The disintegration of the SFRY, which had its roots in the late 1970s and 1980s (Delevic, 1998), started with the decision of the Slovenian and Croat governments in 1990…
The disintegration of the SFRY, which had its roots in the late 1970s and 1980s (Delevic, 1998), started with the decision of the Slovenian and Croat governments in 1990 to seek independence from Belgrade. The event triggering the outbreak of war in Slovenia was the takeover of Yugoslav custom houses by the Slovenia government, which prompted the YPA to intervene militarily, pitting a well-armed conventional army against the security forces of a nascent state, largely consisting of milita-style Territorial Defense Units (Lucic & Lynch, 1996, pp. 183–185). The EC and the United States moved quickly to impose an arms embargo against Yugoslavia following the military escalation of the crisis in June 1991. This was followed by resolution 713 of the UNSC (1991) imposing a “general and complete embargo on the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia” on 25 September 1991. During this early stage of the conflict, there was agreement among the key international actors (USA, Russia and the EU) that the conflict in Yugoslavia had to be contained and that the breakup of the federal republic should be avoided at all costs, not least because it would set a dangerous precedent for other parts of Eastern Europe. Some permanent members of the Security Council (such as France, Russia and the United Kingdom) sympathized with the Serbian position vis-à-vis the break-away republics and while the decision to apply the arms embargo on Yugoslavia as a whole was justified by the fact that none of the republics had been recognized as a subject of international law, policymakers must have been aware that they were putting Slovenia and Croatia at a military disadvantage through this decision (Lucic & Lynch, 1996, pp. 295–300).
Collective sanctions have long been a contested instrument of international politics, especially since 1990, when United States and large power use of the technique increased to the point where Richard Haass declared that a “sanctions epidemic” had emerged (Haass & O'Sullivan, 1999). Regional bodies, most notably by the European Union (EU), paralleled this trend through a dramatic increase in their own resort to sanctions (Kreutz, 2005). The imposition of sanctions by the United Nations (UN) reached the point that, in comparison to pre-1989 behavior, the 1990s were labeled “the sanctions decade” (Cortright & Lopez, 2000).
The drama of Angola's recent history must be seen against the backdrop of political developments in Southern Africa, which had a direct impact on the turn of events in the…
The drama of Angola's recent history must be seen against the backdrop of political developments in Southern Africa, which had a direct impact on the turn of events in the civil war. During the 1960s and 1970s, the conflict was widely regarded as a prominent example of a liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial regime. In contrast, the bitter battle in the 1980s and early 1990s between UNITA and the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – MPLA), the party which has dominated the government in Luanda since independence, was seen as a proxy war between the superpowers over the control of a key African state. During the final phase of the conflict, from the mid-1990s to early 2002, Angola was viewed as a quintessential resource conflict, a power play over access to valuable commodities such as diamonds and crude oil (Global Witness, 1998; Global Witness, 1999). All these categorizations – which reflect the dominant themes in conflict analyses of their time – fall somewhat short of grasping the complex reality of the Angolan conflict. Nevertheless, the shifting position of much of the industrialized world – particularly of the United States at the end of the Cold War – goes a long way toward explaining how the FAA managed, during the mid-1990s, to turn a decade-long military stalemate on the battlefield into a decisive victory. Looking at the geo-strategic picture also helps to explain why it took the comprehensive sanctions regime against UNITA so long to become effective in cutting the supply lines for arms, ammunition, and fuel.
Marc von Boemcken is a senior researcher at the Bonn International Center for Conversion, Germany. His areas of expertise include the international arms trade as well as the privatization of security provision.