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Panel 2. At the crossroad between conflict and peace: international interventions in the 21st century

Chair: Irene Costantini (University of Naples "L'Orientale")
Discussants: Irene Costantini (University of Naples "L'Orientale") & Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)

Date: Friday 14.00 - 15.45
Room: Aula Candeloro


Over the last decade, the international community has had to reconsider its role at the crossroad between conflict and peace. If the 1990s and the 2000s raised expectations about the potential for exogenously framing a solution to conflict through peacebuilding or statebuilding – the current engagement in conflict affected countries is motivated more by a search for stability. Indeed, stabilization emerged in response to the failure of previous interventions (notably, Iraq and Afghanistan) and the doubts concerning the viability and possibility of building effective states in conflict-affected and fragile countries. The panel brings together studies that trace theoretically and empirically the evolution of the worldviews, narratives and practices upon which international interventions in conflict affected countries operates. Through single case, comparative and quantitative analyses, the panel interrogates the drivers and consequences of such evolution, paying particular attention to changed geopolitical concerns, new international and regional actors, perceptions of threats to peace and stability and emerging conceptual frameworks informing current stabilisation efforts.


Confirmed Papers: 

1) Region-Building as a new strategy for stability? External Security Interventions and the case of the G5 Sahel
Edoardo Baldaro (University of Napoli “L’Orientale”)

In line with the vast majority of security experts, nowadays the Sahel represents one of the main challenges for international – and more specifically European - security. According to the mainstream discourse related to the region, this area is currently seen as the ‘corridor of all dangers’, a space of instability and threats ‘bordering’ the European Union. More recent debates are underlying the multiple and entangled destabilizing dynamics affecting this area. The Malian crisis – started in 2012-2013 – along with the growth of illicit traffics – mainly drugs, arms and human trafficking – and the increasing presence of powerful jihadist groups are creating what is perceived as a multidimensional security complex, whose boundaries are expanding and welding with the North Africa system.
Given these conditions, different missions, strategies and projects have been implemented by the United Nations, the EU, France and the US – to name but a few – with the aim to build a common action, whose main goals are conflict-management, threat-containment, counterterrorism and ultimately, stabilization. Nevertheless, these same interventions lie in a certain continuity with the initiatives, which have characterized the international presence in the Sahel since the beginning of the 2000s. In particular, the two main characteristics defining external security engagement in the Sahel are: 1) the pursuit of a regionalizing approach, seen as the best solution for opposing regional/transnational destabilizing dynamics; and 2) a certain reliance on local states, whose strengthening is considered as the main viable long-term solution to instability and insecurity at all levels.
Starting from these premises, this paper aims at critically analyzing the inception and the development of the G5 Sahel, the recently created sub-regional organizations whose main aim is to pursuit “security and development” in the area. Making reference to the literature on stabilization and region-building projects, the article wants to unpack the relationship between external interveners – in particular the EU and France – and local states, underlying convergences and contrasts in terms of priorities, interests, and perceptions, while evaluating the effective agency of the different actors involved. A preliminary assessment of the conflict-management and security capacities of the G5 Sahel will be proposed, in order to shed a light on the efficacy of this specific strategy for stability.

2) The failing enterprise of EU's export of thin citizenship in its southern neighbourhood
Ruth Hanau Santini (University of Naples “L’Orientale”) 

This paper investigates the way in which conceptual models of state-society relations are formulated and translated into practice by the European Union (EU) in its bilateral relations with the southern Mediterranean countries.
It does so by looking at the evolution of European foreign policy since the 2011 Arab Uprisings, analysing first the revised European Neighbourhood Policy, but also the new strategies adopted by other EU bodies and frameworks, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the European Endowment for Democracy.
The paper empirically attests the degree to which EU policies have been inspired by the new strategies, as well as how far formulations of democratic ideals can be extrapolated from these policies.
Lastly, it elaborates on the relationship between these conceptual models of democracy and different models of citizenship, thereby cross-fertilising two strands of literature often kept separated, i.e. studies on democracy promotion or democracy assistance, and citizenship studies.
The paper namely elaborates on different kinds of citizenship models, protective or developmental, and the ways in which they are employed to foster specific kinds of citizenship rights across different policy areas. The paper concludes by highlighting the fragmented citizenship approach espoused by the EU in its relations with the southern neighborhood and the consequences this has had in terms of mismatch with local demands and shortcomings in its policy effectiveness.

3) Why Give Money to Sanctioned Countries? Explaining the Behavior of the International Community When the United Nations Uses Sanctions
Francesco Giumelli (University of Groningen)

Sanctions are commonly assessed through the economic consequences that the economy of a state suffers after their imposition. The theory claims that the impact of sanctions undermines the economy of a country so to force the ruling elite to change their behavior. However, Official Foreign Aid (ODA) shows that some countries receive more aid when subjected to UN sanctions. Why does the international community give money to a country if the intent is to cripple its economy? This paper intends to answer to this question by taking into consideration the recent evolution of sanctions from comprehensive to targeted, the argument is that the way in which sanctions are utilized has radically changed from the past. Especially, sanctions are more often used as instruments of governance with a view of supporting democratic transitions, post-conflict consolidation and peace. This analysis relies on data collected by the Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC), a new database that includes 23 cases of sanctions divided in 63 episodes, complemented with data on foreign aid from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Keywords: Foreign aid, Sanctions, United Nations

4) Iraq 2003-18: changing approaches to stabilization 
Roberto Belloni, University of Trento