Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution: A Decade of Development




Lewis, Samuel J

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School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution


This century has been scarred by many violent international conflicts: World War I, World War II, Korea, the War in Vietnam and Cambodia, two India-Pakistan wars, nine major wars in the Middle East, and many other conflicts. The decades we have passed through have been de cades of almost endless warfare in one or more regions, punctuated by brief moments of peace. The names remind us of a violent era: Afghanistan, Sahara, Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola, Yemen, and on and on. Many so-called minor wars have produced hundreds of thousands of casualties. The bloodiest war of the twentieth century—with the exception of the two great world conflicts—the Iran-Iraq War, dragged on for eight years of wholesale bloodshed. The 1991 Gulf War was the shortest war of the twentieth century, but it was also very bloody. And, of course, in the part of the Middle East where I have spent most of my last 20 years, the Arab- Israeli front, the record spans Israel's War of Independence in 1948-49; the Suez War in 1956; the major Six Day War in 1967; the 1969-70 War of Attrition between Egypt and Israel—somehow often left out of the record books but actually one of the bloodier of the Arab-Israeli wars and one of the longer—the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a surprise attack on Israel on the holiest of days for Israelis and Jews everywhere; and the 1982 Lebanese War, the first ‘war of choice’ for Israel since the Suez Crisis. And outside the Middle East, the Associated Press once identified more than 300 ‘small wars’ that were underway at that particular moment around the world. Of course, the United States has not been at peace all this time either. We have not stayed at war for a long period of time since Vietnam. But during this decade of your Institute's existence, the United States deployed more than 500,000 troops against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm and was also involved in military operations of a ‘peacekeeping’ or ‘policing’ nature in Lebanon, Libya, Grenada, and most recently Panama.