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Charron, Andrea. UN Sanctions and Conflicts: Responding to Peace and Security Threats. New York: Routledge, 2011.

This book is about the tool the Security Council applies most often to address conflicts i.e. sanctions. It is also about four different categories of armed (or potentially armed) conflict: 1) between states; 2) within states; 3) with norm-breaking states (the so-called rogues); and 4) international terrorism. Each of the subsequent four chapters in this book is dedicated to one of these conflict types and the sanctions applied. The final chapter examines the “so what” question: what have we learned about sanctions and the Security Council by using the conflict type as the lens of analysis?  The answer is a more nuanced understanding of this tool called UN mandatory sanctions as well as the Security Council’s approach to dealing with conflict. The Council is more creative and logical about its application of sanctions and approach to conflicts than is often credited. Twenty-seven UN sanctions regimes were analysed between 1945 and 2010.   Fourteen of the 27 regimes deal with intrastate conflicts.  The other conflict types share the same percentage of regimes – roughly  (4 each or 15% of the regimes). Also, UN sanctions are a story about Africa.  More than half of the sanctions regimes deal with a conflict in Africa. There is evidence of a consistent pattern of sanctions application based on the conflict type  – both the type of sanctions and the order in which it is applied vis-à-vis other UN tools, like peacekeeping.  In other words within group conflicts share similar characteristics when it comes to sanctions application whereas between conflict group comparisons have different sanctions patterns.  Consequently, to assume that sanctions are a “one-size-fits-all” measure applied in a homogeneous fashion leads to fallacious conclusions about the Council’s conflict-solving strategies.

Entry Submitted By: Andrea Charron

About the author of this entry: Dr. Charron holds a PhD from the Royal Military College of Canada (Department of War Studies). She completed her post doctorate at Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and is now Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, Political Studies.