Mats Berdal

Mats Berdal
King's College London | KCL · Department of War Studies

DPhil (OXON)

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90
Publications
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1,358
Citations

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
South Sudan's tragic history of independent statehood raises important questions about the future of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). UNMISS cannot bring peace to the country on its own. For that to happen, South Sudan's militarised form of governance and political economy must be transformed. Recognising UNMISS's limitations doe...
Chapter
UN peace operations have, since their inception, touched on core issues and concepts at the heart of the study of international relations: conflict and cooperation; sovereignty and intervention; norms and norm diffusion; the use and utility of military force; and the changing character of armed conflict. To study UN peacekeeping, therefore, is also...
Chapter
Peace agreements cannot by themselves deliver just and lasting peace. Even so, peace agreements clearly matter. Poorly designed and inadequately supported, they can deepen and entrench pre-war patterns of conflict, exacerbate intra-elite competition, accentuate both socio-economic and political grievances, and, ultimately, open new fissures within...
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Three books on peacekeeping explore the elusiveness and complexity, but also the feasibility, of UN-facilitated peace.
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Efforts to "operationalize" the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) continue to encounter resistance from key member states. Where it matters most, among vulnerable civilian populations caught up in war, the R2P appears to be making scant difference. Rising geopolitical tensions have added to a growing sense of pessimism among R2P advocates. Unsurprisi...
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In 2003, NATO set out to support the establishment of 'a self-sustaining, moderate and democratic Afghan government able to exercise its authority and to operate throughout Afghanistan.' The article examines why NATO's attempt to bring stability to Afghanistan over the decade that followed failed to advance its initial and highly ambitious vision f...
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The chapter traces the thinking and the practices surrounding the use of force by UN peacekeepers from the conceptual foundations laid in the era of classical peacekeeping to the contemporary focus on the protection of civilians and more “robust” operations. At the tactical level, a properly equipped and properly commanded force has on occasion bee...
Chapter
"Power after Peace" is an introduction to the book Political Economy of Statebuilding, edited by Mats Berdal and Dominik Zaum and in 2012 published (paperback 2013).
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This a book review of Protection of Civilians, edited by Ralph Mamiya et. al. for OUP, 2016
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The article examines the findings of the Commission of Inquiry established by the Norwegian government in 2014 to evaluate all aspects of Norway’s civilian and military contribution to the international operation in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. Concerned with the wider implications of the Commission’s findings, it focuses on two issues in particu...
Book
This volume examines and evaluates the impact of international statebuilding interventions on the political economy of post-conflict countries over the past 20 years. While statebuilding today is typically discussed in the context of “peacebuilding” and “stabilization” operations, the current phase of interest in external interventions to (re)build...
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Thematic essay on the state and challenges of United Nations peacekeeping.
Chapter
The post-Cold War era witnessed a growing tendency to justify the use and the threat of use of military force in international relations on humanitarian grounds. Freedman’s writing on the use of armed force in pursuit of humanitarian goals and his contribution to the field are explored in this chapter. He rejects the traditional dichotomies in Inte...
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The article considers the state of UN peacekeeping through the prism of its long-running operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Focusing in particular on the challenges raised by use of force and the protection of civilians in conditions of ongoing armed conflict, it argues that UN field operations must be aligned much more closel...
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Although the demand for UN peacekeepers shows little sign of abating, a sense of uncertainty and malaise continues to colour discussions about the future of UN peacekeeping. Of the many issues facing the UN High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations that was set up in 2014, the use of force by UN peacekeepers is likely to attract particular a...
Chapter
The relationship between the history and evolution of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping on the one hand, and the emergence of the doctrine of a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) on the other, is intimate, complex and paradoxical. The element of intimacy is most obvious in relation to the immediate origins of R2P. The central idea underlying it - that...
Chapter
The chapter examines the post-Cold War rise of peacebuilding as an activity that has come to involve a major role for development and development actors. It considers the geo-political and normative background to the rise, and traces the initial efforts to operationalize the concept of “post-conflict peacebuilding”. It is specifically concerned wit...
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The presence of economic motives and commercial agendas in wars is not so much a new phenomenon as a familiar theme in the history of warfare. In recent times, as the contributors to this volume show, the licensing of economically motivated violence in such places as Sierra Leone and Liberia has resembled, in terms of its functional utility, both m...
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Over the past two decades, international efforts to support the socio-economic adjustment of ex-combatants to the uncertain and often messy realities of postwar situations, have presented donor countries, NGOs and international organizations with complex, often formidable, institutional and logistical challenges. Many of these have been exhaustivel...
Book
This volume examines and evaluates the impact of international statebuilding interventions on the political economy of conflict-affected countries over the past 20 years. It focuses on countries that are emerging, or have recently emerged, from periods of war and protracted conflict. The interventions covered fall into three broad categories: •inte...
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MICHAEL LOEWE and EDWARD L. SHAUGHNESSY, eds. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp. xxix, 1,148. $130.00 (US). Reviewed by Edwin G. Pulleyblank
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The new environment for peacebuilding is defined by new approaches to aid, a redefinition of the private sector to include hybrid forms of state and market activity, a new balance of emphasis between corporate social responsibility activities on the part of private-sector actors and the foundational importance of robust legal and regulatory framewo...
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The widespread practice of intervention by outside actors aimed at building ‘sustainable peace’ within societies ravaged by war has been a striking feature of the post-Cold War era. But, at a time when more peacekeepers are deployed around the world than at any other point in history, is the international will to intervene beginning to wane? And ho...
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The widespread practice of intervention by outside actors aimed at building ‘sustainable peace’ within societies ravaged by war has been a striking feature of the post-Cold War era. But, at a time when more peacekeepers are deployed around the world than at any other point in history, is the international will to intervene beginning to wane? And ho...
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The widespread practice of intervention by outside actors aimed at building ?sustainable peace? within societies ravaged by war has been a striking feature of the post-Cold War era. But, at a time when more peacekeepers are deployed around the world than at any other point in history, is the international will to intervene beginning to wane? And ho...
Article
The widespread practice of intervention by outside actors aimed at building ‘sustainable peace’ within societies ravaged by war has been a striking feature of the post-Cold War era. But, at a time when more peacekeepers are deployed around the world than at any other point in history, is the international will to intervene beginning to wane? And ho...
Article
The widespread practice of intervention by outside actors aimed at building ‘sustainable peace’ within societies ravaged by war has been a striking feature of the post-Cold War era. But, at a time when more peacekeepers are deployed around the world than at any other point in history, is the international will to intervene beginning to wane? And ho...
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As NATO turns 60 in April 2009, celebrations will be tempered by the continuing difficulties it faces in Afghanistan. The Alliance's first operation outside the Euro-Atlantic area has revealed a major gap between grand ambitions and actual capability. Central to this problem is the political disunity among NATO's member-states. The Strasbourg–Kehl...
Chapter
NATO IN AFGHANISTAN: THE BEGINNING OF THE END OR THE END OF THE BEGINNING?. In October 2006 the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan – under North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command since August 2003 – assumed operational control of the whole of the country. With nearly forty thousand troops drawn from more than th...
Book
Reintegrating Armed Groups After Conflict looks at the challenges of transforming ‘rebel’, ‘insurgent’ or other non-state armed groups into viable political entities. Drawing on eight case studies, the definition of ‘armed groups’ here ranges from militias, paramilitary forces, police units of various kinds to intelligence outfits. Likewise, the de...
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When Kofi Annan, as the UN Secretary-General, initiated his ambitious reform process with a speech to the General Assembly in September 2003, he saw it as a necessary response to the tensions and fault lines running through the UN membership which the US-led invasion of Iraq had sharply exposed and exacerbated. Those very tensions, however, were al...
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The United Nations (UN) operation in Cambodia from 1992 to 1993 was, at the time, the most ambitious and expensive undertaking in the peacekeeping experience of the organisation. At a cost of around US $1.7 billion, 22,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed to implement the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict, the...
Article
After years of paralysis, the 1990s saw an explosion in the number of United Nations field operations around the world. In terms of scope and level of ambition, these interventions went beyond the tried and tested principles of classical UN peacekeeping. Indeed, in some cases - such as Cambodia, Kosovo and East Timor - the UN presence assumed the f...
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‘a useful conceptual distinction in understanding the motivation for civil war is that between greed and grievance’. thus wrote paul collier in 1999. drawing on statistical data of civil wars since the mid-sixties, his conclusion at the time was stark and unequivocal: ‘grievance-based explanations of civil war’ were ‘seriously wrong’. in seemingly...
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As heads of state and government prepare to mark the 60 anniversary of the UN with a grand meeting in New York in September 2005, the sense of crisis and uncertainty that has surrounded the world body since the start of the war in Iraq is still very much present. The enduring nature of the crisis has contributed to the widely held impression – both...
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The 1994 genocide in Rwanda continues to haunt the Western liberal conscience. And so indeed it should. Romeo Dallaire's powerful and disturbing recollection of his time as commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Rwanda in 1993 and 1994 makes for deeply distressing reading. Some two years after the launch of the much-heralded Agenda for Peace by UN...
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The argument, widely made in the run-up to the war in Iraq, that the UN was on the verge of permanent marginalisation in the field of peace and security has turned out to be misplaced. The clearest sign of revitalisation has come not from its role in post-war Iraq but from the dramatic growth of UN peace operations in Africa since May 2003. While p...
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While ‘classical’ peacekeeping may have not been an appropriate answer to challenges in the early 1990s’ the demand for international deployments has not diminished, and nor has the demand for UN involvement. Three issues of the past decade are highlighted in this article: the question of continuity and change in peacekeeping practice; the critical...
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In the run‐up to war, neither key members of the UN Security Council nor senior UN officials did much to discourage the notion that the crisis over Iraq was presenting the Council with its ‘moment of truth’. The crisis was shaped, above all, by the prism through which the United States views threats to its own and international security after 11 Se...
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The question of how to deal with Iraq led to profound divisions among the permanent five members of the Security Council. This was followed by the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, without the Councils authorisation for the use of force. On the basis of the Security Council’s handling of the crisis over Iraq, this study explores the paradox of indisp...
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Globalisation and Its Discontents. Joseph Stiglitz. London: Penguin Books, Ltd, 2002. War And Underdevelopment, Volume 1: The Economic and Social Consequences of Conflict. Frances Stewart, Valpy FitzGerald and Associates. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. War And Underdevelopment, Volume 2: Country Experiences. Frances Stewart, Valpy FitzGeral...
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The paper examines the assumptions, implicit and explicit, that have guided the use of force in support of humanitarian objectives in the 1990s. Drawing, in particular, on the cases of former Yugoslavia and Somalia, it questions some of the lessons that writers on «peace support operations» have drawn about the possibilities inherent in the «impart...
Chapter
The traditional or ‘classic’ understanding of peacekeeping derives largely, though not exclusively, from the experience of United Nations field operations during the Cold War. Although the term itself does not appear in the UN Charter, a general consensus concerning its essential character gradually emerged in the course of the thirteen operations...
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This article argues that insufficient account has been taken - both in policy-making and scholarly circles - of the political economy of civil wars and the variety of 'functions' which violence may perform, most markedly in politically fragile, ethnically divided, and economically weak states. The article is divided into two parts. The first examin...
Chapter
Norwegian security policy in the Cold War has traditionally been described as a function of two sets of considerations. On the one hand, membership of NATO implied a policy of deterrence vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The necessary corollary of this was a high degree of integration into the Western defence system. On the other hand, measures of deterr...
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Between 1954 and 1960 Norwegian territory afforded a unique location from which to collect strategic and tactical intelligence on the Soviet Union.3 There were several reasons for this.
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Until 1955, Anglo-American maritime concerns about Soviet intentions in European waters outside the eastern Mediterranean focused predominantly on the Baltic Sea and the defence of its three natural exits — the Sound, the Great Belt and the Little Belt. At one level, this was hardly surprising. Operating out of bases in Liepaja, Kaliningrad, Baltii...
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Alignment with the Western powers in 1949 enabled Norway — a country with meagre resources, recently occupied by a foreign power and bordering a major potential adversary — to become a “consumer” of the collective good of security.2 The fact that the “Scandinavian option” represented, in the words of Holst, a “perfectly valid alternative” in terms...
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In Chapter One it was observed that, even after the reorganisation of NATO’s command structure in 1951, the British COS as a collective body showed little interest in reassessing the place of Norway in its defence priorities. By late 1951 and early 1952, however, such lack of interest no longer applied to all three services. In the early 1950s, Adm...
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To President Eisenhower, the Korean War had demonstrated that conven-tional wars against communist-inspired forces were likely to be both costly and inconclusive.3 By 1954, the new Republican administration had completed its first review of “basic national security policy,” designed to solve Eisenhower’s great equation of maintaining a strong defen...
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According to some observers, Admiral Sir John Eccles’s “frank admissions” about British naval weakness in late 1957, marked the first step in a campaign to have the US Navy assume additional duties in the Atlantic, much as the Sixth Fleet had done in the Mediterranean after the Second World War.1 And, indeed, in June 1960, the Daily Telegraph repor...
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Ever since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, Norway had been strongly committed to, and participated extensively in, the activities of the organisation and its associated agencies. The Eisenhower adminis-tration’s policy paper on Scandinavia in April 1960 acknowledged this fact. It also emphasised that the “considerable prestige” whi...
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Throughout the Second World War, Norway was recognised by all three members of the Grand Alliance as belonging to the British and American sphere of military responsibility. Moreover, the country was also assumed to be an area of special interest to Britain. This was a reflection both of the development of extensive functional ties during the war a...
Book
Acknowledgements - Introduction - PART 1: THE HISTORICAL SETTING - Anglo-American Strategic Policy and Norway, 1945-54 - PART 2: NORWAY IN AMERICAN THREAT ASSESSMENTS, 1954-60 - Introduction - Intelligence and Air Strategies in the Arctic, 1954-60 - The US, Norway and the Soviet Naval Threat in Northern Europe, 1954-60 - PART 3: NORWAY AND AMERICAN...
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Writing about the United States and its highly ambivalent relationship to the United Nations, Conor Cruise O'Brien once noted how, in ‘the land which houses the United Nations, and which does most both to support and to use it, discussion of the functioning of the United Nations is almost all on [a] quas-supernatural plane, whether it be in terms o...
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This chapter examines the experience of United Nations involvement in the former Yugoslavia since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 713 on 25 September 1991, instituting a ‘general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia’ while at the same time expressing strong support for European Community...
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El ensayo analiza las respuestas del informe del Panel de Alto Nivel (PAN) a los desafíos que ha enfrentado la ONU como consecuencia de la invasión de Iraq y las expectativas suscitadas en torno a su reforma. Se parte de la premisa de que el estado de la Organización es reflejo de los conflictos de interés y de valores que hoy contraponen y dividen...
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(1935-2000) is widely acknowledged to have been among the brightest and most penetrating of thinkers in International Relations. This book brings together some of his most exciting and stimulating essays, covering many of the classic and most enduring issues in International Relations: the causes of wars; intervention and the use of force; the regu...

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