A critical analysis of UN peacekeeping: the case of Sierra Leone, 1995-2005
This study investigates the role of UN Peacekeeping in conflict management and peace building and examines the achievement of UNAMSIL in maintaining international peace and security in Sierra Leone. It proceeds from the view that in light of added responsibilities to peacekeeping especially after the end of the Cold War, and the increasing use of peacekeeping to solve internal conflicts, there is a need for a re-evaluation of the UN's peacekeeping function since it is no longer a short term observer mission but more of a long term peace builder. The study argues that the criteria for analyzing peacekeeping success should incorporate this expanded nature of UN peacekeeping. It uses the Sierra Leone case study as this African example sought to address the near collapse of the Sierra Leone state which led to widespread human suffering. This Sierra Leone intervention is notable as it preceded UN failures in Somalia and Rwanda which bore similarities in terms of state collapse. The lack of sufficient literature on this intervention is also a motivation in carrying out this study. The study makes several observations the first of which is that the reconceptualisation of state sovereignty and international peace and security to incorporate norms of human security and sustain peace had a bearing on the expanded nature and longevity of peacekeeping missions. Secondly and upon an examination of the Sierra Leone conflict the study observes that the conflict was deep seated and fuelled by regimes' self-perpetuation and aggrandizement schemes that ignored citizens' entitlement to proper government and better life. Realistic interests lay at the internationalization of the conflict as individuals, companies and states sought economic gain from diamonds. The eventual UN intervention provided relief to a state that had failed to secure its perpetuation in the system of states. The study, in examining this third party involvement, seeks to (dis)prove the hypothesis that peacekeeping does playa major role in achieving sustainable peace and in achieving lasting peace. The study concludes that though the UN succeeded in conflict management and peace building in Sierra Leone, it recognizes that this intervention was at times chaotic and had to reinvent itself in the face of poor resource base and unfavorable hostile environment and that peacekeeping alone is not the answer to all situations of conflict.