In This Review

At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict

At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict
By Roland Paris
302 pp, Cambridge University Press, 2004
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Enforcing the Peace: Learning From the Imperial Past

Enforcing the Peace: Learning From the Imperial Past
By Kimberly Zisk Marten
208 pp, Columbia University Press, 2004
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The Remnants of War

The Remnants of War
By Kimberly Zisk Marten
272 pp, Cornell University Press, 2004
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The UN has been in the business of peacekeeping since 1948. During the Cold War, UN missions were mostly restricted to placing lightly armed observers between warring states to monitor compliance with cease-fire agreements. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, however, more UN operations have been set up to implement comprehensive settlements to resolve civil wars and rebuild political systems, sometimes from scratch: from complex peace operations in Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, and Namibia in the early 1990s to the even more complex administration of collapsed territories, such as Kosovo and East Timor in the late 1990s. Today, the UN manages 17 operations on four continents, with more than 70,000 military, police, and civilian personnel drawn from more than 100 countries. A new complex operation in Sudan is in the works, and the UN's role in Iraq may expand.

One of the UN's most difficult challenges has been to translate general lessons from

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  • Salman Ahmed is Senior Political Officer in the Office of the UnderSecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations. He served the UN in Cambodia, South Africa, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as Special Assistant to Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN secretary-general's special adviser, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • More By Salman Ahmed