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Efforts to reform security making Iraq 'less secure': UN experts

Centralised, 'oppressive' power encourages terrorism and criminals

United Nations University

International efforts to restore stability to Iraq are having the opposite effect, say the editors of a new UN book on the reform of the security sectors in post-conflict societies.

"Instead of stabilizing places like Iraq, international efforts to centralise power are creating a more fragile security environment than ever before," says Dr. Albrecht Schnabel, a co-editor of the book "Security Sector Reform and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding" and a former researcher with United Nations University.

Occupying powers and International organisations such as the United Nations are trying to help a number of post-conflict societies restore law and order by reforming their military, police, intelligence services and judiciaries. The book, published by United Nations University Press in February, draws on experiences in the post-conflict environments of Macedonia, Bosnia, Russia, Georgia, Northern Ireland, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia, Chile, Haiti, and the African continent.

The editors warn that the anti-terrorism agenda is centralising power and fostering disruptive elements. The terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001 and the US-led international war on terrorism have had a major impact on the methods used in international post-war peacebuilding. "There is a great fear that unstable states and post-war societies provide an ideal breeding ground for terrorist training and activity," Schnabel says. "Yet, almost three years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is characterized by chaos, violence and disintegration. The methods used to rebuild Iraq's security sector are simply making matters worse."

"International criminals and terrorists exploit states with poorly functioning security sectors. This should be a strong incentive for regional and international organisations to help these states reform their security sectors and prevent the spread of cross-border crime and international terrorism," the editors state.

However, the editors warn that: "increased focus on terrorism should not lead to the misguided support for further centralization and an empowerment of unaccountable and oppressive security structures, in the belief that strong security structures are required to fight terrorism."

Post-conflict environments are highly fragile and unsafe, creating a major challenge for the many organizations involved in the slow process of rebuilding a country's security systems, providing stability and developing its economy.

The editors argue that international military engagement in conflict and post-conflict theatres, and efforts to reform security sectors, have usually been characterized by good intentions and honest concern about the security of post-war societies "but all too often they have not been blessed with much success".

"Iraq is a glaring example but it is not unique," says Schnabel.

The editors insist that external military powers must create a basic security environment that allows domestic peace- and nation-building efforts to succeed, and that prevents internal forces from spoiling the fragile stability typical for post-conflict environments. "Internal forces must be put under democratic control, restructured and retrained to become an asset, not a liability, in the long-term peacebuilding process," they state in the book. "Security sector reform efforts are only successful when external actors are able and willing to stay the course and support an irrevocable process towards security consolidation and security sector reform, and where national and local authorities are committed and able to sustain such progress once external actors retreat."

The book was written by an international group of academics and military commanders who examine the record and challenges of security sector reform around the world, including training requirements for peace operations in the post-conflict environment, donor policies, and experiences with security sector reform. "The authors want the book to contribute to a better understanding of the complexities of and opportunities for constructive and sustainable security sector reform," says Dr. Schnabel.

Dr. W. Andy Knight, the McCalla Research Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, said the book will be useful to policymakers interested in understanding the complexity of addressing security sector reform and civil-military relations. "It should appeal to military, peacekeeping, and police forces who are increasingly being asked to insert themselves in conflict zones to bring a level of stability so that peace can be built and sustained."

Dr. Albrecht Schnabel is a Senior Research Fellow in the Research Program on Human Security (HUSEC) & FAST International in Bern, Switzerland, and is a former Academic Programme Officer in the Peace and Governance Programme of United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan.

Co-editor Dr. Hans-Georg Ehrhart is a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany.


Book Details
"Security Sector Reform and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding"
Edited by peace & security researchers Albrecht Schnabel and Hans-Georg Ehrhart
ISBN 92-808-1109-6
A preview copy of the book is available online for media review only (1.5MB pdf):

Media Contacts:
Albrecht Schnabel, Switzerland
Tel. 41-31-330-1071 (direct). Email:
Scott McQuade, Japan
Tel. 81-3-54671319 (direct). Email:
Naoko Yano, Japan.
Tel. 81-3-5467-1311 Email:
Terry Collins, USA
Tel. 416-538-8712; +1-416-878-8712 (cell) Email:

About UNU Press
United Nations University Press is the publishing arm of the United Nations University. UNU Press publishes scholarly and policy-oriented books and periodicals on the issues facing the United Nations and its people and member states, with particular emphasis upon international, regional and trans-boundary policies. Website:

About UN University
The United Nations University is an organ of the United Nations established by the General Assembly in 1972 to be an international community of scholars engaged in research, advanced training, and the dissemination of knowledge related to the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. Its activities focus mainly on the areas of peace and governance, environment and sustainable development, and science and technology in relation to human welfare. The University operates through a worldwide network of research and postgraduate training centres, with its planning and coordinating headquarters in Tokyo. Website:

About the contributors to the book:
Anthony W. Anderson is currently an independent international management consultant. Previously, Lieutenant Colonel Anderson held the positions of Senior Manager on the Land Staff at National Defence Headquarters (1993-1999), Head of Peacekeeping Section in the International Security Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada (1990-1993). He was also Commanding Officer with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Stephen Blackwell is Head of the European Security Programme at the Royal United Services Institute, London. He was previously European Editor of Jane's Sentinel Security Assessments, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Babes-Bolyai, Cluj, Romania, working for the Civic Education Project, an American NGO involved in a wide range of projects and initiatives in Central/Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He holds a PhD in International Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Thomas Bruneau is a Professor and Academic Associate in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. After having been Regional Director for Latin America since 1996, in December 2000 he became the Director of the Center for Civil-Military Relations at the Naval Postgraduate School. Since June 1998 he has been Rapporteur on the Defense Policy Board of the US Government.

David Darchiashvili is Head of the Research Department of the Parliament of Georgia and a Lecturer at the International Relations Department at Tbilisi State University. He is also the Director of the Center for Civil-Military Relations and Security Studies, and a Researcher at the Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development, in Tbilisi.

Hans-Georg Ehrhart is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He is a member of the "Team Europe" of the European Commission's Representation in Germany an previously served as a visiting research fellow with the Foundation for National Defense Studies, Paris, the Centre for International Relations, Queen's University, Kingston, and the EU Institute for Security Studies, Paris. He received his MA and DPhil from the University of Bonn. Dr. Ehrhart has published widely on issues such as disarmament, peacekeeping, conflict prevention, international organizations, post-Soviet politics, German-French relations as well as German and European security politics.

Ann Fitz-Gerald is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Defence Management and Security Analysis at Cranfield University, UK. She worked in the Canadian Liaison Office at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and has field experience in Angola, Sudan, Sierra Leone, all Former Yugoslav Republics and Colombia, among others.

Andrés Fontana is Professor, Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of the International relations Major at the Universidad de Belgrano, Buenos Aires. He also holds professorships at the Catholic University of Cordova, the National University of Buenos Aires, and Institute of National Foreign Services. From 1998-00 he served as Undersecretary for Strategic Policy, Government of Argentina. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Nibaldo H. Galleguillos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Before receiving his PhD from the University of Toronto, he was a Human Rights Lawyer in the Committee for Cooperation and Peace and an Attorney at Law in Santiago, Chile.

Karen Guttieri is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, affiliated with the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Karin von Hippel is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King's College, London. Previously, she worked for the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the UN Political Office for Somalia in Kenya. Dr. von Hippel received her PhD from the London School of Economics, UK.

Dylan Hendrickson is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King's College, London, UK. Previously, he was an independent consultant working for the Disasters Management Committee and the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, for UNHCR and UNICEF in Geneva, and for Care International UK, among others.

Fernando Isturiz is currently working for the Association for Cultural Promotion, Argentina. He was most recently as Senior Associate for training at the International Peace Academy in New York. Colonel Isturiz was the Director of the Argentine Armed Forces Joint Staff Center of Strategic Studies. He was also Commanding Officer of the Argentine Peace Operations Training Center (CAECOPAZ) and Argentine's Contingent Commander with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Ho-Won Jeong is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. He received his PhD in Political Science from Ohio State University (1993).

Julius Waweru Karangi is Major General in the Kenyan Armed Forces and Commandant of the Defence Staff College and Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi. Among other professional postings, he served as Senior Military Liaison Officer and Senior Military Observer with the United Nations Protection Force in Former Yugoslavia.

Andrzej Karkoszka is a Senior Political Advisor to the Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratization of Armed Forces (DCAF). Previously, he held appointments with the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the Chancellery of the President of Poland, the Polish Ministry of National Defense, the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and the Institute for East West Security Studies (now EastWest Institute), New York. He received his PhD in Political Science from the Polish Institute of International Affairs in 1977.

Chetan Kumar is an Inter-Agency Specialist in the Political and Strategic Planning Unit of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP, New York. Previously, he was a Programme Officer in the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts, and a Senior Associate at the International Peace Academy, both in New York. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

William Maley is Professor and Foundation Director, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University. He was previously an Associate Professor of Politics at the University of New South Wales. In 1998 he was appointed in the Australian Foreign Affairs Council. Dr Maley served as authorized International Observer of elections with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), and has field experience on several Afghan refugee projects with AUSTCARE.

Sophie Richardson is a consultant on Cambodia with the International Crisis Group, currently enrolled in a doctoral program in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. Previously, she worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Washington, DC, were she served as Senior Program Officer for Asia.

Allison Ritscher is a Reports/Operations Officer with the Joint Interrogation Center in Vaihingen, Germany. She was previously a Squadron Intelligence Officer in Virginia and has received her MA in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Peter Sainsbury is a freelance journalist with extensive field experience in Thailand and Vietnam. He has also worked as managing editor and reporter for the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia and as news and audio editor for Radio New Zealand.

Albrecht Schnabel is a Senior Research Fellow at swisspeace - Swiss Peace Foundation in Bern, Switzerland. He previously served as an Academic Officer in the Peace and Governance Programme of the United Nations University (1998-2003). He has been a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) and currently serves as a trainer on early warning and prevention for the UN Staff College, Turin. His research and publications focus on conflict and security studies, with an emphasis on conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding. He holds a PhD in Political Studies from Queen's University, Canada. He has previously taught at the American University in Bulgaria, the Central European University, and Aoyama Gakuin University.

Andres Serbin is a Professor at the Central University of Venezuela. He is President of Concertacion Centroamericana, a Central American network of non-governmental organizations. Between 1991-1993 he served as Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela.

Ekaterina Stepanova is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Political and Military Forecast of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russia. Previously, she was a MacArthur Individual Research Fellow and Research Associate on Foreign Policy and Security Issues with the Carnegie Moscow Center. Dr. Stepanova received her PhD from Moscow State University.

Biljana Vankovska is a Senior Fellow at the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Switzerland. Previously, she was the Head of the Institute of Defence at the University of Skopje, Macedonia, and a Scientific Adviser at DCAF. Dr. Vankovska received her PhD in Political Science from the Department of Political Studies, University of Skopje.

Rocky Williams is the Director of the African Security Sector Transformation Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa. Previously, Colonel Williams served as the Director of Operations Policy at the South African Ministry of Defence. He is a former Commander in Umkhonto We Sizwe - the guerilla army of the African National Congress. He holds a PhD from the University of Essex, England.

Stefan Wolf is a Lecturer in the Department of European Studies, University of Bath, England. He has done consulting work for the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board on the situation of ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and holds a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics, UK.

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