International Relations

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Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter examines wars, attempts to create regional order, and how these have impacted on the structure of the Middle East regional system, which, in turn, has reshaped the states that make it up. The search for solutions to regional conflict, for a basis on which to create a secure order, has been ongoing since the founding of the Middle East states system. However, each of the major attempts to build regional order proved defective, in varying degrees ameliorating or containing conflict but also either failing to deal with its roots or sometimes actually exacerbating it. War has originated in domestic level dissatisfaction shaped by these struggles which, when institutionalised in rival states, is expressed in conflict at the states system level, frequently over territory. Everywhere, in a region afflicted with irredentism, domestic politics encourages nationalist outbidding.

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Eşref Aksu

This study explores the normative dimension of the evolving role of the United Nations in peace and security and, ultimately, in governance. What is dealt with here is both the UN's changing raison d'être and the wider normative context within which the organisation is located. The study looks at the UN through the window of one of its most contentious, yet least understood, practices: active involvement in intra-state conflicts as epitomised by UN peacekeeping. Drawing on the conceptual tools provided by the ‘historical structural’ approach, it seeks to understand how and why the international community continuously reinterprets or redefines the UN's role with regard to such conflicts. The study concentrates on intra-state ‘peacekeeping environments’, and examines what changes, if any, have occurred to the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. One of the original aspects of the study is its analytical framework, where the conceptualisation of ‘normative basis’ revolves around objectives, functions and authority, and is closely connected with the institutionalised values in the UN Charter such as state sovereignty, human rights and socio-economic development.

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Understanding environmental security

Water scarcity, the 1980s’ Palestinian uprising and implications for peace

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Jeffrey Sosland

In this chapter, the term 'environmental security' is most appropriate when states or domestic groups are experiencing intense renewable resource scarcity and where a lack of effective domestic or international institutions further aggravates the problem. It explains the concepts that have led to confusion in the water scarcity and environmental security literature. The chapter differentiates between domestic and international water conflicts and also explains the causal relationship between water scarcity and conflict, and clearly defines the terms 'violent water conflict' and 'environmental scarcity'. It offers arguments why water scarcity rarely causes war and considers how scarcity under certain circumstances can nevertheless lead to acute conflict. The chapter focuses on warlike acts in relation to water disputes prior to the advent of the 1987 Palestinian uprising. The chapter examines the implications of water scarcity for the ongoing Middle East peace process.

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The UN’s role in historical context

Impact of structural tensions and thresholds

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter examines the history and evolution of the United Nations' (UN) response to intra-state conflicts after World War 2. It identifies the most significant ‘material’ and ‘ideational’ configurations that evolved in connection with the UN as an institution and impacted on the behaviour of and prescriptions for the UN as an actor in peacekeeping environments. This chapter describes how the Cold War and the North-South confrontation manifested themselves as part of the structural evolution of the international system, which both constrained and facilitated the relationship between international actors and the UN.

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UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts

Evolution of the normative basis

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter analyses the normative change dimension to account for the historical trends that affects or influences the United Nations' (UN) peacekeeping function. It suggests that the early 1960s and early 1990s constituted critical thresholds in intra-state peacekeeping, each with its own particular normative resolution as to the UN's objectives and authority. This chapter describes how the interests and normative preferences of key actors interacted in intra-state peacekeeping environments in the early 1960s and discusses the ensuing normative synthesis with the ideational attributes of the 1990s.

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter analyses the intervention of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the intra-state conflict in Cyprus. It considers different interpretations of the Cyprus conflict and discusses the ambiguous nature of UNFICYP's mandate which arose out of the tensions between the different interests at stake and the normative preferences that accompanied them. This chapter suggest that the UN's involvement in the Cyprus conflict reflected a dominant preoccupation with the maintenance of regional stability, and in that sense international peace and security.

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter examines the shift in the United Nations Operation in the Congo's (ONUC) role in the Congo from inter-state to intra-state peacekeeping. It analyses the objectives and underlying dynamics of the operation and the extent and scope of the authority assigned to the United Nations (UN) in the ‘boldest’ intra-state peacekeeping mission of the 1960s. This chapter suggests that in normative terms, the resolution that emerged in the context of the Congo operation was more of a spontaneous synthesis than a lasting resolution or reconciliation. The positions adopted by virtually all relevant actors pointed to contradictory interests and value preferences.

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter analyses the intra-state peacekeeping operation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in Cambodia. It explores the local, regional and global interests that impacted on the development of the idea of UN peacekeeping and the way these interacted to form a seemingly coherent normative framework for UN action. This chapter suggests that the normative basis of the UN's response to the Cambodia conflict emerged from a painfully slow process of informal bilateral and formal multi-lateral negotiations over more than a decade, in which the predominant concern was to accommodate the strategic interests of the actors involved.

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Eşref Aksu

This chapter examines the second phase of the United Nations' (UN) operation in Angola, the UN Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM II). It explains that UNAVEM II marked a transition from inter-state peacekeeping to intra-state peacekeeping and that the scope and size of UNAVEM were significantly altered during this transitional period. This chapter investigates whether the tension between the norms of state sovereignty and human rights were resolved in favour of the former.

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The UN and intra-state conflicts

Problematising the normative connection

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Eşref Aksu

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.