Book Review: Peace Operations and Intrastate Conflict: The Sword or the Olive Branch


by Thomas R. Mockaitis

Westprot, Ct.: Praeger, 1999. . . . ISBN:0275961737

A critical analysis of peacekeeping operations in intrastate conflicts. Observing that,“Neutrality in a civil conflct is a myth, the author points out that many of the problems which have plagued peacekeeping efforts in intrastate conflicts over the past decade had already been encountered earlier, most notably in the Congo in 1960, but that the institutional memory in the peacekeeping community is extremely poor. He goes on to note that some problems are ultimately intractable, so that while some operations, such the observer missions in the Middle East and Kashmir, or the peacekeeping missions in Cyprus and Sinai, which have been going on for decades “with no end in sight hardly [seem] like a good solution until one looks at the bloodbaths in Rwanda or Bosnia.”

Focusing on three major U.N. operations, the Congo, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavia, Mockaitis points out many of the more obvious errors, spreading the blame for the failure of peacekeeping in intra state conflicts pretty broadly. In a concluding chapter he proposes some fundamental changes to the “paradigm” of peacekeeping.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close