The Future of Intervention: A View from Washington

Western military intervention has been a defining feature of the post-Cold War security environment. However, the idea of intervention is now in decline because of the failure in Iraq and the challenges in Afghanistan and Libya. This decline is exacerbated by the return of great power rivalry, which competes with failing states for attention and resources. Nevertheless, the United States will still feel compelled to intervene if its real red lines are breached—imminent mass atrocities that could be prevented, and the creation of safe havens for anti-American terrorists. The result will be half-hearted interventions that address the near term threat, but which do not provide for post-conflict stabilization or nation-building. Thus, the demand for UN stabilization missions will remain strong. Background For almost a quarter of a century, the world has debated whether and how major states, especially the United States, should use military power to prevent mass atrocities, reverse the spread of weapons of mass destruction, or promote democracy. Since the early 1990s, the United States has led interventions in one form or another in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria (excluding cases where the United States has been invited in by a government, as was the case in Colombia). Britain and France have also intervened military in Sierra Leone and Mali, respectively, and played a significant role in several other interventions. The United Nations has supported intervention in some instances, but certainly not in all, and some of its failures to intervene, including in Rwanda in 1994 and Darfur in 2003, will remain a dark chapter in the organization’s history. Intervention is a...

Views from the Field: Experiences, Results and Recommendations from Sierra Leone

In October 1999, the Security Council authorized by Security Council Resolution 1270 (1999) the establishment of UNAMSIL, the United Nations Mission to Sierra Leone. This was a new and much larger mission with a maximum of 6,000 military personnel, including 260 military observers, was mandated to assist the Government and the parties in carrying out provisions of the Lomé Peace Agreement brokered in summer 1999. At the same time, the Council decided to terminate UNOMSIL. On 7 February 2000, the Security Council, by its Resolution 1289 (2000), decided to revise the mandate of UNAMSIL to include a number of additional tasks. On 30 March 2001, a further increase was authorized to 17,500 military personnel, including the 260 military observers. The Council took this decision by its resolution 1346, and, by the same resolution, approved a revised concept of operations. By early 2002, the Government declared the war officially over. In 2005 as UNAMSIL completed most of the tasks assigned it by the Security Council, the UN Changed the Mandate from Peacekeeping to Peace building with the establishment of a peace building office (UNIOSIL – UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone) to assist the Government in consolidating peace and national stability building upon the foundation laid by UNAMSIL. In August 2008, the UN Security Council, by Resolution 1829 (2008), subsequently established then the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). Its mandate was to cement the peace dividends that were begun by UNAMSIL. This new office helped the Government strengthen its human rights, realize the Millennium Development Goals, improve transparency and hold free and fair elections in...

Regional View: Recommendations Based on South African Experiences

Note that this briefing does not represent by any means an official position of the South African government, and is a sole reflection of observations made by the author in relation to how the engagements of the country can contribute to wider peacekeeping discussions. South Africa has increasingly engaged in supporting peace and security processes in Africa over the last 20 years, through both participation and leadership in peace operations from the United Nations and the African Union. The country has become an active player in global peace operations efforts, placed as the 14th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the United Nations peacekeeping, by September 2014. While at the forefront of several engagements in Africa, South African experiences can assist in better understanding how to strengthen peace operations responses, particularly through regional approaches. South African positions help in understanding some of the changes at a global level in peace operations, as they have generated the need for the country to better align its policies, practice and objectives. The evolving peace operations environment brought the need for South Africa to better understand its own roles, including, for instance the increasing focus on multidimensional peace operations and the role of regional arrangements. Some of these changes and challenges faced by peace operations are presented below, focusing particularly on the idea of stabilistation, regionalisation and its support mechanisms, development of partnerships and capacity building. South Africa’s Experiences in Peacekeeping Since its process of internal transition in the early 1990s, South Africa has strengthened its roles in peacekeeping operations and engaged in several different peacekeeping operations on the continent. In particular, during...

Views from the Field: General Lessons from DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a large country with a weak state apparatus. Since independence, the country has been prone to political turmoil, armed groups and militias, and civil conflict. On 30 May, 1999 the Security Council authorized the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) to help restore peace in DRC; its mandate was reformed in July 2010 and its title was changed to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Since 1999 until now, the country has been kept afloat by the international community, which provides support to state institutions for post-conflict development. This relationship has been challenging, however; a case in point was when the Congolese government decided to declare persona non grata a MONUSCO officer in charge of the Department of Human Rights. When considering the UN presence in DRC, it will be important to think about the following points: How do the Congolese experience the UN peace operation? What are the effects: intended and unintended, positive or negative, of the peace operation? How can the UN operate differently in this country to produce better results? The experience of the UN peace operation and its effects in the DRC MONUC’s deployment to DRC raised the standards and qualities of facilities when compared to nationally run entities. A great example is the country’s airports. In many airports inside the country the premises managed by MONUSCO are well kept and are different from the spaces left or occupied by the state-led Régie des Voies Aériennes (RVA). All the buildings belonging to MONUC were marked by good care and...

Views from the Field: Perspective on UN Presence in Côte d’Ivoire

The primary expectation of populations in the countries or regions where UN missions or operations deploy is that they will be afforded appropriate protection. Populations also expect UN peacekeepers to be model citizens that improve the regions to which they are deployed. Côte d’Ivoire makes no exception. Over a decade has passed since the UN began its peace operations in Côte d’Ivoire under the appellation UNOCI (the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire). Its primary objective was to enforce peace and foster hope in the West African nation where a failed 2002 military coup degenerated into a fierce belligerence between government troops, who controlled the south and a rebel group that held the northern part of the country. The mission undertook remarkable actions towards restoring peace in Côte d’Ivoire, but it is evident that some of its actions resulted in negative and unintended consequences upon locals. This contribution brings a local perspective on the presence of the United Nations peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire, with emphasis on two main aspects. Firstly, the reasons why the UN presence in the country was requested by the warring factions and the civil society, and secondly, the many challenges the UNOCI has faced since its deployment -challenges ranging from sexual exploitation and abuses to the incapacity to effectively provide protection for civilians. This paper ends with a summary of key lessons to be learned from the UN experience and presence in Côte d’Ivoire.   The failure of the Regional Force and the Request for a UN intervention The first multinational peacekeeping force deployed in Côte d’Ivoire with objectives including monitoring the implementation of the...
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