More than two hundred wars have been fought in the past halfcentury. Nearly all have been civil wars, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than thirty civil wars were being fought. The “rules” of interstate war do not apply; each atrocity provokes retribution, and civil war takes on a brutal dynamic of its own. Civil War, Civil Peace challenges common but simplistic explanations of war, including greed, gender, and long-standing religious or ethnic hatreds, which ignore that these groups have lived together in peace for centuries.
When a cease-fire is arranged, aid workers, military personnel, diplomats, and others pour in from the United States, Europe, and international agencies. Outside help is essential after a war, but too often, well-intentioned interveners do more harm than good. A half of civil wars have resumed after failed peace agreements.
Each war is different, and there can be no intervention handbook or best practices guide. Aimed at practitioners and policy makers, and essential reading for students of war, humanitarian intervention, peace building, and development, Civil War, Civil Peace provides a comprehensive examination of how interventions can be improved through a better understanding of the roots of war and of the grievances and interests that fueled the war.
Helen Yanacopulos has worked in finance in both the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors. Her writing appears frequently in the Journal for International Development. She has been teaching at the Open University since 2000.
Joseph Hanlon is a writer on southern Africa. He is a frequent contributor to the Review of African Political Economy and author of Peace without Profit and Beggar Your Neighbours and Mozambique: Who Calls the Shots?
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