Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Survive?

alt Sandra Postel
Published by: New York & London: WW Norton & Co
ISBN: 10: 0393319377 13: 978-0393319378

Reviewed in Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2000

In her book Pillar of Sand, Sandra Postel’s contribution is rather unique. She combines well-crafted language and solid primary material with deep insight, making the book easy to read. While her Malthusian-style may open her to criticism, she has worked skillfully.

Peace, Profit or Plunder? The Privatisation of Security in Wartorn African Societies

alt Edited by Jakkie Cilliers and Peggy Mason
Published by: Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 1999
ISBN: 10: 0620238348 13: 978-0620238342

Reviewed by: Ian Liebenberg Senior Political Analyst, Group: Democracy and Governance, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa.
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 1999

‘You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you’ – Leon Trotsky, quoted in Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-war, 1993

Conflict – the unenviable, yet inevitable thread flowing through history from premodern to modern times (and now through post-modern times, if some are to be believed) – continuously threatens individual and community safety and sometimes even world peace and stability. But violence is not only spreading; the horror image carried in graphic novels of a privatisation of security together with 'global' (read 'capital') interests is coming perilously close to reality.

Peace in Africa: Towards a Collaborative Security Regime

alt Edited by S. Field
Published by: Institute for Global Dialogue, Johannesburg, 2004
ISBN: 10: 1919697675 13: 978-1919697673

Reviewed by Britt de Klerk
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2004

From the League of Nations to the United Nations to the regionalisation of security, one has witnessed the trend from collective security to collaborative security mechanisms and structures. While the earlier approaches to security focused more on collective security and responses to inter-sate conflict and upheld the motto ‘an attack on one is an attack on us all’, the changing international context with the end of the Cold War and increased intra-state conflict ushered in the more cooperative response to security as embraced by the global trend of regionalism. This trend has been largely prevalent in trade and economic considerations; however, the benefits of regionalism in these sectors have promoted the move towards a collaborative framework of security. At the same time, while these benefits did indeed play a contributory role in this move towards regionalisation of security, it was also largely based on the understanding that conflict under- mines economic growth and thus preventing and managing conflict is vital for economic stability. Africa is currently building the blocks for a collaborative security regime in Africa as enshrined in the principles of the African Union’s (AU’s) Peace and Security Council. It is therefore timely that a book analysing the prospects for collaborative security in Africa is produced.

Partner to History: The US Role in South Africa’s Transition to Democracy

alt Princeton N. Lyman
Published by: United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 2002
ISBN: 10: 1929223366 13: 978-1929223367

Reviewed by: Brendan Vickers
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2002

In the early 1990s, South Africa was a cause ce’le’bre of the early US-centred ‘new world order’. Amid fratricidal war and communal conflict in settings as diverse as Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Kashmir, South Africans themselves – who were actively supported and encouraged by foreign political actors – negotiated an end to apartheid authoritarianism, as well as its ignominious exclusionary practices. The pariah state of the Cold War years soon emerged as the paragon and ‘miracle’ of the 1990s.

Of Myths And Migration: Illegal Immigration Into South Africa

alt Hussein Solomon
Published by: Unisa Press, Pretoria, 2003
ISBN: 10: 1868882063 13: 978-1868882069

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2003

One of the challenges facing most developing states is that of huge population movements within and between states. Such population movements are a result of a number of factors which, for a very long time have been summarised into two famous concepts, the ‘push’ and the ‘pull’ factors. The movement of people within and between states has been one of the key manifestations of a variety of hardships and challenges that are faced by individuals and states in Africa alike. The fact that, among other things, specific countries and region on the continent of Africa have experienced one conflict after another has contributed to instability within the continent. Such instability is reflected by the huge numbers of people moving across borders into other countries as a way of seeking sanctuary, peace and an attempt to re-build their lives. Such movement of people across borders has also been a cause of serious security challenges for both the countries from which these people originate as well as those in which they seek sanctuary.

Managing Armed Conflicts in the Twenty-First Century

alt Adekeye Adebajo And Chandra Lekha Sriram (Eds.)
Published by: Frank Cass Publishers, London, 2001
ISBN: 10: 0714650943 13: 978-0714650944

Reviewed by: Hussein Solomon
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2002

The scourge of armed conflicts has been the bane of humanity from time immemorial. In recent years, however, the intensity and scope of these conflicts have increased exponentially. Part of the reason for this lies in the ending of the Cold War – freed from the confines of global bipolarity, armed conflicts have moved beyond the ideological realm. They now include the spheres of ethnocentric nationalism, religious fundamentalism, border wars and narco-trafficking. This has made it harder for academics to analyse conflicts, and more difficult for policy-makers to resolve them. Other reasons for the preponderance of armed conflict include the availability of sophisticated arms and the fragility of state structures.

Human Cargo: Journeys Among Refugees

alt Author: Caroline Moorehead
Published by: Chatto & Windus
ISBN: 10: 0099492873 13: 978-0099492870

Reviewed by: Melita Sunjic
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2005

Caroline Moorehead has been a journalist covering human rights issues for more than twenty years. In this capacity, she heard hundreds of refugee stories from all over the globe, some tragic, some with a happy ending, but all of them charged with emotions and human suffering.

Moorehead captures the essence of her book in these words: “a record of what happens to people when their lives spiral out of control into horror and loss, of the lengths they will go in order to survive, of the extraordinary resilience of ordinary men, women and children when having to accept the unacceptable, and also an account of how the modern world is dealing with exoduses that far exceed in complexity and distance anything the world has known before.”

From Warfare To Welfare

alt Edited by Marie Muller and Bas De Gaay Fortman
Published by: Royal Van Gorcum, 2004
ISBN: 10: 902324043X 13: 978-9023240433

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2004

Undoubtedly, the question of security in Southern of security in Southern Africa will continue to be one of the main issues for discussion around regional cooperation among member states that belong to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This is the case for a number of reasons. These include the fact that the sub-region does not seem to have been able to define in clear and concrete terms what approach it ought to take when it comes to its security. Or, where attempts have been made to define that approach, the responsible policy makers and other relevant actors have not been able to take the necessary steps to ensure implementation. This reviewer has argued elsewhere that, among other challenges that exist around the discourse on security in Southern Africa, there seems to be a gap between the academic thinking on the one hand and the policy approaches and decisions on the other. To put the matter differently, there is a plethora of academic thinking about a need for an alternative approach to security in the region. Such a gap is found specifically within the concept which has come to be known as human security.

From Peacekeeping to Complex Emergencies – Peace Support Missions in Africa

alt Edited by Jakkie Cilliers and Greg Mills
Published by: SAIIA/ISS, Johannesburg, 1999
ISBN: 10: 1874890994 13: 978-1874890997

Reviewed by: Kwezi Mngqibisa, ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 1999

The main thrust of this book is the pursuit of consensus around a standard African peacekeeping doctrine. In the first article, Cilliers and Mills do an excellent job in introducing the reader to the harsh realities that characterise conflicts and their resolution.

For the Sake of Peace: Seven Paths to Global Harmony, a Buddhist Perspective

alt Daisaku Ikeda
Published by: Middleway, 2001. Santa Monica
ISBN: 10: 0967469724 13: 978-0967469720

Reviewed by: Motse Ramathe
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2001

As a Buddhist leader, educator and philosopher, Daisaku Ikeda has written extensively on the sub- ject of world peace. In his latest book, For the sake of Peace, Daisaku Ikeda confirms the individual’s responsibility in bringing peace to the world. He argues that world peace can be achieved through self-control, dialogue and the creation of a culture of peace.