Seeking Peace from Chaos: Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia

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Seeking Peace from Chaos: Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia

By Samuel M. Makinda
Lynne Rienner Publishers/New York: International Peace Academy, 1993
92 pp. $8.95
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Likening the current crisis in Somalia to Thomas Hobbes' war of all against all, this dispassionate overview gives a capsule description of politics and international relations during Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barres rule (1969-1991) and the various phases of American and U.N. intervention aimed at restoring order post-Barre. Although acknowledging the manipulative approach of the superpowers during the Cold War, which left Somalia poor but awash with weapons, the author, a Kenyan academic, attributes the country's problems mainly to the fissiparous character of Somali social and political organization. He argues that the task of the United Nations, as it defines its role in Somalia and in the post-Cold War world, is to discover how to apply the correct amount of force to ensure peace without provoking a backlash among those being protected.

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