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Title: International intervention in internal conflicts : problems and challenges in the post-Cold War era
Author: Armstrong, Ian Cameron
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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As the Cold War drew to an end, a number of long-running internal conflicts began to mature, which enabled international mediators to help the belligerent parties to find a solution to these conflicts. Historically, a key obstacle to implementation has been a lack of trust between the parties: in order to stop the fighting, both sides must disarm, but to do so leaves each of the parties vulnerable to cheating by the other side. In order to help the parties to implement the peace agreement, an intervention strategy developed that called for the removal of partisan outside parties to simplify the political process, demobilisation of military forces under the oversight of international military observers and reform of the political and judicial system to help create a functional post-war polity. The key for this strategy to succeed, however, was that the conflict had to be 'ripe,' which meant that the parties felt a military victory could not be won at an acceptable cost, that each party had identifiable spokespeople who could secure the approval of their constituents for a peace agreement, and that an alternative political solution could be identified. In post-Cold War environment, however, interventions have been less successful in helping to secure a peaceful solution to internal conflicts. This has been because international actors have been intervening at a much earlier phase in a conflict's development, which has meant that the conditions of ripeness' have not existed. In addition, changes in the international system, and the ready availability of high-worth commodities (such as diamonds) have made the mobilisation of armed forces easier. As a result, the structures of the conflicts have frequently encouraged further fighting, which has conflicted with international efforts to 'create the conditions for peace.' The intervenors' inability to achieve their aims with traditional peacekeeping strategies has meant that they have increasingly sought to gain control over situations through the use of coercion. Assertion of control by international actors - up to and including the use of force - has in fact been counter-productive, because it gives them an interest in a particular outcome to the conflict. This reverses the earlier strategy of removing outside parties from the conflict. Paradoxically, the more intervenors seek to gain control over the situation, the less likely they are to succeed in 'creating the conditions for peace.'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral