The first major post-Cold War conflict, the 1991 Gulf war, indicated how much had already changed. Saddam Hussein had enjoyed Western support in Iraq's war against Iran in the 1980s, but was abruptly cast as the 'new Hitler' after his invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. This book is about how the media have interpreted conflict and international intervention in the years after the Cold War. By comparing press coverage of a number of different wars and crises, it seeks to establish which have been the dominant themes in explaining the post-Cold War international order and to discover how far the patterns established prior to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks have subsequently changed. The key concern is with the legitimacy of Western intervention: the aim is to investigate the extent to which Western military action is represented in news reporting as justifiable and necessary. The book presents a study that looks at UK press coverage of six conflicts and the international response to them: two instances of 'humanitarian military intervention' (Somalia and Kosovo); two cases in which the international community was criticised for not intervening (Bosnia and Rwanda); and two post-9/11 interventions (Afghanistan and Iraq). There were a number of overlapping UN and US interventions in Somalia in the early 1990s. Operation Restore Hope was the first major instance of post-Cold War humanitarian military intervention, following the precedent set by the establishment of 'safe havens' for Iraqi Kurds and other minorities at the end of the 1991 Gulf war.
There were a number of overlapping
UN and US interventions in Somalia in the early 1990s. The United
Nations Mission to Somalia (UNOSOM) began in April 1992 and was
succeeded by UNOSOM II, which operated from March 1993 until March 1995.
A US airlift of food aid, Operation Provide Relief, was launched in
August 1992, and OperationRestoreHope, a UN-authorised military
Writing about Personal Experiences of Humanitarianism
Save the Children UK, a post I have held for the past fifteen of my twenty years at the organisation. I trained as a civil engineer at Manchester University in the late 1980s and started out as a humanitarian aid worker with Concern Worldwide in Somalia in 1993 during the infamous OperationRestoreHope. Most people only know of it from the Hollywood movie Black Hawk Down , but my book offers another first-hand account of the events that led up to this notorious incident.
RR: Why did you decide to write the book? Did you have a particular objective or message in
The UN and peacekeeping, 1988–95
December 1992 to May 1993; UNITAF operated a multinational force under the
label of OperationRestoreHope, under American and not UN command. About
thirty thousand soldiers, policemen and civilians served during the height of the
operation in the first half of 1993. This operation became the biggest mission ever
managed by the UN up to that point.177
The Secretariat personnel and UN diplomats frequently consider the UN intervention in Somalia as a failure, for several reasons. They note that the mandates
defined by the
television footage to drive foreign policy decisions, now labelled
the ‘CNN Effect’, although this term also encapsulated other 24/7
news services like BBC World, Sky News and Fox News.
While many people at the time argued that dramatic television
news coverage was a major factor in prompting international responses to the crises in Northern Iraq after the Gulf War (Operation
Provide Comfort) or in Somalia in 1992 (OperationRestoreHope),
subsequent research has tempered this argument. After all, despite
months of shocking pictures from Rwanda beginning in April and
representatives of developing states that supported the declaration of
the Non-Aligned Movement from 1994, emphasised this issue. See mainly the
discussions of the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly, 1994–1995.
97 Lorenz, ‘Weapons Confiscation Policy’, 414–415; P. Tripodi, The Colonial Legacy
in Somalia, Rome and Mogadishu: From Colonial Administration to OperationRestoreHope (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), p. 138.
98 For example, see the following books: Allard, Somalia Operations; Clarke and
Herbst (eds), Learning from Somalia.
99 S/25354, 3 March 1993, para. 41
other instances of intervention by
non-Western states. So concerned was the Saudi government to
claim humanitarian legitimacy for its intervention in Yemen that
it even went to the farcical extent of naming its operation there,
OperationRestoringHope, after the ill-fated US intervention on
the other side of the Gulf of Aden, in Somalia, back in the 1990s:
‘OperationRestoreHope’. The Saudi intervention has, indeed,
been far more inhumane than the US–UN prototype in Somalia.
As we have seen, if Russian justifications are hypocritical, the
Russians cannot be accused
Council 1992c ). It also took an active part in OperationRestoreHope and UNOSOM II.
The former benefited from about 2,000 French troops from 9 December 1992 to 18 December 1993 (Smouts 1998 , 20), while the latter received an average of 1,104 soldiers per month between May and November 1993 (UN 1993 ).
Nevertheless, the success of UNOSOM II was rapidly compromised when “left with the task of disarming the various warring factions, [it] was inevitably drawn into Somalia's fractious clan politics
rebellion (to be followed a month later by Operation “RestoreHope”), neither Saudi leaders nor those of the other Gulf oil monarchies had lifted a finger to slow the march of the “Shia” Houthis on Sanaa. Rather, they saw the rebellion as having the advantage of weakening the power of the Muslim Brotherhood—albeit to the benefit of their traditional Shia rivals. 20 The Brotherhood, as embodied in Yemen’s al-Islah party, had more often been opponents than partners of the Saudis’ traditional ally Ali Abdallah Saleh. Since the outset of the Arab Springs, they had become
Yemen as a theatre for the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia
The Saudi-led military intervention into Yemen called
‘Operation Decisive Storm’ was announced on 26 March 2015 (renamed to
‘OperationRestoringHope’ in April 2015). It came after a tumultuous period in
Yemen following widespread protest in 2011/2012 that succeeded in forcing the long-time
president Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over the presidency to his vice president, Abdrabbuh
Mansur Hadi. The subsequent transition process was initially accentuated by the United
Nations (UN) as a positive example of a negotiated