A forthcoming book presents a fresh take on the civil strife that beset Georgia and Tajikistan in the 1990s.
Traditionally, political scientists have assumed that civil conflict only ends with a dominant victory by one side over another. And since the end of the Cold War, researchers have tended to focus on the concept of “peace enforcement,” i.e. how the international community uses a variety of institutions, including the United Nations, International Criminal Court and nongovernmental organizations, to bring conflicts to a quick, and hopefully more gentle end.
But these assumptions and concepts do not fit well with the cases of Tajikistan and Georgia, argues Jesse Driscoll, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego. In neither case did one side gain an overwhelming victory. And the conditions that the international community usually tries to bring about in peace enforcement – disarmament and demobilization of militias, protecting the government from violent overthrow, and helping the government provide services to its people – did not take place in the way that the international community usually imagines.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC-based writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.