Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh

Changes in the architecture of international engagements in peacemaking over the last decade can be traced through a comparison of the Peace Accords of 1997 which ended five years of civil war in Tajikistan with the on-going intervention in Afghanistan which began in the context of the global war against terrorism. The comparison points to the challenges that complex interventions face today: the collapse of stabilization, transition and consolidation phases of peacemaking; the lack of clarity about motivations for engagement; the ambiguous methods of state-building and uncertain ownership of peace processes. The success of the externally-led Tajikistan peace process can be attributed to the common search for collaboration between international organizations and regional powers and the gradual sequencing of the different stages: negotiation for power sharing, followed by consolidation, and finally state-building. By contrast, the changing motivations for intervention, the isolation of the Western alliance from regional actors, and the external actors’ own role as parties to war, which provokes escalating reactions, are the potential elements of failure in Afghanistan. Ultimately, it is the national ownership of peace processes that creates the necessary legitimacy for peacemaking to be durable.

On December 2, 2004, the European Union took over from NATO the main peacekeeping forces that had been deployed in Bosnia-and-Herzegovina since the signature of the Dayton Accords. The launch of EU military operation Althea was presented by its supporters as a major test for the ESDP, especially as it pertained to a wider Europeanization of post-conflict management in Bosnia. Against this background, Althea provides a fruitful locus to assess one of the EU’s most frequent claims - that it possesses a specific know-how when it comes to combining the military and the civilian aspects of post-conflict management. In this study, Althea is primarily approached through the way it is viewed by both its participants and by Bosnians. Several issues are addressed: First, how do historical legacies of the international presence in Bosnia weigh upon the very definition of mission Althea, its implementation and its local receptions? Second, coordination of the various European actors present on the field has emerged as one of the major challenges the EU needs to face. Third, the study draws attention to the possible discrepancy between various understandings (among Althea personnel and Bosnian people) of what a European military mission entails. Last but not least, the study highlights complex rationalities at work when phasing out an operation like Althea. EU exit strategies seem to derive rather from bureaucratic logic than objective assessment of stability in Bosnia.

The international community analyzed the crisis in Somalia in light of its own interests rather than the reality of the country. After having failed to work out a true reconciliation government between 2002 and 2004, western countries went about keeping alive a government that had no real legitimacy, but backed by Ethiopia and Kenya. The emergence of the Islamic Courts in June 2006 reshuffled the cards. More than the radicalization of the Islamic Courts, two arguments finally determined Somalia’s fate and the rekindling of war there. Ethiopia couldn’t stand to see an autonomous power friendly to Eritrea appear on its southern flank. And the United States wanted to signal the absolute predominance of its fight against terrorism over any other consideration. Such a posture provided the opportunity to try out a new security doctrine giving the Pentagon ascendancy over the pursuit of alleged terrorists, co-opting new regional powers on the African continent in the process, given that most of its European allies once again proved particularly limp in the face of yet another militarist drift on the part of Washington. Incapable of occupying the political space, the transitional Somalian government encouraged radicalization. The specter of an Iraq-style conflict in Africa began to loom with Ethiopia’s shaky victory in January 2007.

Marwa Daoudy

From 1991 to 2000, Syria and Israel, two of the key actors of the Middle-Eastern conflict, entered into extensive peace negotiations. What lessons can be drawn from the process in terms of Syria’s objectives, motivations and perceptions, considering that this actor remains largely unknown? Such concerns will be addressed by identifying the major issues at stake: territory, security, and water resources. By analyzing all the obstacles on the road to peace, we will evaluate the potential for a resumption of peace talks in the new regional context. The death of President Hafez al-Asad in June 2000 and the rise to power of his son Bashar, the deterioration of the Israeli-Palestinian situation since the start of the Intifada and Ariel Sharon’s election in Israel, the war launched by the United States in Iraq, the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005, and the meeting of the 10th Baath Party Congress in June have all drastically impacted on domestic and regional dynamics. The purpose of the study is to shed new light on Syria’s constraints and opportunities, and their impact on her bargaining position.

The peace agreements that were signed in May 2004 may imply the end of the war in South Sudan. In order to assess the likelihood of success, one has to discuss the changes after the Islamists were brought to power in 1989 by a military coup. Of special interest are the impacts of their internal divisions, the emergence of oil money as significant revenues for the State and the consequences of 9/11 in the Middle East. Moreover, difficulties to implement the agreements in South Sudan should not be underplayed. The underdevelopment of this region, the existence of militias still supported by Khartoum and the history of the civil war among Southern Sudanese could give room to bitter divisions and proxy wars involving Khartoum’s government. The current crisis in Darfur reflects the weaknesses of the peace process despite a strong international involvement. Structural issues such as citizenship have not been addressed and this very crisis shows how little the regime intends to reform itself.