Peacekeeping in the Caucuses History Thesis

  • Length: 16 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Thesis
  • Paper: #8985052

Excerpt from Thesis :

Still, the relationship with Russia also bears importance. After the disintegration of the U.S.S.R. back in 1991, the post communist policy regarding the former soviet satellite countries had set in motion the Community of Independent States, as a mechanism for maintaining political, economic and trade relations between the countries of the demised Union. Such an influence is still felt today, at the regional level, Russia acting from a dominant position. Furthermore, the leverage given by the supremacy of the Russian oil has preserved its status of a major player, both in regional affairs and at a global level. Its implications in domestic affairs of the former soviet states have been proven on numerous occasions, especially in the Azeri political life, as proven in the last parliamentary elections, when the Russian monitoring team was the ones praising the "democratic" nature of the elections, despite the general international condemnation of the process, considered to have fallen short of international standards (Program Brief, 2005).

All these aspects are often taken into account largely due to the fact that they are essential for the resolution of any of the problems encountered by the international community. A geopolitical analysis and resolution is vital in any type of conflict because it takes into account an entire array of underling factors which are essential for the way in which conflict occur as a complex process. More importantly however "Geopolitical changes in the region have been one of the main underlying causes of ethnic conflicts. Just as in 1918-21, when the Caucasian conflicts followed the demise of the Russian empire, these have come on the heels of the weakening and then break-up of the U.S.S.R. Geopolitics is a function of the vital interests of states and societies. Thus the Warsaw Pact served the purpose of preserving the social system and securing the socio-economic development of the coalition, by repelling the perceived threat from the West. With the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, these interests changed abruptly, and a reorientation of the Eastern bloc's ruling elites to Western-type free-market economies ensued" (Zverev, 1996). The current situation in the region must be seen from this perspective which includes both national actors such as Russia, as well as international ones such as international organizations.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are as stated before faced with a serious issue which includes the Nagorno-Karabakh region. More precisely, for Azerbaijan, it represents a source of ethnic conflict, as Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and since the early 1990s, has militarily occupied 16% of Azerbaijan (the CIA World Fact book, 2006). This in turn can be translated in different ways. On the one hand, the nationalists view it as a legitimate action against the traditions of historical divide from the time of inter-war years, whereas the Azerbaijanis see it as an illegality which must be opposed.

Concerning Georgia, the situation appears to be to a certain degree different that in the neighboring countries from two points-of-view. On the one hand, the state which has recently experienced the "Orange Revolution" is faced with a combined set of problems and a need for a solution. In this sense, "Georgia's geopolitical importance -- both as a "transit state" for the export of Caspian hydrocarbons and as a frontline state in the global "war on terrorism" remains constant" () However, the second aspect of this issue is its political capacity to act as a unitary and rational state. Moreover, "its current internal fragility could ultimately negate that strategic value" (Rousseau, 2003).

On the other hand, the Russian Federation has constantly played a major role in the evolution of the Georgian state. Due to various reasons, Georgia experienced a greater degree of influence from the Russian state than the rest of the former soviets. This was visible in the entire political approach of the leaders of the Georgian state following the Second World War and even after the Cold War. In this sense, it is considered that the policies were conducted from Moscow, and not necessarily from the President of the Soviets. Thus it is believed for instance that the 1972 Rebellion which brought to power Edward Shevardnadze was in fact an anticipation of the revolts against the Russian domination which took place at the end of the 80s which were suppressed with a lot of brutality (Calvocoressi, 1996). Moreover, it is viewed that "these incidents gave birth to a series of speculations according to which officers from the hostile army of Gorbachev intentionally provoked this situation" in order to decrease the power of action of the U.S.S.R. leader while he was out of the country (Calvocoressi, 1996).

Therefore, it is fair to say that in order to decrease and eventually put an end to the conflicts the Caucasus countries have with its neighbors as well as those inside the countries, all these aspects had to be taken into consideration in particular the role Russia had and will have in the region. This is why it was considered that an essential means through which the international community could act and could influence the resolution of the existing problems would be international organizations because they offer the proper communication environment for the exchange of ideas and possible solutions.


Peacekeeping missions represent one of the most important tools at the disposal of humanity for conflict resolutions. Despite the fact that it has often been criticized as an inefficient means of saving lives and states, the United Nations along with the rest of the specialized international organizations have been actively involved in at least mediating the conflicts which arrive and offer a forum for discussions and for reaching compromise and mutually agreed solutions.

Georgia was and continues to be an important area of conflict. Since 1992 when Abkhazia declared its independence from the Georgian state, an act which was followed by intense fighting and human loss, the international community sought to consider a peaceful resolution to the problem at hand. In this sense, the United Nations sought to revive the peace process by diplomatic means, consulting with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) [now redesignated the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)] so as to ensure effective coordination of activities. In November 1992, a United Nations office opened in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to provide an integrated United Nations approach in the region and to assist in the peacemaking efforts of the Secretary-General" (UN, 2007).

The approach is important because it offers indeed the perspective needed to consider the way in which the international community saw the resolution of the issue. In this sense, it tried to include all the actors that are affected by this conflict, as well as Russia. This comes to underline the vital role Russia plays in the geopolitical map of the region.

A crucial aspect in this matter is the implication of the OSCE. It is a rather well-known fact the idea that this organization is part of the Cold War blueprint which aimed at placing together at the same table of talks both the east and the west. In this sense, the Russians as well as the Americans had a communication path which would ensure their imminent discussions. Nowadays, it represents an important European forum in particular. It has both security abilities and human rights protection abilities. At the same time, it gathers states from the entire European space. This is important because even if the Cold War has ended at a political level its reminiscences are still visible at the level of the mentalities as well as at a social one. Therefore, the existence of a forum which can take action against the abuses of human rights as well as during a conflict zone is crucial.

Despite the continuous efforts made by the international community the United Nations considers the situation on the ground to be "mostly calm but very volatile. Criminality and lawlessness continued to be major destabilizing factors, putting in jeopardy the overall security situation. Complaints had repeatedly been lodged by the local population in both sectors about terrorizing and intimidation by armed groups. Repeated violations of the Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces of 14 May 1994 and restrictions on the freedom of movement of UNOMIG continued" (United Nations, 2007) Even so, it is essential that the improvements achieved to be taken into account in order to see the actual success or failure of the international community. However it must be said that the entire security strategy in Georgia is represented by the activities and supervision of the UN which ensures security as well as the OSCE which "secures freedom of movement and freedom of the mass media" (Caucasian Knot, 2004).

One of the most important aspects of the mission in Georgia has been the insurance of security as part of the process for peace and stability in Abkhazia. In this sense, troops were deployed so that security can be achieved. However, the United Nations…

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