. 4
( 10)


fragmented into several tribally based militia factions, each led by a warlord.
Interfactional violence was particularly brutal, characterized by widespread
atrocities against civilian populations and an “abandonment of all rules and
conventions of war.”68
From 1990 to 1997, one-tenth of the country™s prewar population of
2.5 million died, one-third became refugees, and nearly all the rest were
displaced at one time or another.69 ECOWAS, and increasingly the United
Nations, were involved in numerous unsuccessful efforts to establish peace in
Liberia during this period. Twelve separate peace settlements among the war-
ring parties were successfully negotiated, but each of them quickly collapsed “
until the signing of the second Abuja Accord in 1996. The Abuja agreement
laid out a timetable for the disarmament and demobilization of factional
forces, the deployment of an expanded international monitoring mission,
and the creation of an interim power-sharing government that would rule
Liberia in the transitional period leading up to democratic elections, origi-
nally scheduled for May 1997.
Given that previous attempts to hold elections in the country had “failed
hopelessly,” many commentators were pessimistic about the possibilities of
conducting a free and fair vote.70 Nevertheless, preparations for the elec-
tions proceeded only slightly behind schedule, and the warring factions
transformed themselves into political parties, including the dominant fac-
tion “ Taylor™s NPFL “ which converted itself into the National Patriotic
Party (NPP). Under the supervision of ECOMOG and the United Nations

65 Harris 1999, p. 433; and Lyons 1999, p. 21.
66 67
Alao et al. 1999, p. 19; and Ero 2000, p. 197. Lyons 1999, p. 22.
68 69 Lyons 1999, p. 20.
Alao et al. 1999, p. 20.
70 Tanner 1998; and Alao et al. 1999, p. 102.
The Peacebuilding Record

Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), more than 21,000 combatants were
disarmed and demobilized between November 1996 and February 1997.71
Meanwhile, the UN Development Program, the European Union, and a pri-
vate organization, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, pro-
vided technical assistance in preparation for legislative and presidential elec-
tions, which were ultimately held in July 1997. Electoral rules provided for
run-off ballots in the event that no single presidential candidate received a
majority of votes on the initial ballot, but as it turned out, Taylor won 75.3
percent of the vote in the ¬rst round, while his NPP party took 49 of 64
seats in the House of Representatives and 21 of 26 seats in the Senate.72
Taylor™s nearest rival for the presidency won 9.6 percent of the vote, and the
remaining 11 contenders received a combined total of less than 10 percent.73
It was a landslide victory.
By all accounts, the election results broadly re¬‚ected the will of the
Liberian people. Turnout was estimated at over 80 percent of registered
voters. Balloting was scrutinized by approximately ¬ve hundred interna-
tional observers from a panoply of intergovernmental and nongovernmental
agencies, including the UN, the Organization of African Unity, the European
Union, the Carter Center, and the Friends of Liberia, and judged to be gen-
erally free and fair.74 According to the UN, polling was conducted “in an
organized and ef¬cient manner and without reports of violence or intimida-
tion.”75 However, whether the campaign itself offered candidates an equal
opportunity to convey their messages to voters is a different question. In fact,
Taylor™s organizational network and resources were far superior to those of
any other candidate. Taylor alone had a ¬‚eet of Land Rovers, buses, motor-
cycles, loudspeaker trucks “ even a helicopter “ at his disposal during the
campaign.76 Because he was also the only candidate with a national political
network already in place, he also bene¬ted from the quick election timetable
and short campaign period.
Yet despite this uneven playing ¬eld, the sheer margin of Taylor™s victory
quieted skeptics and convinced most observers that the Liberian population
did, in fact, want Taylor as their president.77 The consensus interpretation
was that Liberians had voted out of the fear that Taylor would resume ¬ght-
ing if he lost the election. As one commentator put it, Liberians were anx-
ious that Taylor would “do a Savimbi” “ referring to the violent outcome
of the 1992 elections in Angola.78 “In the eyes of these voters,” wrote an-
other observer, “a victory for anyone else would have meant almost certain

71 72 Harris 1999, p. 436. 73 Alao et al. 1999, p. 103.
Lyons 1999, p. 42.
74 Harris 1999, p. 437.
75 “Letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council,” UN document
S/1997/581, July 24, 1997.
76 77 Harris 1999, p. 442 and passim.
Tanner 1998, p. 138; and Lyons 1999, p. 58.
78 Ero 1999, p. 195. See also Tanner 1998, p. 140; Alao et al. 1999, p. 105; Lyons 1999, p. 59;
and Harris 1999, p. 452.
Cambodia and Liberia 93

resumption of the bush warfare that [had] cost the lives of so many of their
family members and friends.”79
With the completion of elections and Taylor™s inauguration as president
in August 1997, the United Nations and ECOWAS declared their missions a
“success” and withdrew most of their personnel from the country.80 The pe-
riod immediately following the elections was one of relative calm, with some
commentators proclaiming the arrival of a “new era” of tranquility and hope
in Liberian politics.81 But to what degree did this outcome lend support to
the Wilsonian hypothesis of peace-through-liberalization? While the elec-
tion was a central mechanism in the implementation of the Abuja peace
accord, which ended a seven-year-long war,82 the holding of one reasonably
successful election does not demonstrate that liberalization has fostered the
conditions for a stable and lasting peace in Liberia. In fact, on closer exam-
ination, the Liberian case does not appear to lend support to the Wilsonian
approach to con¬‚ict management and peacebuilding, for several reasons.
First, as in Cambodia, the process of political liberalization in Liberia was
super¬cial and temporary. President Taylor immediately began to suppress
the activities of his political opponents, effectively reversing the fragile and
preliminary movement toward democracy that was accomplished during the
peacebuilding mission. Initially, Taylor seemed interested in continuing the
democratization process: In his inaugural address, he promised to pursue
the goals of reconciliation and political inclusion and to give high priority
to human rights and the rule of law, and he matched these words with ac-
tions, inducting four opposition members into his initial cabinet of nineteen
ministers.83 But soon after, Taylor™s style of rule revealed the “increasingly
paranoid and bellicose attitude of a leader who continues to rely on security
forces to sti¬‚e opposition movements or remove those considered to be likely
coup plotters.”84
Instead of neutralizing the country™s security forces, Taylor absorbed the
most reliable ¬ghters of his former guerrilla organization into a so-called
Anti-Terrorist Unit, which was soon linked to a series of attacks upon his
political rivals, including his erstwhile ally, Samuel Dokie, who was abducted
and brutally murdered in late 1997.85 Many other political leaders subse-
quently left the country. By 2001, Taylor had “all but put an end to organized
opposition” to his government, routinely threatening and jailing journal-
ists.86 When university students demonstrated peacefully against the arrests

79 Fitzpatrick 1997.
80 The UN™s self-congratulatory ¬nal report on UNOMIL uses the words “success” and “suc-
cessful” no fewer than ten times in thirty-four paragraphs (UN doc. S/1997/712, September
12, 1997; see also S/1997/581, July 24, 1997). After the termination of UNOMIL, the UN
established a small peacebuilding of¬ce in Monrovia.
81 82 Lyons 1999. 83 Ero 2000, pp. 200“201.
Alao et al. 1999, p. 102.
84 85 Ero 2000, p. 202; United States Department of State 2002.
Ibid., p. 201.
86 Farah 2001b.
The Peacebuilding Record

of four prominent journalists in the spring of 2001, the Anti-Terrorist Unit
physically beat and dispersed the demonstrators.87 In addition, according
to both the U.S. State Department and the nongovernmental organization
Human Rights Watch, “President Taylor™s government functioned without
accountability, independent of an ineffective judiciary and legislature that op-
erated in fear of the executive.”88 In short, the president and his party used
their positions to “entrench their power, limit political freedom, and make
it less likely that future elections will be competitive.”89 Given all this, cred-
iting Liberia™s relative postelection stability to the supposed liberalization of
political life in the country would do violence to the liberal peace thesis.
Second, the peacebuilding mission did not address the underlying patterns
of con¬‚ict in Liberian society, including the historical tendency of Liberian
leaders to achieve power by hijacking the institutions of the state for the
personal enrichment of their kinsmen, loyalists, and themselves, while ruth-
lessly suppressing rival leaders and groups.90 This is the pattern that was
¬rst established by Americo-Liberian rule, which dominated and exploited
the indigenous majority and elicited the violent coup in 1980 that brought
Samuel Doe to power. Perversely, Doe reproduced the same style of klep-
tocratic and ¬ercely repressive rule “ to the detriment of almost everyone
in Liberia except members of his own Krahn ethnic group “ which in turn
created conditions of general resentment that Charles Taylor and his allies
were able to exploit as they organized their own violent uprising against the
The 1997 elections did little to alter this pattern, and may have served
only to strengthen an authoritarian leader who offered rhetorical support
for multiparty democracy but began immediately consolidating a “mono-
lithic political party system and presidential autocracy” based on violence,
suppression, and nepotism.91 By attacking his rivals, by abolishing what few
political liberties were established during the peacebuilding mission, and by
establishing a network of semiof¬cial business ventures “ including some that
the UN Security Council claims are involved in the smuggling of contraband
diamonds “ to ¬nance his personal security forces,92 Taylor appeared to be
“repeating the mistakes of the Americo-Liberians and the Doe regime.”93
The peacebuilding mission “ which oversaw a partial demobilization of the
factions and hastily organized elections, and then quit the country “ did lit-
tle to curb the cycle of oppressive kleptocracy and violent rebellion that has
marked Liberia™s history as an independent state.94

87 Ibid.
88 The quotation is from Human Rights Watch 2002; see also United States Department of
State 2002.
89 90 Dolo 1996; Bøas 2001.
Lyons 1999, p. 63.
91 92 Farah 2001a.
Barclay 1999, p. 303. See also Adebajo 2002.
93 94 Tanner 1998, pp. 145“146.
Ero 2000, pp. 210“211.
Cambodia and Liberia 95

Indeed, ¬ghting soon resumed. A new armed opposition group “ Liberi-
ans United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) “ launched attacks on
Taylor™s government forces in July 2000 and quickly advanced to positions
near the capital.95 In response, Taylor mobilized ¬fteen hundred of his for-
mer ¬ghters to combat the insurgency.96 As rebels continued to close in on
the capital, Taylor declared a national state of emergency in February 2002,
under which the government began widespread arrests of suspected “dissi-
dents” in Monrovia, including street youths and members of ethnic groups
that Taylor viewed as untrustworthy.97 Amnesty International subsequently
accused Taylor™s security forces of using the state of emergency as a justi-
¬cation to increase human rights violations against the civilian population,
including widespread torture and rape.98 As the Washington Post editorialized
in February 2002, “Liberia is now on the verge of a civil liberties meltdown
and a return to unrestrained bloodshed.”99
Indeed, conditions continued to deteriorate over the coming months, un-
til Taylor, who faced imminent military defeat and intense international
pressure to leave the country, resigned his of¬ce and ¬‚ed Liberia in August
2003 (reportedly with several million dollars of public funds in his baggage).
One month later, the United Nations deployed yet another peacebuilding op-
eration to the country “ the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), with up to
¬fteen thousand international troops “ to support the implementation of
a new peace agreement, which was negotiated among the warring parties
when Taylor departed. Among other things, the Security Council instructed
UNMIL to monitor the cease-¬re and to prepare the country for a new set
of national elections, scheduled for 2005.
Given all this, the assessment offered by the Africa scholar Terrence Lyons
in 1999 seems to have been prescient. Lyons suggested that the critical weak-
ness of the Abuja Accord and the ensuing international peacebuilding mission
was that they paid too little attention to “the longer and more dif¬cult prob-
lems of reconciliation and the rebuilding of social relationships necessary to
promote long-term con¬‚ict management.”100 Although the 1997 elections
themselves were largely free and fair, and helped to create a measure of sta-
bility in the short run, they did not yield the conditions for a stable and
lasting peace in Liberia.
The Liberian case may be interpreted in one of two ways. Either the partial
democratization overseen by international peacebuilders was so insubstan-
tial that it offers little or no insight into the effects of political liberalization on
war-shattered states, or alternatively, the pacifying effects of Liberia™s partial
democratization were themselves transitory and largely illusory. Whichever

95 96 Farah 2001b.
Human Rights Watch 2002.
97 98 Amnesty International 2002.
Reuters 2002; and Amnesty International 2002.
99 100 Lyons 1999, p. 63.
Washington Post 2002 (February 14).
The Peacebuilding Record

interpretation one chooses, the Liberian case does not appear to lend support
to the Wilsonian hypothesis.

Internationally sponsored liberalization efforts did not have the immediately
destabilizing effects in Cambodia and Liberia that they apparently had in
Angola and Rwanda, but neither of these cases demonstrates that liberaliza-
tion promotes the conditions for a stable and lasting peace in war-shattered
states. Although Cambodia has enjoyed relative tranquility since the termi-
nation of the peacebuilding mission, this does not corroborate the Wilsonian
hypothesis, since early efforts to democratize political life in Cambodia have
been progressively reversed by the country™s authoritarian prime minister.
In Liberia, the partial movement toward democratization that culminated in
the 1997 elections did little to address the historical pattern and sources of
con¬‚ict in the country, which slipped back into violence in 2000. Both coun-
tries emerged from their peacebuilding missions as quasi-democracies based
on the power of strongmen who brook little dissent and use intimidation
and threats to suppress political opposition. In Cambodia, this form of rule
may offer the basis for continued stability; in Liberia, it quickly gave way to
renewed con¬‚ict. But in neither case can peace be attributed to democratic
freedoms, open political contestation, effective constitutional limitations on
the exercise of power, or any other conditions that might corroborate the lib-
eral peace thesis. Indeed, the cases of Cambodia and Liberia seem to reinforce
the preliminary ¬ndings of the previous chapter: that hasty liberalization ef-
forts might actually work against the goal of establishing a stable and lasting
peace in countries that are just emerging from civil wars.

Bosnia and Croatia
Reinforcing Ethnic Divisions

The territory of the former Yugoslavia has hosted several peacebuilding mis-
sions. The ¬rst major postcon¬‚ict operation was deployed to Bosnia in 1995.
Other missions were created for Croatia (1995) and Kosovo (1999). This
chapter focuses on the Bosnia operation and concludes with an analysis of
the much smaller Croatia operation. The subsequent mission to Kosovo will
be examined in Chapter 11.

War in the former Yugoslavia broke out in June 1991, after two of the
country™s then-constituent republics “ Slovenia and Croatia “ declared their
independence from the Yugoslav federation. Fighting between Slovenian na-
tionalists and the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) lasted only ten days before
the JNA withdrew from Slovenia. In Croatia, however, ethnic Serb residents
formed paramilitary units (which were supplied and supported by the JNA)
and waged a war against Croatian nationalist forces throughout the second
half of 1991. A cease-¬re came into effect at the end of the year, but only after
Serb militias and the JNA had gained control of roughly one-quarter of the
republic™s territory. In February 1992, the UN Security Council created the
United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to monitor the cease-¬re in
One month later, in March 1992, a referendum on independence was held
in neighboring Bosnia, which at the time was still part of Yugoslavia. The
vote divided Bosnia along ethnic lines. Muslims (who represented 44 percent
of the republic™s population in 1991) and Croats (17 percent of the popu-
lation) strongly favored independence, while Serbs (31 percent of the popu-
lation) vigorously opposed the secession of Bosnia and abstained from the

1 Security Council Resolution 743 (February 21, 1992).

The Peacebuilding Record

vote.2 Like their compatriots in Croatia, most Serbs in Bosnia preferred to
remain part of the Yugoslav federation “ in which Serbs were the dominant
group “ rather than become a permanent minority in a newly independent
state. With Serbs boycotting the referendum, Bosnia™s independence resolu-
tion was approved by an overwhelming margin.3 Sporadic ¬ghting between
paramilitary groups from each of the three major ethnic groups soon devel-
oped into a full-scale civil war, which continued, despite several short-lived
cease-¬res, until the end of 1995. From the beginning of the war, Bosnian Serb
militias “ with direct support from the government of Serbia “ instituted the
practice that came to be known as “ethnic cleansing,” forcibly ousting and,
in some cases, executing Muslims and Croats who lived in Serb-controlled
territory.4 Although Muslims and Croats had earlier cooperated to achieve
Bosnian independence, their military coalition quickly disintegrated and they
began ¬ghting each other. Until the ¬nal months of the con¬‚ict, Serbian forces
enjoyed a considerable military advantage over both Muslims and Croats.
They used this to gain control of more than 70 percent of Bosnian territory.
In 1992, the United Nations responded to the Bosnian war by deploying
peacekeeping troops to ensure the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies,
and later to protect civilian “safe areas.” The mission (an extension of the
existing UNPROFOR operation in Croatia) was unable to prevent Bosnian
Serb forces from blockading and eventually storming two of the designated
safe areas, the Muslim towns of Srebrenica and Zepa. International efforts
to mediate a negotiated settlement of the con¬‚ict took place concurrently
with the UN mission, but repeatedly failed to gain the agreement of all the
warring parties. The Bosnian Muslims, in particular, refused to accept any
peace proposal that granted ethnic Serbs political control over areas that
had been ethnically “cleansed”; the Bosnian Serbs, for their part, had little
incentive to negotiate a settlement of the war as long as they continued to
dominate the battle¬eld. In the summer of 1995, Croats and Muslims joined
forces to reconquer territories held by the Bosnian Serbs since 1992. With
the tide of battle turning against them, Serb leaders ¬nally indicated that
they were willing to engage in serious peace negotiations.

2 Population ¬gures are from Steinberg 1993, p. 41. The remaining 8% was made up of
“others,” including self-described “Yugoslavs.”
3 More than 99% of valid votes favored independence (Cohen 1993, p. 237).
4 According to Cigar (1995, p. 4), ethnic cleansing was “the direct and planned consequence
of conscious policy decisions taken by the Serbian establishment in Serbia and Bosnia-
Herzegovina. This policy was implemented in a deliberate and systematic manner as part
of a broader strategy intended to achieve a well-de¬ned, concrete, political objective, namely,
the creation of an expanded, ethnically pure Greater Serbia.” On JNA support for Bosnian
Serb paramilitary forces, see Silber and Little 1996, p. 243. The connections between the
Serbian government and the Bosnian war are a central issue in the ongoing trial of former
Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia in the Hague.
Bosnia and Croatia 99

American-mediated talks convened in November 1995 at a military base
near Dayton, Ohio.5 After three weeks of intensive negotiation, the par-
ties initialed the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and
Herzegovina (the Dayton Accord) on November 21 and formally signed the
agreement in Paris on December 14. The Dayton Accord contained eleven
annexes detailing the responsibilities of the Bosnian parties and the inter-
national agencies that would oversee its implementation.6 National elec-
tions would be held for new pan-Bosnian political institutions, including a
three-member presidency (one from each of the three major ethnic groups)
and a bicameral parliament. At the same time, however, the country was to
be divided into ethnic subunits, according to a detailed map. Areas con-
trolled by Muslims and Croats would together form the “Federation of
Bosnia and Herzegovina,” whereas areas controlled by Serbs would form
“Republika Srpska.” Each of these “entities” would possess its own demo-
cratically elected political institutions. A draft constitution, also annexed to
the Dayton agreement, set out the federal division of powers between the
national and entity-level governments.7 In addition, the parties agreed to
maintain the existing cease-¬re, to withdraw their military forces from a
four-kilometer-wide “zone of separation” dividing the two entities, to ne-
gotiate numerical limits on military forces, to ensure the free movement of
civilians throughout Bosnia, including the return of refugees to their homes,
and to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes.
The Dayton Accord explicitly sought to transform Bosnia into a liberal
democracy on the assumption that doing so would reduce the likelihood
of renewed ¬ghting. The preamble of the new constitution made this as-
sumption clear, asserting that “democratic governmental institutions and
fair procedures best produce peaceful relations within a pluralist society.”
In the body of the constitution, the parties agreed that Bosnia “shall be a
democratic state, which shall operate under the rule of law and with free
and democratic elections.” They also promised to uphold the civil liberties
of all persons within the territory of Bosnia, including freedom of expres-
sion, assembly, movement, thought, conscience, and religion.8 In the eco-
nomic realm, the Accord af¬rmed the parties™ desire “to promote the general
welfare and economic growth through the protection of private property

5 At the talks, the Bosnian Serbs were represented by the president of Serbia, Slobodan
Milosevic; the Bosnian Croats by the president of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman; and the Bosnian
Muslims by the president of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic.
6 The agreement is reproduced in UN document S/1995/999, annex.
7 The federal government would be responsible for foreign policy; international trade and
customs; monetary policy; national-level ¬nances; immigration, refugee, and asylum policy
and regulation; inter-entity and international criminal law enforcement, communications and
transportation; and air traf¬c control. All other governmental powers would be exercised at
the entity level.
8 A list of these rights are enumerated in article 2(3) of the constitution.
The Peacebuilding Record

and the promotion of a market economy.”9 Support for market-oriented
economic policies was further reinforced by provisions in the Accord au-
thorizing the IMF to appoint the ¬rst governor of Bosnia™s new central
The agreement also called for the creation of a new International Force
(IFOR) under NATO command to oversee the military elements of the set-
tlement and assist in the implementation of nonmilitary aspects, such as pro-
viding security for elections and helping to ensure the relocation of refugees
and displaced persons. The United Nations was to terminate the existing
UNPROFOR operation, and replace it with a contingent of unarmed po-
lice monitors to help train civilian law-enforcement personnel throughout
Bosnia. The OSCE was assigned the task of supervising the election process,
monitoring human rights, and assisting with the negotiation and implemen-
tation of arms control and con¬dence-building measures. The agreement
also called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to
develop a repatriation plan that would allow an early, peaceful, and phased
return of refugees and displaced persons.
The formal transfer of authority from UNPROFOR to IFOR took place on
December 20, 1995.11 By mid-January 1996, IFOR troops had cleared the
four-kilometer buffer zone separating the opposing armies. Between early
February and mid-March, IFOR supervised the redeployment of Bosnian
forces on either side of the “inter-entity boundary line.” Under its supervi-
sion, the formerly warring parties placed heavy weapons in cantonment sites
and demobilized approximately three hundred thousand ¬ghters.12 Despite
the failure of the Bosnian Serbs to reduce their armed forces to the extent
required by the accords, the military component of the peacebuilding opera-
tion met most of its initial goals. Not only did the Bosnian parties complete
their planned redeployment but they also continued to observe the October
1995 cease-¬re.
In the meantime, preparations for national elections in September 1996
continued. These elections were intended to begin the process of knitting
back together the country™s physically and ethnically separated communi-
ties “ speci¬cally, by reconstituting Bosnia™s national political institutions
with representation from all three communities. Under considerable pres-
sure from the United States,13 the OSCE certi¬ed that conditions for effec-
tive elections existed in Bosnia, despite the warnings of many observers that
elections held so soon after the cessation of hostilities would merely con-
solidate the power of extremist nationalists who had a vested interest in

9 10 Article 7(2) of the constitution.
Preamble of the constitution.
11 IFOR consisted of approximately 54,000 troops from thirty-four countries. This total in-
cluded approximately 17,000 troops who had been serving in UNPROFOR and came under
the control of the IFOR commander when the of¬cial transfer of authority took place.
12 13 Glitman 1996/97, p. 78.
USGAO 1997a.
Bosnia and Croatia 101

resisting the reconciliation of Bosnia™s ethnic communities.14 In fact, this is
precisely what happened. The most belligerent and narrowly nationalistic
political parties within each of the three communities “ the Muslim Party
of Democratic Action (SDA), the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and
the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) “ swept the legislative elections at both
the national and the “entity” level.15 Similarly, in elections to the tripartite
Bosnian presidency, voters in each ethnic group elected the respective leaders
of these parties by overwhelming margins.16 Although numerous technical
objections were raised to speci¬c decisions that OSCE had made in admin-
istering the elections,17 few observers doubted that the outcome of the vote
generally re¬‚ected the preferences of the Bosnian electorate. Yet as American
negotiator Richard Holbrooke later pointed out, “The election strengthened
the very separatists who had started the war.”18
With the power of hard-liners in each community reaf¬rmed by the elec-
tions, the prospects of establishing a viable pan-Bosnian government were
greatly diminished. Many of the newly elected Bosnian Croat and Serb lead-
ers, in particular, were reluctant to participate in the very national institutions
to which they had been elected. The pan-Bosnian parliament was scheduled
to hold its ¬rst meeting in October, but it did not actually convene until
January 1997 because Serbian representatives refused to swear allegiance to
a united Bosnia. Members of the new central bank were selected, but they
disagreed on the bank™s role and were unable to conduct business. Bosnian
Serb and Croat leaders refused to appoint members to the new constitutional
court. Similar stonewalling delayed efforts to endow the new council of min-
isters with effective authority. Within the Muslim-Croat Federation as well,
Bosnian Croats attempted to retain their separate institutions, rather than
merge them into the new “entity-level” government. The Bosnian Croat
HDZ apparently had “no intention of abandoning what it consider[ed] to
be its national rights to territorial sovereignty and economic assets” within
the areas of the Federation that they controlled.19

14 See, for example, Anthony Borden™s prediction in Borden, Drakulic, and Kenny 1996, p. 14;
and Human Rights Watch/Helsinki 1996, p. 2.
15 In elections to the national-level House of Representatives, these three parties took 36 of 42
seats (or 86%). In the Bosnian-Croat Federation, voters elected members to two bodies: the
Federation House of Representatives and the Federation Cantonal Assemblies. The SDA and
HDZ together captured 114 of 140 seats (or 81%) in the House of Representatives, and 345
of 406 seats (or 85%) in the Cantonal Assemblies. In Republika Srpska, voters cast ballots
for the Republika Srpska National Assembly, and for the presidency of Republika Srpska.
The SDS won 45 of 83 seats (or 54%) in the National Assembly, and 59% of votes cast for
the presidency.
16 The leader of the SDA took 80% of Bosnian Muslim votes, the leader of the SDS took 67%
of Bosnian Serb votes, and the leader of the HDZ took 89% of Bosnian Croat votes.
17 See Cousens 1997, pp. 811“812, for a brief description of these objections.
18 19 Woodward 1997, p. 102.
Holbrooke 1998, p. 344.
The Peacebuilding Record

Political leaders of all three ethnic groups also obstructed the return of mi-
nority refugees and displaced persons to their homes,20 and the returns that
did take place consisted mainly of people going back to areas controlled by
their own ethnic group “because returns across ethnic lines proved nearly im-
possible.”21 Many factors hindered the repatriation process, including fear
of violent attacks, poor economic prospects, and lack of suitable housing;
but political leaders were also responsible for hampering returns by failing
to provide adequate security, by maintaining discriminatory property laws,
and by transferring minority-owned housing to members of their own eth-
nic group.22 Furthermore, all three parties resisted international efforts to
track down and arrest persons indicted as war criminals by the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, despite their earlier pledges
to cooperate in these efforts. As one group of observers wrote in late 1997,
“real cooperation between the still dominant nationalist parties has been
slight and grudging, while progress on the ground, in terms of the return
of refugees, freedom of movement, and the arrest of indicted war criminals,
has been minimal.”23
The September 1996 elections did not facilitate greater cooperation
among the formerly warring parties; on the contrary, they served to con-
solidate and legitimize the political power of those nationalist leaders who
were least willing to implement the provisions of the Dayton Accord that
called for cooperation among the formerly warring parties “ an outcome that
appeared to diminish the prospects of achieving a stable and lasting peace in
Bosnia. Although the Dayton agreement recognized the de facto division of
Bosnia into ethnic entities, it also sought to establish a “common roof” of
national political, judicial, and economic institutions that would permit the
country™s three ethnic communities to coexist peacefully within a single state.
Dayton™s international sponsors had assumed that peace was unlikely to en-
dure in Bosnia beyond the departure of foreign troops unless a network of
functioning national institutions was established with representation from
all three groups. Indeed, it is dif¬cult to imagine how the Bosnian parties
could peacefully manage their intercommunal disputes in the absence of a
functioning set of pan-national political institutions.24
Dayton™s international sponsors insisted that these institutions be con-
stituted through democratic elections “ on the assumption that democratic
governmental institutions would “best produce peaceful relations” among
Bosnia™s ethnic communities.25 This Wilsonian assumption proved to be

20 21 USGAO 1997b, p. 4.
Boyd 1998, pp. 47“48.
22 Ibid., p. 5. Displaced Serbs from Sarajevo, for example, have been encouraged by Bosnian
Serb authorities to repopulate the formerly Muslim towns of Brcko and Srebrenica (Interna-
tional Commission on the Balkans 1996, p. 99).
23 24 I explore this point in greater detail in Chapter 10.
EIU 1997a, p. 5.
25 Dayton Accord, Annex 4.
Bosnia and Croatia 103

wrongheaded: As we have seen, the elections paradoxically ¬lled the new
institutions with individuals who were openly opposed to cooperating with
their ethnic adversaries. As one Sarajevo commentator noted, although elec-
tions were intended to create mechanisms that would facilitate cooperation
among Bosnia™s ethnic groups, they served instead to reaf¬rm “the ethnic
fault lines that tore the country apart.”26 Municipal elections held in Septem-
ber 1997 further reinforced the power of the most nationalist parties: Only
6 percent of local council seats were won by candidates who did not exclu-
sively represent the rights of one ethnic group.27 In recognition that little
progress had been made toward the political and economic reintegration of
Bosnia, IFOR™s mandate was extended for a further eighteen months beyond
its originally scheduled termination date in December 1996.28 In the spring
of 1998, the force™s mandate was again renewed, without any speci¬c time
Following the 1996 national elections, several international agencies “
most notably, the OSCE and NATO “ sought to diminish the in¬‚uence of
the most extreme nationalists and simultaneously to increase the power of
more moderate politicians, particularly in the Bosnian Serb entity. Because
the Bosnian Serb™s wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic, had been prohibited
from contesting the 1996 elections on the grounds that he had been in-
dicted for war crimes by the Hague tribunal, his supporters promoted the
candidacy of another hard-core Serb nationalist, Biljana Plavsic, for the pres-
idency of the Bosnian Serb entity. Plavsic was elected president, but tensions
soon emerged with Karadzic over the issue of who actually controlled the
Bosnian Serb government. International peacebuilding agencies and Western
governments encouraged Plavsic to defy Karadzic and his supporters by pro-
viding millions of dollars in ¬nancial assistance to Plavsic loyalists and by
funding aid projects in parts of Republika Srpska where Plavsic had the
strongest support, while denying similar funding to areas controlled by
In July 1997, a majority of legislators in the Bosnian Serb parliament called
for Plavsic™s dismissal. She responded by dissolving the parliament and call-
ing new elections. During the subsequent election campaign, peacebuilding
agencies took actions clearly aimed at helping Plavsic supporters win seats in
the Bosnian Serb parliament: NATO troops, for example, seized television
transmitters and police stations under the control of Karadzic supporters
and turned them over to Plavsic loyalists.30 In spite of this assistance, when

26 Soloway 1996.
27 International Crisis Group 1997, p. 8. In many Bosnian cities, municipal legislators repre-
senting nationalist parties refused to share power with their ethnic adversaries and boycotted
local assembly meetings, thereby paralyzing several municipal governments (Smith 1998).
28 The mission was given a new name at this time: Stabilization Force (SFOR).
29 30 Hedges 1997.
Wilkinson 1998.
The Peacebuilding Record

the election was held in November, candidates belonging to Plavsic™s new
political party, the Serb People™s Alliance “ which had been formed “with
Western advice and money” “ won only ¬fteen of eighty-three seats in the
Bosnian Serb parliament.31 Although their rival, Karadzic™s SDS party, lost
its majority in the parliament, it still remained the most powerful faction and
joined with another hard-line nationalist party to control a near majority of
the seats.32
Because Karadzic controlled the largest group in the assembly, Plavsic was
unable to gain parliamentary approval for her relatively moderate nominee
for prime minister of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. In order to over-
come this opposition, her supporters maneuvered to hold a vote for prime
minister within the parliament in January 1998, but only after the chamber
had been formally adjourned and Karadzic™s loyalists had left the building.33
In these circumstances of questionable legality, Dodik was elected prime min-
ister by the legislators who remained in the parliament building, all of whom
were Plavsic supporters. International peacebuilding of¬cials not only pro-
vided ¬nancial and rhetorical backing for Dodik in this nomination ¬ght,
but also openly supported the maneuvering that led to his election.34 After
the vote was held, international of¬cials publicly declared their intention
to provide ongoing political and ¬nancial assistance to the Dodik govern-
ment.35 Dodik reciprocated by pledging to implement all the provisions of
the Dayton Accord, including those governing the repatriation of refugees
and the prosecution of alleged war criminals.36
The behavior of international peacebuilders during and after the 1997
Bosnian Serb elections contrasted sharply with their behavior at the time of
the 1996 national elections. In 1996, representatives of peacebuilding agen-
cies and Western governments in Bosnia had focused their efforts on creating
conditions for a free and fair election and had made no effort to promote
particular parties or candidates over any others. The result was a landslide
victory for candidates and parties that openly opposed reconciliation among
Bosnia™s ethnic communities “ an outcome which appeared to diminish rather
than enhance the prospects for a durable peace in the country. In 1997, in-
ternational peacebuilders pursued a different strategy, encouraging a split
within the ruling Bosnian Serb party, precipitating new entity-level elections,
and providing overt ¬nancial and political assistance to the more moderate

31 32 Hedges 1998b. 33 O™Connor 1998.
34 According to Michael Kelly (1998), international of¬cials dispatched NATO troops to track
down a pro-Plavsic legislator and return him to the Bosnian Serb parliament for the vote,
deployed NATO guards around government buildings, and persuaded the World Bank to
release $65 million in reconstruction aid to the Bosnian Serb entity to bolster local support
for Dodik.
35 See, for example, the comments of Carlos Westendorp, the international community™s High
Representative in Bosnia, in Hedges 1998a.
36 Smith 1998.
Bosnia and Croatia 105

candidates in the ensuing electoral campaign. Despite this effort, moderate
candidates still fared poorly in the vote compared to the performance of
extremist nationalists loyal to Karadzic, who remained the most powerful
faction in the legislature. Several Bosnian Serb leaders responded by accus-
ing peacebuilding of¬cials of imposing the new Dodik government on their
people in what amounted to an internationally orchestrated coup.37 Their
complaints were not entirely unfounded: In seeking to bolster the power of
moderate politicians, international peacebuilding agencies effectively de¬ed
the popular will of the Bosnian Serb electorate by openly working to under-
mine the authority of extremist nationalists who had twice been elected as
the dominant faction in the Bosnian Serb legislature.
The actions of international of¬cials in Republika Srpska in the aftermath
of the 1996 national elections underscore the broader point about the po-
tentially destabilizing effects of political liberalization in postcon¬‚ict peace-
building operations. On the basis of their experience with the 1996 national
elections, peacebuilders apparently recognized that “free and fair” elections
could impede, rather than facilitate, the consolidation of a lasting peace in
Bosnia, and therefore undertook to intervene in the 1997 entity-level elec-
tions on the side of candidates who preached moderation but who lacked
suf¬cient popular support to gain power through the democratic process
alone. International of¬cials, in short, seemed to retreat from their earlier
faith in the putatively pacifying effects of political liberalization in post-
war Bosnia. Only by “rigging” the democratic process in favor of moderate
politicians did peacebuilders succeed in installing a government in Republika
Srpska that supported the full implementation of the Dayton Accord.
A new round of national elections in 1998, also organized under inter-
national auspices, ended up further reinforcing the power of the wartime
nationalist political parties. In the Muslim-Croat federation, the Muslim-
dominated SDA under its president Alija Izetbegovic, and the Croatian-
dominated HDZ under its president Ante Jelavic, increased their respective
share of the vote, with Izetbegovic™s vote climbing from 80 percent in 1996
to 86 percent in 1998.38 In Republika Srpska, Nikola Poplasen “ described as
a “hard-line nationalist” by several observers39 “ defeated the Plavsic-Dodik
government that the international community had heavily supported.40 Once
again, peacebuilders intervened to change the result of the election: Carlos
Westendorp, the senior peacebuilding of¬cial in Bosnia, removed Poplasen
from of¬ce for, in Westendorp™s words, “consistently acting to trigger insta-
bility.”41 Even with these major intrusions in the electoral process, the most
extreme parties in Bosnia retained their ¬rm grip on political power and

37 38 Woodward 1999, p. 6.
O™Connor 1998; and Wilkinson 1998.
39 40 Woodward 1999, p. 6.
Sullivan 1999; Smith 1999; Dinmore 1999; and Watson 1999.
41 Quoted in Dinmore 1999. Westendorp™s successor, Wolfgang Petritsch, similarly ¬red the
Croat member of the tripartite Bosnian presidency, Ante Jelavic, in March 2001 because
The Peacebuilding Record

“continued to propagate ethnic insecurity and separatism in order to main-
tain control over the country™s political, military, and economic resources.”42
Although peacebuilders have succeeded in preventing a resurgence of
¬ghting, the goal of the mission was to create the foundations for a stable
and lasting peace by supplanting “militant ethnic nationalism with plural-
ism.”43 However, democratization in Bosnia has had “the opposite effect,”
reinforcing the societal schisms that fueled ¬ghting in the ¬rst place.44 One
commentator put it this way in 2000:

The uni¬ed, democratic, multi-ethnic nation the international community delivered
at the Dayton peace talks was stillborn. The great powers quickly rushed the corpse
into the operating room, surrounded it with highly trained specialists and expen-
sive equipment, then stood around watching it decompose. After four years as an
international protectorate, Bosnia is more divided than ever.45

“In these circumstances,” writes another pair of observers, “prospects of
reconciliation and long-term stability are virtually non-existent.”46
If political liberalization has, in various ways, worked against the goal of
reconciling Bosnia™s formerly warring groups, what about the process of eco-
nomic liberalization? As we noted earlier, the Dayton Accord speci¬ed that
the Bosnian and entity-level governments would promote a market econ-
omy. After the Accord was signed, the World Bank and European Union
assumed joint responsibility for overseeing reconstruction efforts in Bosnia
and coordinating the activities of international donors. From December 1995
until May 1998, the economic dimensions of the peacebuilding mission fo-
cused primarily on two areas: 1) repairing war-damaged physical infrastruc-
ture, including bridges, roads, water and sewage facilities, and housing; and
2) establishing the institutional structures necessary for the management of
a market economy, including regulatory bodies to govern the banking and
private commercial sector, a central bank, and a common currency. Some
economic liberalization measures were also introduced during this period,
including a plan for the privatization of state-owned enterprises and policies
to reduce ¬scal de¬cits, which were approved by both the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund.47
More comprehensive reforms in economic policy, however, were not pur-
sued during this initial period. The IMF, in particular, preferred to wait
before implementing a full-scale structural adjustment program in Bosnia
until the institutional structures for managing the economy were in place.
After signi¬cant delays in this process caused, in part, by disagreements over

Jelavic was attempting to form an illegal “Croat National Assembly” as a new center of
power for Bosnian Croats.
42 43 Singer 2000.
USIP 2000, p. 2.
44 45 Woodard 2000.
Woodward 1999, p. 7. See also Belloni 2001, pp. 165“166.
46 47 World Bank 1996a.
Dahrendorf and Balian 1999, p. 20.
Bosnia and Croatia 107

the design of Bosnia™s common currency,48 the IMF and Bosnian authorities
agreed on the provisions of a comprehensive structural adjustment loan in
May 1998.49 At this writing, it is too early to evaluate even the preliminary
impact of structural adjustment policies on the Bosnian peace process.
Nevertheless, the experience of the former Yugoslavia in the 1980s and
early 1990s should serve as a cautionary tale for postwar Bosnia. During
this earlier period, the IMF and other international donors required the gov-
ernment of Yugoslavia to implement far-reaching austerity measures, to un-
dertake trade and price liberalization, to remove food subsidies, to devalue
the currency, and to freeze new investment in social services, infrastructure,
and government projects, among other things.50 These policies led to a sharp
rise in unemployment and increased the level of economic polarization be-
tween rich and poor regions of the country, exacerbating social tensions and
straining relations between Yugoslavia™s central government and its con-
stituent republics in the period immediately preceding the country™s violent
In many respects, the circumstances of prewar Yugoslavia and postwar
Bosnia are dissimilar: For one thing, national and entity-level governments
in Bosnia have already achieved a degree of macroeconomic stability that
the former Yugoslav government lacked. But Yugoslavia™s experience in the
1980s and early 1990s does provide an object lesson regarding the po-
tentially con¬‚ict-inducing effects of economic liberalization and structural-
adjustment policies in deeply divided societies such as Bosnia. Whether these
policies ultimately help or hinder efforts to consolidate peace in Bosnia
remains to be seen.

The peacebuilding mission in Croatia following the negotiation of the
Dayton agreement was a much smaller and shorter operation, lasting from
1995 to 1998 and involving approximately 2,800 uniformed personnel.
Fighting between Croat and Serb forces in the territory of Croatia had oc-
curred in two major phases. During the latter half of 1991, ethnic Serbs
backed by the Yugoslav National Army captured approximately one-quarter
of Croatia™s territory, including the lands of Eastern and Western Slavonia
and the Krajina where ethnic Serbs had lived for centuries. From early 1992
until mid-1995, while ¬ghting in Bosnia raged, the front lines in the Croatian
con¬‚ict remained largely unchanged, and a UN-brokered cease-¬re remained
in force under the supervision of UNPROFOR. In May 1995, however, the

48 49 IMF 1998.
International Crisis Group 1997, p. 14.
50 Woodward 1995, pp. 49“51.
51 Woodward 1995, pp. 15“17, 51, 73, 127 and 383; Daalder 1996, p. 38; and Orford 1997,
pp. 454“456.
The Peacebuilding Record

Croatian army began a series of attacks on Serb positions in Croatia, culmi-
nating in “Operation Storm,” a large-scale assault in Western Slavonia and
the Krajina that routed Serb forces and sparked a massive ¬‚ight of ethnic
Serb civilians into neighboring Bosnia and Serbia proper.
At the Dayton peace conference in November 1995, Slobodan Milosevic
effectively abandoned Serbia™s claims to those parts of Croatia that had long-
standing ethnic Serb populations and indicated that he was willing to support
the transfer of territories that were still in ethnic Serb hands to Croatia “
notably, the region of Eastern Slavonia. Deprived of military and politi-
cal support from Belgrade, local Serb leaders in Eastern Slavonia agreed
to give up control of the territory to the Croatian government, and to do
so under the auspices of a new UN mission, the United Nations Transi-
tional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium
UNTAES began its operations in January 1996 (at the same time that
the NATO-led mission arrived in Bosnia to begin implementing the Dayton
peace accords). The operation had both a military and civilian component.
The military component was to supervise the demilitarization of the region;
monitor the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to
their homes of origin; and help to maintain peace and security. The civilian
component set out to establish a temporary police force; develop a training
program and oversee its implementation; administer the government of the
territory on a temporary basis; facilitate the return of refugees; and organize
elections, assist in their conduct, and certify the results.53 Despite isolated
shootings, the process of transferring control of Eastern Slavonia to the Croa-
tian government went forward with few major setbacks.54 Demilitarization
was completed on June 20, 1996, and a transitional police force was estab-
lished a few days later.55 UNTAES conducted local and regional elections in
April 1997, leading to the formation of a temporary power-sharing arrange-
ment among the victorious parties.56
The mission terminated on January 15, 1998, having achieved most of
the elements of its mandate, including the return of the territory to Croa-
tian jurisdiction.57 UNTAES was replaced by a smaller UN civilian mis-
sion whose job was to monitor the performance of the Croatian police.58 In

52 Another UN mission “ UNMOP “ was authorized to oversee the demilitarization of the
Prevlaka Peninsula.
53 United Nations Security Council resolution 1037 (January 15, 1996).
54 “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Transitional Administration for
Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium,” S/1997/953 (December 4, 1997).
55 Ibid.
56 “Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Croatia,” S/1997/487 (June 23, 1997).
57 Simunovi´ 1999, pp. 126“142.
58 The UN Civilian Peace Support Group (UNPSG), comprised of 180 international police
of¬cers plus administrative staff.
Bosnia and Croatia 109

October 1998, this UN mission handed over its responsibilities to the OSCE,
which subsequently monitored Croatia-wide elections in January and Febru-
ary 2000, including areas of the country, such as Eastern Slavonia, that had
been affected by the war.
In contrast to those in Bosnia, postcon¬‚ict elections in Croatia have not re-
inforced the political power of the most nationalist elements of the society;
on the contrary, voters in the 2000 elections rejected the ruling Croatian
Democratic Union (HDZ), the party of the late president Franjo Tudjman.59
Tudjman and the HDZ had unapologetically promoted the interests of Croat
nationalists, and came under sharp international criticism in the post-Dayton
period for failing to meet international commitments on the protection of
human rights and democratic standards “ in particular, for failing to provide
the remaining ethnic Serb residents of Croatia with the full rights and pro-
tections of Croatian citizenship. Popular rejection of the HDZ was, there-
fore, “little short of a quiet revolution” because the newly elected regime
explicitly eschewed Tudjman™s parochial nationalism and has, among other
things, worked to eliminate legislative provisions that discriminate against
non-Croat residents of the country.60 The new government, in effect, es-
poused a multiethnic conception of Croatian citizenship and sought to en-
courage the return of Serb refugees who ¬‚ed the country during the war.61
While ethnic Serbs continue to be subject to sporadic attacks and intim-
idation, the process of political liberalization in Croatia since the Dayton
peace settlement has, at this writing, yielded a government that appears to
be committed to creating conditions for the peaceful reconciliation of Serbs
and Croats in the country. Simply put, the people of Croatia used the electoral
mechanism to put the past behind them by voting for the most prominent
opponents of narrow nationalism.62
At ¬rst glance, this outcome lends support to the Wilsonian approach
to postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding, but closer analysis suggests that conditions in
Croatia were atypical of most war-shattered states: One of the two parties
that fought the war in Croatia “ namely, the Serbian side “ was for practical
purposes no longer present in the country when the war ended. Of course,
tens of thousands of ethnic Serb civilians were still living in Croatia when the
Dayton Accord was signed in November 1995, and one pocket of territory “
Eastern Slavonia “ was effectively under the control of ethnic Serbs. But
the prewar population of Croatia had included approximately six hundred
thousand Serb residents, who were backed during the war by the power
of the Yugoslav National Army. By the end of the con¬‚ict, however, well
over half of Serb residents had ¬‚ed Croatia,63 and the Yugoslav army (and

59 60 Judah 2000. 61 Denitch 2000.
Tudjman died in of¬ce in 1999.
62 Strobel 2000, p. 39.
63 The UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports more than 340,000 refugees from Croatia
living in Bosnia and Yugoslavia at the end of 2000, most of whom were ethnic Serbs. This
The Peacebuilding Record

its leaders in Serbia proper) was no longer willing to provide support to
the Serbs still remaining in Croatia. With a greatly diminished (and elderly)
Serb population remaining in Croatia, and the government of Yugoslavia no
longer offering military or political aid, the Serbian “side” in the Croatian
civil war had, in effect, quit the country.
These conditions appeared to reduce the danger that political liberaliza-
tion would promote, rather than moderate, ethnic tensions. The residual
Serbian community in Croatia did not pose a threat to the majority pop-
ulation within the country (unlike the situation in Bosnia, where Croats,
Muslims, and Serbs continued to exist as vital communities and political
actors). Under these conditions, voting for moderate candidates may have
been more likely to occur. Although there was no shortage of politicians
making ethnic nationalist and xenophobic appeals to the Croatian elec-
torate during the 2000 balloting, including some who accused moderates
of betraying the “heroes of the Homeland War,”64 the de facto departure
of one of the formerly warring parties in Croatia “ the Serbs “ seems to
have reduced the political traction of ethnic nationalism. As Milton Esman
writes, “the most likely cause of ethnic mobilization is a serious threat
to the vital interests or established expectations of an ethnic community,
to its political position, cultural rights, livelihood, or neighborhood.”65 In
Croatia, the virtual elimination of the Serbian community as a serious po-
litical force removed the immediate threat to Croatian cultural security and
may help to explain why political liberalization did not seem to exacer-
bate divisions and tensions among formerly warring parties, as happened in
As we will see, however, the propitious conditions in Croatia for peace-
through-democratization were relatively uncommon among the countries
that hosted postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding operations in the 1990s “ most of
which remained home to warring parties that only recently laid down
their weapons. In this sense, the task of peacebuilding in Croatia was rel-
atively easy compared to elsewhere, and the perils of democratization less

Both the Bosnia and Croatia missions were “successful” in the sense that
¬ghting has not resumed in either country. Given the brutality of the con-
¬‚ict that preceded these missions “ which led to the deaths of an estimated
250,000 people in Bosnia alone “ the persistence of relative peace must be

number does not include internally displaced Serbs who remained within the borders of
Croatia. See UNHCR 2001.
64 65 Esman 1990.
Judah 2000.
Bosnia and Croatia 111

considered a major accomplishment. Nevertheless, the question at hand is
whether the liberalization process promoted a stable and lasting peace in
these states. In the case of Croatia, the prospect of lasting peace seems
favorable; the internationally sponsored democratization yielded a govern-
ment that seems committed to implementing the Dayton Accord in full. Yet
the circumstances of the Croatia mission may have been exceptional: One
of the parties to the preceding con¬‚ict was largely eliminated as its exter-
nal sponsor, Belgrade, abandoned support for the ethnic Serb community
in Croatia “ a community whose numbers were decimated when hundreds
of thousands were “cleansed” from the territory in the latter stages of the
war. By contrast, the warring parties and communities in Bosnia remained
in place at the end of the war “ each perceiving the other as a threat “ and
democratization in Bosnia reinforced the power of the most extremist, na-
tionalist parties, who continued to obstruct the implementation of measures
in the Dayton Accord that were intended to promote political moderation
and a more lasting reconciliation of the formerly warring groups.

Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala
Reproducing the Sources of Con¬‚ict

Central America has historically suffered from chronic civil violence, insur-
gencies, coups, and military dictatorships.1 During the latter stages of the
Cold War, armed revolutionary movements sought to overthrow the govern-
ments of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, a group of
dissidents backed by the United States and known as Contras fought an insur-
gency campaign against the left-leaning Sandinista government in Managua
throughout the 1980s. In El Salvador, the Farabundo Mart´ Liberation Front
(FLMN) launched a guerrilla war against the government in 1981 that cost
an estimated seventy-¬ve thousand lives and displaced roughly one-quarter
of the country™s population.2 In Guatemala, when revolutionary movements
challenged the military government in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the
Guatemalan regime responded with a brutal counterinsurgency effort that
lasted into the early 1990s, mainly targeting indigenous Mayan commu-
nities in which many revolutionaries, including the major rebel group, the
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), were based.
Central American leaders met on several occasions during the 1980s to
discuss possible solutions to these con¬‚icts.3 At one such meeting “ on Au-
gust 7, 1987 in Esquipulas, Guatemala “ the presidents of Guatemala, El
Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica formally endorsed a peace
plan presented by the Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias, which called
for a cease-¬re, national reconciliation, amnesty, democratization, termina-
tion of external aid to insurgent movements, and free elections.4 This pact,
widely known as the Esquipulas Accord, ultimately provided the basis for the
peaceful settlement of con¬‚icts in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala,

1 An earlier version of this chapter appeared as Paris 2002b.
2 Karl 1992, p. 150; and United Nations 1996c, p. 195.
3 For a description of these efforts, see Child 1992; and Chernick 1996.
4 This agreement, which is reproduced in Child 1992, appendix 4, pp. 178“184, was a slightly
modi¬ed version of the plan that Arias had presented to the meeting.

Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 113

which were negotiated with the help of international mediators, including
the United Nations. Nicaragua was the ¬rst to reach a settlement in 1989,
followed by El Salvador in 1992 and Guatemala in 1996. All three countries
subsequently hosted international peacebuilding operations that assisted in
implementing these agreements.
By the early twenty-¬rst century, many commentators were concluding
that these missions had been largely successful. Indeed, the armed con¬‚icts
that had plagued Central America during the 1980s were now over, and
the formerly warring parties were pursuing their interests through electoral
politics, rather than by force of arms, in all three countries. These are sig-
ni¬cant accomplishments both for the local parties and for the international
peacebuilders who helped them. As UN Secretary-General Ko¬ Annan wrote
regarding El Salvador in 1997:

El Salvador has largely been demilitarized: the armed structure of [the] FMLN has
disappeared and its combatants have been reintegrated into civilian life; and the
armed forces have been reduced and have respected the profound changes in their
nature and role called for by the peace accords. But the most notable development
has been that the peace process has also allowed for the opening up of space for
democratic participation. A climate of tolerance prevails today, unlike any the country
has known before. Since the signing of the peace agreements, no national sector has
taken refuge in or supported violence as a form of political action.5

In Nicaragua and Guatemala, too, guerrilla wars have ended and the
formerly warring parties appear to be committed to peaceful democratic
This largely favorable outcome, and the fact that all three peacebuilding
missions promoted the formula of peace through political and economic lib-
eralization, suggest that the Wilsonian approach to postcon¬‚ict peacebuild-
ing scored important successes in Central America. Once again, however,
this assessment depends a great deal on the operative de¬nition of “success”
in peacebuilding. If the goal of peacebuilding is to address the underlying
causes of con¬‚ict and establish the conditions for a stable and lasting peace,
or a peace that is likely to endure beyond the departure of the peacebuilders
themselves and into the foreseeable future, then there is in fact reason to
doubt the success of peacebuilding efforts in Central America. The liberal
economic policies pursued by the governments of Nicaragua, El Salvador,
and Guatemala in the postcon¬‚ict period have enriched a very small portion
of their populations and left the most vulnerable sectors relatively untouched
or even worse off. This inequality between the impoverished majority and the
af¬‚uent minority has been the most important cause of the region™s recurring
bouts of revolutionary violence in the past, and peacebuilding agencies have
done little to remedy the problem. On the contrary, economic liberalization

5 Quoted in Canas and Dada 1999, p. 69.
The Peacebuilding Record

was a central prescription of international peacebuilding in these countries.
Thus, while the peacebuilding operations in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and
Guatemala have succeeded in some respects, they have also helped to repro-
duce the very conditions that contributed to the outbreak of ¬ghting in the
¬rst place, which is not a formula for stable and lasting peace.
On balance, then, the Central American cases offer a mixed verdict for
Wilsonianism. On the one hand, the holding of internationally monitored
elections appears to have encouraged former combatants to think that peace-
ful politics was a viable alternative to armed struggle. Unlike in Angola and
Rwanda, political liberalization in Central America has not sparked a resur-
gence of the war that the elections were intended to help terminate. Nor, as
in Bosnia, has political liberalization reinforced the power of extremists who
have little interest in peaceful compromise. On the other hand, however, the
Central American cases challenge a different dimension of Wilsonianism: the
notion that economic liberalization helps to promote the consolidation of
peace in war-shattered states. Although it is still too early to reach de¬nitive
conclusions, the process of economic liberalization in Nicaragua, El Salvador,
and Guatemala appears to have weakened the prospects for a stable and last-
ing peace in these countries. In this sense, these cases seem to reveal further
problems in the Wilsonian assumptions of post“Cold War peacebuilding.

In the late nineteenth century, local elites in Nicaragua and other Central
American states responded to the rising international demand for certain
primary products, including coffee, by carrying out a series of reforms in the
countryside, which was (and remains) populated primarily by mestizo peas-
ants. The reforms legally transformed communally held indigenous proper-
ties into “unoccupied” territory that could be purchased by wealthy agricul-
tural elites who wished to produce lucrative export commodities. Not only
were peasant farmers displaced from the land they cultivated, but new laws
also prohibited the growing of plantain, the staple food of the peasantry, and
made “vagrancy” punishable by forced labor in productive enterprises (in-
cluding the giant coffee plantations that often replaced indigenous farms).6
Indian communities rebelled against this treatment, most notably in the 1881
War of the Comuneros, and waged a guerrilla war against the Nicaraguan
government (and U.S. troops) in the 1920s and 1930s, as policies supporting
the agro-export economy continued to favor the existing elite and disadvan-
tage the rural peasantry.
Anastasio Somoza Garc´a became the country™s autocratic president after
rigged elections in 1936 and ruled until his assassination in 1956, and his
sons continued the Somoza family dictatorship until 1979. Throughout this

6 Walker 1997, p. 2.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 115

period, new lands were expropriated from Indian farmers for mass produc-
tion of export commodities, including cotton in the 1950s. The Somoza fam-
ily, its supporters, and the agricultural elite prospered, but living conditions in
the countryside remained dismal: While the size of the rural population in-
creased, the amount of food produced for domestic consumption declined
in absolute terms as more and more land was dedicated to the cultivation
of export goods. Widespread perceptions of the regime as both exploita-
tive and corrupt fueled the country™s insurgency, whose members called
themselves Sandinistas (after Augusto C´ sar Sandino, a guerrilla leader who
was assassinated in 1934). Following a series of attacks in the late 1970s,
Sandinista guerrilla forces defeated the Nicaraguan army in 1979, marched
into Managua, and installed a new regime, which immediately undertook
agrarian reforms by creating state-owned and communally owned farms,
in part using assets that had been abandoned by supporters of the former
regime who ¬‚ed the country.
The Sandinista government adopted other policies aimed at alleviating
the hardships of the majority of poor Nicaraguans, including wage increases,
food price subsidies, and expanded public services in health, welfare, and ed-
ucation.7 In addition to new spending on social services, the government also
conducted an expensive military campaign against a new armed opposition
group known as the Contras, who were backed by the United States, and who
sought to topple the Sandinista regime by launching raids from their bases
in neighboring Honduras. By 1985, over half of the national budget was de-
voted to military spending alone.8 While government expenditures mounted
throughout the 1980s, tax revenues fell precipitously, not only because do-
mestic and foreign investors were suspicious of the Sandinista regime™s Marx-
ist leanings, but also because the U.S. government largely succeeded in cutting
off foreign economic aid to Nicaragua by blocking loans from international
lending agencies, such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development
Bank.9 The combination of rising government expenditures and falling tax
revenues generated an economic crisis that the Nicaraguan regime initially
attempted to manage by printing more money “ a policy that further com-
pounded the country™s economic crisis by triggering high rates of in¬‚ation,
which peaked at over 33,000 percent in 1988.10
Under the Esquipulas process, the Nicaraguan government and the Contra
rebels agreed on a peace settlement in 1989 that included the demobilization
of the Contras and the holding of free and fair democratic elections.11 Central
American presidents quickly endorsed the agreement and called on both the
UN and the Organization of American States to oversee its implementation.12

7 8 Walker 1991, p. 84. 9 Ibid., p. 81.
Booth and Walker 1999, p. 88.
10 Ibid., p. 52.
11 For a description of the negotiations that ended Nicaragua™s civil war, see Child 1992.
12 Child 1992, pp. 63“69; Chernick 1996, p. 284.
The Peacebuilding Record

A joint UN-OAS commission subsequently reviewed Nicaragua™s plans for
elections (including provisions to guarantee freedom of association and ex-
pression) and concluded that the plans conformed with basic liberal demo-
cratic norms.13 Two new peacebuilding operations were then launched: ¬rst,
the UN Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA), which monitored
international frontiers and veri¬ed the cessation of cross-border aid to irreg-
ular forces and insurrection movements in the region;14 and second, the UN
Observer Group for the Veri¬cation of Elections in Nicaragua, which was
sent to oversee the country™s ¬rst postcon¬‚ict election and to ensure that the
vote was conducted in a free and fair manner.15
The election took place in February 1990 under international supervision.
Two Nicaraguan political parties were leading contenders: the incumbent
Sandinista party led by President Daniel Ortega and a coalition of opposi-
tion groups led by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. Despite minor violence,
the elections were “universally regarded as free and fair.”16 To the surprise
and dismay of the Sandinista government, the Chamorro opposition group-
ing emerged with over 50 percent of the popular vote and a majority of
seats in the National Assembly.17 For the ¬rst time in Nicaragua™s history, a
governing party peacefully handed over power to its democratically elected
The new government quickly implemented a sweeping program of eco-
nomic liberalization and reform, including extensive layoffs of government
employees, privatization of most state-owned enterprises, the lowering of im-
port barriers, reductions in social spending, elimination of price controls and
subsidies, and liberalization of the ¬nancial and banking sector, among other
things.18 The Sandinistas had begun to liberalize the Nicaraguan economy
during their ¬nal years in power as a response to the country™s economic cri-
sis, but their reform efforts lacked the full support of the international ¬nan-
cial institutions and foundered thanks, in part, to lack of external funding.19
The Chamorro administration, which was more committed to economic
liberalization than the Sandinistas, intensi¬ed and accelerated the deregu-
lation of Nicaragua™s economy at the behest of the International Monetary

13 Child 1992, p. 75.
14 ONUCA was later also called upon to police ¬ve “security zones” within Nicaragua where
Contras were disarmed and demobilized. On the expansion of ONUCA™s mandate, see UN
1996b, pp. 416“417. For an analysis of the ONUCA mission, see Smith and Durch 1993. In
addition to ONUCA, the UN and OAS also created an International Support and Veri¬ca-
tion Commission (ICVN), which facilitated and oversaw demobilization, repatriation, and
relocation of Contras from their camps in Honduras.
15 “Report of the Secretary-General,” UN document A/46/609 (November 19, 1991).
16 Moreno 1994, p. 140. See also Williams 1990; and Walker 1997.
17 Chamorro™s coalition won 51 of 92 seats, the Sandinistas won 39 seats, and two independent
opposition parties won 1 seat each.
18 Gibson 1993, p. 445; DGAP 1995; Spalding 1996, p. 20; and World Bank 1996b, p. 367.
19 Aravena 1996.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 117

Fund, World Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development,
which designed a detailed stabilization and structural adjustment program
for the country and made their ¬nancial support contingent on Managua™s
compliance with the program.20 While the new government generally sup-
ported these policies, in fact the Chamorro regime had little choice but to
accept the conditions established by major international donors in order to
gain access to foreign resources.21
The economic reforms succeeded in reducing in¬‚ation to 12 percent in
1994 “ a “remarkable success,” in the estimation of the World Bank.22 This
success, however, came at a cost. The austerity measures that the govern-
ment implemented to control in¬‚ation, and related reforms aimed at dereg-
ulating the country™s economy, deepened the distributional inequalities in
Nicaraguan society and contributed to an absolute decline in living condi-
tions for many “ if not most “ Nicaraguans. In early 1995, for example, the
unemployment rate was double that of 1990 and ten times that of 1984, due
partly to the elimination of some thirty thousand public sector nonmilitary
jobs from 1990 to 1994, and partly to the general economic contraction that
was a side effect of efforts to control in¬‚ation in the early 1990s.23 Although
economic growth resumed in the mid-1990s, the problem of unemployment
and underemployment in Nicaragua improved little between 1994 to 1998,
with roughly half of the country™s workers still unemployed or underem-
ployed.24 The situation was particularly grave in the countryside, where
some observers estimated that as much as 80 percent of the economically
active population was out of work.25
Reductions in redistributive social spending and massive public-sector
layoffs “ all part of the internationally mandated economic restructuring
program “ also contributed more generally to a widening of the gap in living
conditions between rich and poor, even after the return of economic growth
in the mid-1990s. One commonly used measure of income inequality is the
so-called Gini index, which is scaled from a minimum of zero to a maximum
of one, with zero representing no inequality and one representing a maximum
possible degree of inequality. The Gini index for Nicaragua increased from
0.5669 in 1993 to 0.6024 in 1998, indicating that the income gap between
the richest and poorest Nicaraguans widened during this period.26 Indeed,
between 1992 and 1997, while Nicaraguans involved in the newly dereg-
ulated export and ¬nancial sectors generally prospered, overall per capita
income in the country fell from $920 to $340, meaning that most of the

20 21 Arana 1997, p. 83; and Neira 1999.
Robinson 1997, p. 34.
22 World Bank 1996b, p. 367.
23 In early 1995, the rate of unemployment was 20.2% of the economically active population,
while the combined rate of unemployment and underemployment was 53.9% (Arana 1997,
p. 84). See also EIU 1997c, pp. 31, 62.
24 25 Jonakin 1997, p. 106.
MacDonald 1998; EIU 1999b, p. 21.
26 Sz´ kely and Hilgert 1999, p. 34.
The Peacebuilding Record

country™s inhabitants became poorer.27 Another telling statistic is that the
daily caloric intake of the average Nicaraguan also decreased between 1990
and 1998 “ in a country where more than one-third of the urban population
(which is generally better off than the rural population) already lacked the
personal income to cover the cost of a basic “food basket.”28 While there
were some signs of improvement in the area of health care,29 it seems that the
living conditions of most Nicaraguans either remained stagnant or worsened
during the 1990s, and that the income gap between the rich minority and
poor majority became even more pronounced than before.
In sum, economic adjustment and liberalization measures designed by
the international ¬nancial institutions did help to restore ¬scal balance and
economic stability to Nicaragua, but the social costs of these adjustments
appeared to be signi¬cant. As the resident representative of the UN De-
velopment Program in Nicaragua, Carmelo Angulo, communicated to his
colleagues in the International Monetary Fund in 1997, the internationally
sponsored economic reform program “has not succeeded in correcting the
social imbalances,” but instead has served “to aggravate the living conditions
of a majority of the population.”30
The deterioration of living conditions in postwar Nicaragua appeared to
fuel an increase in criminal and gang-related violence. Armed bands roaming
the countryside were responsible for an estimated one thousand deaths and
six hundred kidnappings between 1990 and 1996,31 while the number of re-
ported homicides in the country continued to increase in the latter part of the
decade.32 Even the army chief, charged with controlling this violence, linked
the problem to the pervasiveness of poverty and unemployment.33 Another
factor contributing to the violence was the presence of large numbers of ex-
combatants who had few legitimate economic opportunities but ready access
to automatic weapons. Former ¬ghters from both sides in the civil war had
been promised access to land, credit, and other resources, but few received
these bene¬ts, in part because of continuing con¬‚icts over land titles, and
because the Nicaraguan government was under pressure from international
¬nancial agencies to reduce spending.34 Put another way, government auster-
ity measures not only contributed to conditions of economic distress in the

27 28 EIU 1999b, p. 21; IADB 2001a.
Everingham 1998, p. 251.
29 Despite real decreases in spending on health care, life expectancy increased over the decade,
infant mortality decreased, more people had access to potable water, and the number of
cholera cases fell from more than 3,000 in 1992 to just over 500 in 1999. On the other
hand, the incidence of dengue fever, tuberculosis, and intestinal infections has increased, as
has the rate of maternal mortality and the percentage of babies born with low birth weight.
See UNDP 2000b.
30 Quoted in Env´o 1997a, p. 6.
31 Nicaraguan government statistics, cited in Reuters 1997b.
32 33 Quoted in Reuters 1997b.
World Health Organization 2003; Interpol 2003.
34 Dunkerly 1994, p. 58.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 119

countryside but also imposed limits on the ability of Nicaraguan authorities
to fund peacebuilding programs, such as efforts to reintegrate ex-combatants
into productive civilian life. Many of these ex-¬ghters subsequently joined
criminal bands, primarily in the more remote, northwestern part of the coun-
try.35 By mid-1993, an estimated 1,200 former combatants from both sides
were operating in Nicaragua, along with an unknown number of ordinary
criminals who had no previous connection to military or guerrilla groups.36
These so-called rearmados or “rearmed ones” conducted sporadic attacks
on government security forces and terrorized civilians in the countryside
throughout the 1990s.37 Urban areas also experienced a rapid increase in
criminal violence, due largely to the spread of youth gangs “ a phenomenon
unknown even during the country™s most violent periods of civil war, and ap-
parently related to increases in youth unemployment and urban poverty.38
Police statistics indicate that the number of crimes reported in the capital
city, Managua, increased by 100 percent between 1989 and 1996,39 while
anecdotal accounts suggest that the city™s crime problem grew even worse
between 1996 and 2002.40
All of these developments cast doubt on the durability of peace in
Nicaragua, for several reasons. First, while the Sandinistas have behaved
as a loyal opposition since they lost power in 1990 (in the sense that they
remain committed to operating within the constitutional framework, rather
than seeking to achieve power by other means), the upsurge of criminal
violence in postwar Nicaragua, including “assassinations of former Con-
tras and Sandinistas, politically inspired kidnappings, takeovers of towns,
public buildings and roads, armed attacks against security forces, and land
invasions,” have made it dif¬cult to conclude that the country is now “at
peace,” even if the period of organized insurrection is over.41
Second, the socioeconomic conditions that fueled previous periods of
organized revolutionary violence in Nicaragua “ namely, the existence of
large and growing distributional inequalities between the largely rural peas-
antry and the wealthy elite “ have not been remedied in the postwar pe-
riod. Indeed, as we have seen, by some measures living conditions for most
Nicaraguans have worsened and the gap between rich and poor has widened.

35 Child 1992, pp. 120“127. As Spalding (1996, p. 19) notes, this phenomenon was not limited
to former Contras but included ex-soldiers of the Sandinista military: “Economic frustra-
tion, combined with political discontent, pulled some ex-soldiers back into armed groups as
36 37 Rogers 2001.
Dye et al. 1995, p. 40.
38 McMohan 1996. An estimated 55% of Nicaragua™s youth between the ages of fourteen and
twenty-four do not work or attend school (EIU 1996b). The independent research insti-
tute Nitlapan-UCA published a report concluding that 36.6% of the urban population was
“severely impoverished,” meaning that their minimum caloric needs could not be met, even
if all their income were to go for food (EIU 1997c, p. 31).
39 40 Rodgers 2002. 41 Armony 1997, p. 205.
Reuters 1996 (October 8).
The Peacebuilding Record

Further, reductions in subsidies to small-scale farmers and the privatization of
state-owned farms have also led to a restrati¬cation of land ownership pat-
terns in the countryside, with large estate owners once again acquiring farm-
land at the expense of peasant farmers.42 Given that these are issues that
drove large numbers of ordinary Nicaraguans to support the violent over-
throw of the Somoza regime in the ¬rst place, the reconcentration of wealth
in postwar Nicaragua seems to be a recipe for renewed con¬‚ict, not lasting
Third, unless socioeconomic conditions improve for the majority of
Nicaraguans, popular anger over the perceived inaction of the government in
the face of economic distress “ anger that has been visible and widespread “
may undermine support for the country™s new liberal democratic constitu-
tion, along with the institutions of electoral democracy.43 In the words of
then“UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, “The major threat to the demo-
cratic system [in Nicaragua] is not political con¬‚ict, but the deterioration
of living conditions and the consequent loss of faith in democracy and its
More generally, the economic aspects of postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding in
Nicaragua appear to challenge the notion that economic liberalization fos-
ters peace in states that are just emerging from civil wars. Proponents of eco-
nomic liberalization and orthodox structural adjustment in war-shattered
states argue that these reforms are necessary in order to create the condi-
tions for economic growth, which can help to reinforce a fragile peace by
increasing incomes and living standards in formerly warring states. What
these proponents often overlook or underemphasize, however, is that the
strategy of promoting growth through economic liberalization tends to ex-
acerbate distributional inequalities, which in the case of Nicaragua is a pre-
scription for social unrest, given the historic causes of con¬‚ict in the country.
As Argentine political scientist Carlos Vilas writes, the postcon¬‚ict economic
liberalization policies pursued in Nicaragua, including deregulation and re-
ductions in social spending, have offered “the same old mode of development
against whose effects peasants, workers, and middle sectors rebelled more
than twenty years ago, sparking a revolutionary cycle that is coming to a
close only now.”45 In other words, a strategy of rapid marketization is most
likely to promote a type of economic growth whose bene¬ts are concentrated
in a very small segment of the population.
It is precisely this type of inequitable growth that has historically fu-
eled revolutionary violence in the country. During the Somoza years of the
1960s and early 1970s, for example, overall economic growth statistics in
Nicaragua were impressive: Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose

42 Jonakin 1997.
43 Vilas 1995b, p. 186; Vickers 1995, p. 57; Isbester 1996; and Spalding 1996, pp. 20“22.
44 45 Vilas 1995b, p. 186.
Quoted in DGAP 1995.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala 121

an average of almost 3.9 percent for the decade 1962“1971, and an average
of 2.3 percent between 1972 and 1976, while real GDP per capita rose by no
less than 54 percent between 1960 and 1970.46 Yet it was partly because so
few bene¬ts of this new economic activity found their way into the pockets
of poorer Nicaraguans that popular support for the Sandinista insurrection
gathered strength. Economic growth alone is not enough to promote a sta-
ble and lasting peace in Nicaragua; what is needed is balanced, or equitable,
growth to address the underlying sources of con¬‚ict.47
Thus, the experience of peacebuilding to date in Nicaragua yields mixed
results. On the one hand, democratization efforts have proceeded relatively
smoothly. New national elections were held in 1996 and 2001, and once
again opposition parties accepted their electoral loss in stride.48 Further,
the process of political liberalization has not sparked renewed ¬ghting in
Nicaragua, as it did in Rwanda and Angola; nor has this process reinforced
the power of the most recalcitrant and least peace-oriented local parties, as
it has done in Bosnia. But the prevailing doctrine of peacebuilding presup-
poses that political and economic liberalization together help to foster peace
in war-shattered states “ a presumption that the Nicaraguan case does not
seem to support, given the apparently destabilizing effects of rapid economic


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