Blue Helmets and Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo

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Cornell University Press, Jul 7, 2011 - Political Science - 224 pages
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The 1992–1995 battle for Sarajevo was the longest siege in modern history. It was also the most internationalized, attracting a vast contingent of aid workers, UN soldiers, journalists, smugglers, and embargo-busters. The city took center stage under an intense global media spotlight, becoming the most visible face of post-Cold War conflict and humanitarian intervention. However, some critical activities took place backstage, away from the cameras, including extensive clandestine trading across the siege lines, theft and diversion of aid, and complicity in the black market by peacekeeping forces.

In Blue Helmets and Black Markets, Peter Andreas traces the interaction between these formal front-stage and informal backstage activities, arguing that this created and sustained a criminalized war economy and prolonged the conflict in a manner that served various interests on all sides. Although the vast majority of Sarajevans struggled for daily survival and lived in a state of terror, the siege was highly rewarding for some key local and international players. This situation also left a powerful legacy for postwar reconstruction: new elites emerged via war profiteering and an illicit economy flourished partly based on the smuggling networks built up during wartime. Andreas shows how and why the internationalization of the siege changed the repertoires of siege-craft and siege defenses and altered the strategic calculations of both the besiegers and the besieged. The Sarajevo experience dramatically illustrates that just as changes in weapons technologies transformed siege warfare through the ages, so too has the arrival of CNN, NGOs, satellite phones, UN peacekeepers, and aid convoys.

Drawing on interviews, reportage, diaries, memoirs, and other sources, Andreas documents the business of survival in wartime Sarajevo and the limits, contradictions, and unintended consequences of international intervention. Concluding with a comparison of the battle for Sarajevo with the sieges of Leningrad, Grozny, and Srebrenica, and, more recently, Falluja, Blue Helmets and Black Markets is a major contribution to our understanding of contemporary urban warfare, war economies, and the political repercussions of humanitarian action.

 

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Exploring the Underground War Economy In this monograph, author Peter Andreas explores the underworld economy during the 3-year siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war of 1993. The longest such siege of ... Read full review

Contents

The Cast of Characters
6
Imposing the Siege
20
Sustaining the Siege
42
Lifeline and Profit Center
58
The Media and Its Dependence on the Black Market
71
The Siege Within
90
Obstructing Access to Water
100
Shifting the Military Balance by Evading
108
Sarajevo as Transit Point for Migrant Smuggling
126
Peace through Illicit Trade?
132
Extensions
138
Leningrad
145
Falluja
152
Revisiting Sarajevo
158
Notes
167
Index
201

Aftermath
118

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About the author (2011)

Peter Andreas is John Hay Professor of International Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Blue Helmets and Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo and Border Games and coeditor of Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, all from Cornell. He is also the author of Smuggler Nation and coauthor of Policing the Globe and Drug War Politics.

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