International Relations

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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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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.

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Stuart Horsman

Historically water provided a cultural, economic and geographical focus for Central Asia. The khanates' political culture, including deferential collectivism, was associated with water scarcity and the organisational requirements of the construction and maintenance of irrigation systems. Water's security implications principally fall within the wider conceptualisation of security, as an indirect or contributory cause to instability. Poor water management affects diplomatic relations, economic development, public health and access to land. The most fundamental and important function that an international institution can undertake is actually managing and allocating the region's water resources. Regional and international organisations have had mixed success in managing Central Asia's water. Most of the Central Asian leaders lack a genuine commitment to finding a viable solution to the regional water crisis. The lack of commitment is evident in the republics' limited support of the relevant organisations.

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Syria and the chemical weapons taboo

Exploiting the forbidden

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Michelle Bentley

This book analyses the Syria crisis and the role of chemical weapons, in relation to US foreign policy. The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and their subsequent elimination would dominate the US’ response to the conflict, where these are viewed as particularly horrific arms – a repulsion known as the chemical taboo. On the surface, this would seem an appropriate reaction: these are vile and intolerable weapons, and eradicating them would ostensibly comprise a ‘good’ move. But this book reveals two new aspects of the taboo that challenge this view. First, actors employ the taboo strategically to advance their own self-interested policy objectives. This is in contrast to the highly static and constructivist approaches that have informed conceptualisation of the taboo until now. Far from a situation of normative adherence, this is a case in which the taboo exists as a strategic political resource, used to achieve aims that may have nothing to do with preventing chemical warfare. Second, it is argued that applying the taboo to Syria has exacerbated the crisis. While many expound the benefits of the taboo, it is demonstrated here that the exact opposite is true. The taboo has actually made the conflict significantly worse. As such, this book not only provides a timely analysis of Syria, but also a major and original rethink of the chemical taboo, as well as international norms more widely.

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Raymond Hinnebusch

State-building is the effort of rulers to institutionalise state structures capable of absorbing expanding political mobilisation and controlling territory corresponding to an identity community. In the Middle East, the flaws built into the process from its origins have afflicted the states with enduring legitimacy deficits. This chapter argues that several aspects of state formation are pivotal in determining the international behaviour of states and explaining variations in their foreign policies. Imperialism literally constructed the system and its state components. Later, two trans-state forces rooted in persisting suprastate identity—first Pan-Arabism and then radical Islam—stimulated the state formation needed to bring their subversive potential under control. Later yet, war motivated and legitimised state-formation advances. Most recently, globalisation is threatening to turn regional states from buffers against external intrusion into transmission belts of it.

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Michelle Bentley

Chapter 2 applies the strategic interpretation outlined previously to US foreign policy on Syria, explicitly understood as a reference to Obama’s redline. It demonstrates that this is not the hardline ultimatum it was made out to be; but is in fact a calculated construct that expresses Obama’s own preferences concerning US involvement in the crisis. Specifically, it analyses Obama’s real intentions in setting the redline to reveal that these have been misinterpreted. More specifically, that pre-existing ideas surrounding the chemical weapons taboo have caused Obama’s statement to be misconstrued as a be-all-and-end-all of US foreign policy on Syria. It examines the wider policy context at the time to demonstrate that this interpretation was diametrically opposed to Obama’s professed position and that the redline actually comprises a much softer and moderate allusion to the taboo.

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Sara E. Davies

This chapter explores the dilemmas in the context of asylum-seekers in Southeast Asia. In doing so, it points to the role of international refugee law in mitigating against sovereignty as exclusion. The chapter also explores how and why international refugee law falls short of redefining state obligation in the region in such a way as to effectively redress the suffering of asylum-seekers. It demonstrates how Southeast Asian states have come to justify their rejection of international refugee law, and also explores why these reasons have not been successfully challenged in international society. The chapter outlines how the failure to ensure refugee security through the application of international refugee law has resulted in extreme insecurity of asylum seekers in the region. It focuses on the case of Malaysia, which despite its arguably more generous asylum reception policy than many of its neighbours, still remains outside the framework of international refugee law.