither affected the strategic interests of the great powers. They occurred in Rwanda in 1994 and in Sudan ten years later.
Continue reading ‘Why Nations Go to War: Heart of Darkness: Rwanda and Darfur’




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