Week 1 - The Nature of Global Conflicts

Key question: What has been the nature of global conflict since 1991?

Weekly Words:

Presentation - The Nature of Global Conflicts:


  • INDIVIDUAL - sign up to Diigo if you haven't already, then annotate and save an article relevant to this week's reading to our class group - 15 minutes
  • INDIVIDUAL - sign up to this wiki and read/listen to this page (might be a good idea to take notes while you are reading/listening) - 25 minutes
  • INDIVIDUAL @ HOME - finish Reading 2

  • INDIVIDUAL - Start a discussion (about any question you have in relation to this week's readings) on the Discussing Current Events ning. Make a contribution to one of your classmate's discussions - 10 minutes
  • GROUP - Working in threes, complete a one-two paragraph update on the topic you have been given. Add your paragraphs to the wiki just above this section under the red heading that says 'Text Update.' Make mention of the nature of the conflict, for example whether it is ethnic, regional, religious, economic etc- 30-40 minutes

  • INDIVIDUAL - write up your own set of notes for the week. You can hand write it, write a blog post on the ning site (which would be great cause then we can all read them - just make sure you tag your blog post with 'cshs' and 'vceintpol' as well as other relevant words), or type up a Word document. You might want to write dotpoints, or draw a mind map. Whatever suits. - 20 minutes
  • INDIVIDUAL - Write a blog post on the ning that answers this week's key question 'What has been the nature of global conflict since 1991?' - 20 minutes

  • create a timeline of events from the end of the Cold War to present day that have affected international relations.
  • Finish whatever you did not get finished in class. For example, if you didn't get something finished on Monday, then finish it on Monday night before Tuesday's class. Don't leave it until the end of the week.
  • Read next week's wiki page

Reading 1:

NOTE: The full recording of this reading is available as a podcast here. You can download it to iTunes or add it to your Google Reader subscriptions.
Global Conflicts and the Cold WarText by James Oakes, St Helena Secondary College

To understand the conflicts that are occurring in the world today, it is necessary to trace the history of international relations back to 1945 and the end of World War II, if not before. It was ideological differences and strategic arrangements by the two emerging super powers, the Soviet Union and the USA, after 1945 that shaped events and developments that have occurred since 1990. Leaving conflicts in the Asia Pacific like China and Taiwan, as well as North Korea and the USA to Unit 4, the conflicts in the last 15 years in Afghanistan and Iraq have emerged from the end of the Cold War and the world order that has emerged since 1990. These conflicts have roots in the decolonisation arrangements after World War II. The Arab-Israeli dispute also has its roots in the settlement at the end of World War II and has transcended the Cold War to be a major cause of terrorism.

Since 1990 conflict has continued around the globe, but the causes of these conflicts differ from the causes of the conflicts that occurred during the Cold War period. Some examples of these conflicts are: Iraq invadeding Kuwait in 1990 and the United Nations authorised Gulf War that followed in Iraq in 1991. Yugoslavia broke up and the Bosnian conflict brought about international intervention. These conflicts were about ethnic, religious, economic and historic tensions involved in nationalism and have been very different to the ideological, security and strategic causes of Cold War conflicts. The September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, saw an escalation of terrorism and provoked the “War on Terror”, and the consequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

A brief history of international relations

Nation States

It would be fair to say that international relations as such began in the 15th and 16th centuries with the emergence of the nation states of France, England and Spain. National interest, diplomacy and power were concepts well understood at this time. Another term also emerged – the 'balance of power.' This referred to the fact that no nation or alliance of nations was to be allowed to become so powerful that it could attack other nations and dominate their region. Other nations formed alliances in pursuit of their interests and thus a balance was established. Balance of power considerations became a major feature in the conduct of international relations.
Britain was clearly a case in point here. After the French Revolution of 1789, Great Britain opposed the French revolutionaries and later, during the early 1800s, Napoleon I of France, who had built a huge empire and massive armed forces, upset that balance. Several countries, including Great Britain, formed an alliance against France and their victory over the French in 1815 at Waterloo restored a balance of power in Europe.
The meeting of European leaders, called the Congress of Vienna and held in late 1814 and early 1815, developed a new principle of conducting international relations. Under this principle, called the concert of powers, the great powers of Europe supposedly cooperated to maintain peace. However, this meeting saw much disagreement, and Europe’s subsequent history was littered with conflict and war, culminating with the start of World War I in 1914.

Collective security

A new principle of international relations was developed after World War I when it finally ended in 1918; it was called collective security. Near Paris in 1919, representatives of thirty-two countries met to draw up a peace settlement at the Palace of Versailles. It is here that the idea of collective security was developed, under which nations would settle international conflict through discussion. As well, nations would join together to stop the aggression of one nation against another. Consequently, the League of Nations was established in 1920.
This organisation was established to maintain world peace through collective security, but the League failed to keep the peace. It took no effective action after Japan attacked China in 1931 and again in 1937. It also did nothing to stop Italy from conquering Ethiopia in 1935, or Germany from taking over Austria in 1938. In fact, this inability to act led to a final ultimatum by the British and French that the borders of Poland was where Hitler had to stop. World War II began in 1939 after Germany invaded Poland.
The League failed partly because it had no organisation or army to prevent one country from attacking another. As well, all member nations had an equal say in decisions, and the larger and more powerful members often refused to support the decisions of the majority. Although Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States at the end of the World War I helped establish the League, the United States Congress refused to join it, thereby making it less credible than it might have been.
World War II, however, transformed international relations. The USSR and the US emerged from the war stronger than when they entered the conflict, and were the only powers capable of disarming the Nazis and rebuilding a devastated Europe. Pre-WWII powers, such as France, Germany and Great Britain, were significantly weakened by the war. Britain never regained its imperial greatness after World War II, as its various colonies around the globe became independent one by one. France was to lose its colonies in Vietnam and Algeria in similar circumstances.

The United Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established in 1945, shortly after the war ended, and the League of Nations was dissolved in 1946 as a consequence. All UN members, including the United States, pledged to cooperate in maintaining peace through collective security, but they did not provide the UN with the means to maintain peace in that a permanent police force was not established to back up their demands.
Collective security was almost made to work during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. The United States and fifteen other UN members sent troops to fight the North Korean forces that had invaded South Korea. The Korean War ended in 1953, after North Korea and the UN signed a cease-fire agreement. It is interesting to note that there has never been a formal peace agreement and the border between North and South Korea is still a flash point for international conflict to the present day.

The Cold War

What characterised the immediate post-war period in Europe was what was called the Cold War. Called the ‘Cold’ War because there was no ‘hot’ war, or shooting at each other, it was a time when relations became increasingly tense between the United States and the Soviet Union, the world’s most powerful countries. In the late 1940s, the United States and other Western countries became alarmed as the nations of Eastern Europe fell under communist rule. Most of these nations became Soviet satellites (nations controlled by the Soviet Union). Tension between the communist and non-communist nations led to the division of Germany into communist East Germany and non-communist West Germany in 1949.

NATO and the Warsaw Pact

In 1949, the signing of the defence pact called the North Atlantic Treaty established the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) which increased the already growing distance between the US, Canada, certain European nations, and the USSR. In 1955, the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies signed a treaty called the Warsaw Pact to provide for their common defence and, of course, to counteract NATO. The Cold War fuelled an arms race between the two superpowers. By the end of the 1950s, as a result of that arms race, the United States and the Soviet Union each had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other several times over, and many countries had allied themselves with either of the two nations. The struggle between the communist nations and the democratic nations intensified the Cold War.
Some countries refused to join either side, preferring to call themselves ‘non-aligned’ countries who owed their allegiance to neither of the superpowers. These included China, India and Indonesia.

Vietnam and China

The Vietnam War, which began in 1945 against the French, escalated in 1954 with the defeat of the French and the US becoming involved. It clearly was between communists and non-communists and further complicated the Cold War in Asia that had started when China turned communist in 1949. The communist government of North Vietnam pledged to overthrow the non-communist South Vietnamese government and unite the country under one rule. The United States, seeking to stop communist expansion wherever it appeared, sent military aid and advisers to support South Vietnam in the early 1960s. By April 1969, more than 543,000 US troops were fighting in South Vietnam. A cease-fire agreement ended US participation in 1973, but the war continued until the communists won full control of South Vietnam in 1975.
During the late 1960s and the early 1970s, while the USA was focused on its struggle with the Soviet Union, elsewhere, international relationships were developing into very different forms. Japan and the Western European nations grew in economic strength. As a result, they began acting more independently of their chief ally, the United States. China also gained economic and political strength and often disagreed with its ally, the Soviet Union, on many important policy matters. A period of unfriendly relations between China and the Soviet Union began in the early 1960s over Soviet unwillingness to pass on nuclear weapons technology to China. In 1969, Chinese and Soviet troops actually clashed in a series of border fights near the Ussuri and other border rivers.


As Cold War alliances loosened in the 1970s, some communist and non-communist countries developed friendlier relations. This easing of tensions was called ‘détente’ or ‘rapprochement’. Eventually, for example, even the United States, plus Canada, Japan and several other USA allies, sent diplomats to China. They had not done so since 1949, when China came under communist control. China, which had been denied membership of the UN, was finally allowed to join in 1971 and, in 1979, China and the United States completed the process and began normal diplomatic relations once again. This action resulted in increased business, as well as cultural and diplomatic exchanges between the two countries, and did much to ease superpower competition and tension in the East Asian region.
But Cold War tensions appeared once again after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up Afghanistan’s pro-Soviet government in a civil war against anti-communist Afghan rebels. The USSR were to be in Afghanistan for ten years, without much success. Some called it ‘Russia’s Vietnam’.

End of the Cold War

Late in the 1980s, changes in the USSR led to an improvement in USA–Soviet Relations. In 1987, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty that was the first of a series of agreements to reduce the size of US and Soviet nuclear forces. USA–Soviet relations improved further in 1989, when the Soviet Union completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.
Major changes within the Soviet Union in the 1980s also contributed to the improvement in relations. Gorbachev worked to decentralise the Soviet economic system to improve the nation’s flagging economy. He also worked to promote democracy and freedom of expression in the Soviet Union through his policies of ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (restructuring). He encouraged similar economic and political changes in Eastern Europe. As a result, non-communist governments came to power in a number of Eastern European nations. In 1990, with Soviet approval, East Germany and West Germany united to form one non-communist country.
Just when the Cold War ended is a matter for some debate, but any date between 1989 and 1991, when the Soviet Union broke up, would do. In 1991 the world saw the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union lost control of the Soviet government after conservative communist officials attempted to overthrow Gorbachev. The attempt failed, and the Soviet parliament suspended all Communist Party activities. By the end of 1991, most of the republics that made up the Soviet Union had declared independence, and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. After the Soviet break up, the former Soviet republics, including the largest, Russia, continued to seek better relations with Western nations with varying degrees of success.


The first major conflict after the Cold War ended was the Iraq Gulf War. The war began with Iraqi forces invading and occupying Kuwait in August 1990. Kuwait is a small, oil-rich country bordering Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait produce much of the petroleum used by the world’s industrialised countries. In response to Iraq’s action, the UN Security Council imposed severe economic sanctions against Iraq and later authorised UN members to use military force to expel Iraq out of Kuwait.
In early 1991, a coalition of thirty-five nations quickly defeated Iraq and drove it from Kuwait. The coalition’s members included the United States, Britain, France, and several Arab countries, and almost all the coalition countries were UN members. The Soviet Union and China did not participate directly in the war, but in the UN Security Council the Soviet Union supported the use of military force against Iraq and China did not oppose it. The war strengthened the UN’s role as a peacekeeping organisation.


Rwandan Politics –
Since the end of the civil war the Tutsis installed a Hutu based president, Pasteur Bizimungu but he was then removed by Kagame after he became critical of the Tutsi Government. He was then put in jail for treason in 2002. Since then the Tutsis have had a militant, single party ruling over the country. They banned any other parties from running for presidency until 2000. Even then the Tutsis won the election by 95%, which was compared with the elections of the Robert Mugabes ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe.

Ethnic nationalism

Meanwhile, in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Europe saw its first war on the continent since 1945. The desire of the many ethnic groups in Yugoslavia to govern themselves was strong. The speed with which the war grew surprised Europeans who saw Yugoslavia as a cultured, civilised society that might exchange insults and threats occasionally but never actually engage in armed conflict. This was a café society. Europe, in any case, supported maintaining a united Yugoslavia, fearing what effects a break-up into separate states might have on the future of the Soviet Union. That policy only served to encourage a hard line by then President Slobodan Milosevic against the Slovenes and Croats, who wanted independence. In the end, Europe and the US did not prevent the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Russia has had its problems with separatists as well. Its approach to the problem has created considerable difficulties in its attempt to foster better relations with Europe. When the USSR broke up into Russia and fifteen other nations, Chechnya, as an autonomous province, was not granted independence. Chechens had fought for their independence from Russia for over 160 years and therefore, when the opportunity presented itself in 1991, it declared its independence unilaterally. Boris Yeltsin, the then Russian President, tried to win a two-year war on Chechnya between 1994 and 1996. He hoped that a quick popular victory would bolster his own failing popularity at home. Chechen infrastructure was destroyed in massive air attacks and thousands of civilians were killed. In September 1999, Russia again moved in troops after Chechen rebels attacked neighbouring Dagestan and allegedly detonated a bomb in Moscow that killed 300 people in an apartment block.
President Putin inherited the war from Yeltsin and, although things are quieter now, there is still that military confrontation. Putin has said that he will never negotiate with ‘terrorists’, pretty much as Ariel Sharon does in Israel. The Chechen terror attack on a Moscow theatre in 2002 and the deadly Beslan school hostage event in 2004 were evidence of this. Meanwhile, Europe, and in particular France, has prevaricated on closer relations with Russia while the Chechen question and Russia’s behaviour there remains unresolved.

The Arabs and Israelis

The Arab–Israeli conflict has been a major international conflict since World War II in which efforts at international cooperation have ebbed and flowed in attempting to achieve peace. The struggle between Arab countries and Israel began in 1948, when Israel was established and thousands of refugees from war-torn Europe tried to migrate to Israel. Surrounding Arab nations opposed the existence of the new Jewish nation and full-scale wars between Israel and a coalition of Arab States broke out in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Since then, Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and its refusal to make peace with the Palestinians has led to continued conflict. Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan improved in the 1980s with peace agreements, however relations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have not moved forward for a variety of reasons that mostly centre on land issues. Other Arab countries continue to oppose Israel. During the Gulf War, Iraq launched missiles at Israel to try and destabilise the coalition.
At the end of the Clinton Presidency in the late 1990’s, peace talks came close to an agreement between the PLO and the Israeli government, only to falter on the issue of Jerusalem. In his first term, President Bush did not place a high priority on Middle East peace, and showed little enthusiasm to promote the ‘road map’ suggested.
The Intefada, the Palestinian uprising has continued till the present day, with suicide bombings occurring at regular intervals. Ariel Sharon’s government was uncompromising in its stance on security, with the new Israeli settlements and the security wall being built by Israel in the West Bank. Finally, the actions of Israeli security forces in preparation for the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and the instability in the leadership of the PLO in the wake of Arafat’s death meant lasting peace in the Middle East is as far away as ever.
Although Israel has withdrawn from Gaza in 2006, and almost finished the security wall, security forces continue to take retaliatory and pre emptive action against leaders of terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories. In 2006 helicopter guns ships used missiles to assassinate leaders of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, with collateral damage, destined to provoke retaliation in the cycle of violence.
The illness and coma of Sharron having set a new political party to fight the elections in 2006 and his successor Olmet has continued hardline policies including the invasion of Lebanon in 2006 in response to killings and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. The election victory of Hamas, a declared terrorist organisation in Palestine, further complicates the current situation.


The Arab-Israeli conflict consisted of many struggles between the Arab Nations and Israel. The main factor causing conflict between these nations in the Middle East is over the land of historic Palestine and Israel. This conflict has led to several wars including:
  • 1948 - War of Independence
  • 1956 - Sinai War
  • 1967 - Six Day War
  • 1973 - Yom Kippur War

ORIGINS OF ZIONISM AND THE ARAB-JEWISH CONFLICT (taken from MSN Encarta online: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761588322_2/Arab-Israeli_Conflict.html )

Throughout recorded history the land of historic Israel and Palestine, located on the eastern shore of theMediterranean Sea, was conquered many times by invaders. The area is the homeland of the Jewish people, who immigrated to the area beginning in the 13th century BC as Hebrew tribes. The tribes confederated as the Israelites who ruled much of the area from the 11th century to the 6th century BC. The Jews formed an identity as the people of the covenant but subsequently came under the rule of others until they succeeded in establishing an independent Jewish state called Judea in 168 BC. The Romans expelled the Jews from Judea in AD 135. In subsequent centuries many Jews maintained the idea of regaining control of the area, which they considered home. In the 1890s Theodor Herzl , a Jewish journalist living in Austria, advocated reestablishing a Jewish state in Palestine. Early proponents of such a state said Zionism(the reuniting of Jewish people in Palestine) would match “a people without a land with a land without a people.” See also Palestine, Ancient.

Palestine was already inhabited, however. The countryside was home to Arabs, most of them Muslims, while the larger towns contained both Arabs and Jews. Some of the Jews were long established there, while others were religious pilgrims from Europe who had come to live near the holy sites in Jerusalem and other cities. (Because the vast majority of Palestinians were Muslim Arabs, the term Palestinians now usually refers only to them, not to the Jews of Israel. Most Palestinians are Muslims.) The land was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, but the Ottomans saw little of value in Palestine and neglected the area. Consequently, poverty, disease, and malnutrition were widespread. Nonetheless, the area served as a land corridor between Europe, Asia, and Africa and thus had strategic importance. It was also near the Suez Canal, which, when opened in Egypt in 1869, connected theMediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Palestine was therefore important to the British, who occupied Egypt in 1882 and depended on control of the canal for its fortunes.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Zionist movement gained strength in Europe, and large numbers of Jews immigrated to Palestine. The movement focused on self-reliance through agriculture, and many immigrants settled in the countryside. To do so, Jews had to buy land from local Arab holders of small tracts and from absentee Arab landlords of large areas. As a result, Jews and Arabs came into increasing contact; at times, Jewish purchases led to the displacement of Arab peasants from the land. Although the Ottoman government sought to slow the Zionist movement, Jews established a significant and expanded presence. Their success furthered the world debate about whether and how to establish a Jewish homeland, and it also created apprehension among Arabs.

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761588322_2/Arab-Israeli_Conflict.html - its a really good source and gives in depth info about the conflicts in this part of the world =)


Then there is terrorism – and on a much more ferocious scale than ever before. Terrorist acts are said to be actions against governments and others that affect civilian populations. At the start of the 21st century, history entered a new phase. The Cold War was over, and there was some speculation that what was called the post-Cold War phase was over as well. Then terrorism struck the USA on September 11, 2001, when the twin towers of the New York World Trade Centre were destroyed.
The new era is now one of ‘asymmetric threats’, where a still-powerful USA, the world’s last superpower, is confronted by a shadowy, elusive enemy against whom conventional military might is largely ineffective. How long that conflict – the ‘war on terror’ as it is being called – will last is uncertain, but it will be a long process. After all, the USSR held together for 74 years, much of it during the Cold War. The lifespan of the radical Islamic movements may be a little longer than that.
Since September 11 there have been major terrorist attacks in Russia, Spain, London, and Bali again. There is ongoing insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan and Indonesia is still of concern.


The United States and its allies in their anti-terrorism campaign focused on the state of Afghanistan and the Taliban regime, which was said to harbour al Qaeda terrorist groups and its spiritual leader Osama Bin Laden, who has still not been accounted for. This was a conventional war, with air strikes weakening Taliban defences and logistical support and air cover offered to the Northern Alliance. Although the Taliban were defeated and a new government installed, US and British forces continue to come under attack and have really only secured the major cities and towns.
Even though a new constitution has been written, presidential and parliamentary elections held, there is great instability outside major centres.
The ‘war on terrorism’ has been fought on other fronts, with increased security, internal investigations and arrests of al Qaeda suspects and associates. There have also been attempts to trace the funds of the organisation and root out its infrastructure. However, it is a battle that will not be over quickly.

The war started after the September 11 attacks of 2001, when the US invaded Afghanistan under the military operation, Operation Enduring Freedom. The operation’s stated objectives were to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime.
The first forces that entered Afghanistan were a CIA specialist intelligence group (the Special Activities Division). By October 7th, 2001, air strikes had been reported in Kabul, Kandahar and Jalabad; by 5pm on the same day CNN released footage of the attacks and President Bush formerly verified the attacks to the nation.

Currently (Apr. 2009) there are approx. 169469 troops situated in Afghanistan, made up of the following:
  • US: 26,215
  • UK: 8,300
  • Germany: 3,465
  • France: 2,780
  • Canada: 2,830
  • Other countries: 14,800
  • Afghan National Army: 82,780
  • US non-ISAF troops: 28,300

This Year
Since the start of this year, 2009, the US has deployed more than 3,000 soldiers with an additional 17,000 expected to be deployed this year. U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General McKiernan has previously stated than an addition 30,000 troops are necessary effectively doubling the American presence in the nation.

While no official records exist, it has been estimated by the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, that in 2008 alone, 2,118 Afganistani civilians were killed, 39% of which was caused by international-led military forces. The overall death toll is estimated to stand at somewhere around 20758 but could be as high as 30557.
The Military death toll is more accurate, since the start of the war a total of 5958 foreign soldier have died, the most being from the US (636). It’s estimated that around 21,400 enemy soldier have been killed and over 1000 have been captured.

Iraq again

In 2003, the ‘war against terror’ shifted and focused on Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction. The second Iraq war was over quickly, with the Iraqi army and the much-vaunted Republican Guard melting away into the desert, only to be replaced with a guerrilla war fought by Saddam loyalists, complicating attempts to bring about peace, reconstruction and new regime. No weapons of mass destruction were found, undermining the reasons for and the legitimacy of the war. Also, since the war was declared over on May 1st 2002, US and British soldiers have continued to come under attack. Significantly, the UN has also come under attack and US allies are reluctant to come to the US’s aid. Support for the occupation has weakened at home. Four years after the war had been declared by President George W Bush to be over, attacks by insurgents have not abated, and recent tit for tat attacks by Sunni and Shiites threaten civil war. After elections the factions in Iraq have still not managed to form a stable government. In November of 2006, a US network contradicted the White House, and began describing the situation as a civil war. The US were looking around for a change of strategy, although not publicly an exit strategy.

Syria and Iran

Syria to a lesser extent in 2005, became a focus of US concern in the war on terror, as an avenue of insurgents in Iraq and implication in the assassination of a moderate Lebanese president.

In 2005 Iran elected a new president in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In January 2006 his government rejected UN and European entreaties not to resume nuclear reprocessing for declared peaceful purposes, which the US and the IAEA fear is a front for developing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad has also increased tension by making inflammatory statements about Israel. In April 2006 the president announced Iran had begun industrial level enrichment of uranium, hence have the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon.

The US and Iran had tension between them in 2008 when iran started investing a lot of money into nuclear development. The US didn’t like this because it meant Iran would have the power to create nuclear weapons. The US contemplated sanctions on the nation as well as a possible military strike if the Iran did not back down.
This is an example of economic tensions.

The Future

The ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan, the developing situation in Iraq, the Chechen separatist rebel activity in Russia, the cycle of violence in Palestine and Israel, the interference of Syria in the Lebanese divisions, Iranian insistence on the right to develop nuclear power, and the continued threat of groups such as al Qaeda and Jemmah Islamiah heighten security fears and readiness in an uncertain world. The UN continues to try and deal with issues of international conflict but falls short of achieving solutions.


IRAQ - Gulf War
In-Depth Analysis
By Luke and Jordan
Causes for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait
• Iraq considered Kuwait as their territory. This resulted in many confrontations between the two nations, as Saddam Hussein was eager to expand his control in the region.
• Baghdad accused Kuwait of producing low oil prices due to flooding the oil market. Iraq then claimed that Kuwait oil rigs were siphoning oil from Iraqi land. This was in debate as the expansive deserts of the Middle East make it difficult to distinguish borders. Although this was never proved it was one reason for Hussein to invade Kuwait.
• The end of the Iran-Iraq war had left Iraq with economic and infrastructural problems. After the failure of its invasion of Iran, Iraq turned its attention to ‘easier conquests’ in this case, its small neighbour Kuwait. Saddam did not worry about any intervention because Iraq had been backed by the US in the Iran-Iraq war.

Causes for Intervention
• Iraq, claiming Kuwait as it’s 19th province, now had control of 20% of the world’s oil reserves.
• Iraq had the capacity to invade Saudi Arabia, a close ally to the US and another source of large amounts of oil.

-Both above points highlight the US need to secure oil supplies and strengthen its economic power.
• Arab neighbours of Iraq were anxious over Saddam’s eagerness to expand and invade other regions. The significant growth of the Iraqi military was also a key point.

Reasons for the success of the UN response
• The UN Security Council was able to reach consensus because of a unique set of circumstances, with the USSR, China, Western Nations and Arab nations all able to agree on action in the Persian Gulf.
• Due to this worldwide support, a large coalition of mostly member states in the UN pushed Iraq out of Kuwait.

Somalian Revolution (1986–1992)

  • The first phase of the civil war stemmed from the insurrections against the repressive regime of Said Barre. After his ousting from power on January 26, 1991, a counter-revolution took place to attempt to reinstate him as leader of the country.

  • The increasingly violent and chaotic situation evolved to a humanitarian crisis.

Reading 2: Scott & Simpson, Power & International Politics, pp.79 - 86