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Old 03-18-2008   #21
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UNDPKO, 14 Mar 08: United Nations Peace Operations Year in Review 2007
....UN peace operations have become essential instruments for the international community in maintaining international peace and security. The challenges and the numbers are unprecedented: UN peacekeeping currently maintains 20 operations on four continents with more than 100,000 men and women in the field.The budget for peacekeeping is expected to grow from US$5 to US$7 billion over the 2007-8 biennium, US$1.28 billion of that for Darfur alone. New UN political missions were also deployed to the field, even as existing operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East faced continuing challenges in preventing and resolving conflict.

Once a mechanism for keeping the peace after a conflict had ended, UN peacekeeping operations and personnel are now being asked to deploy into still fractious environments, and are expected to protect civilians, mitigate conflicts before they widen, and keep societies and regions from further disintegration.

The growing challenges stretched the capacity of the Organization and demanded innovation: in his first year in office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon initiated a comprehensive programme of internal restructuring, reorganizing the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and establishing a separate Department of Field Support.This enabled a major augmentation of resources along with new capacities and integrated structures to match the growing complexity of mandated activities and to ensure unity of command and integration of effort.....
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Old 10-25-2008   #22
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Default Whither Peace Operations?

USIP, Oct 08: Whither Peace Operations?
  • Much progress has been achieved over the last decade and a half in the development and use of peace operations as a tool to quell conflicts, but there are limits to how much more progress can be expected.
  • The number of troop contributors and troops deployed to peace operations has recently reached unprecedented highs, but the bulk of troops came from a limited number of states.
  • The relationship between the United Nations and non-UN peacekeepers seems for the most part complementary. Nonetheless, the rise in non-UN peace operations has probably led to the United Nations becoming too dependent on too small a base of lesser-developed states.
  • The characteristics of most troop contributors (e.g., type of governance, national quality of life, ground-force size) correlate with their level of contribution, but even politically willing nations with the “right” characteristics can likely deploy only a small percentage of their troops to operations at any one time.
  • While Europe and Africa have achieved the most progress in developing institutional capacities, each continent confronts problems of interinstitutional relations and resource shortages.
  • Russia’s hegemonic role in Eurasia and the United States’ historical legacy in Latin America have hindered development of comprehensive institutional capacities for peace operations in each region.
  • East Asia may slowly be moving beyond ideational strictures that crippled efforts to develop regional capacities.
  • Institutional progress is not expected in South Asia and the Middle East, and states of each region should not be expected to send military units to intraregional operations. Nearly all South Asian countries, however, will be major players in UN operations. A few exceptions aside, Mideast states will remain bit players on the world scene.
  • Demand for easy or moderately challenging operations will generally be met, but the hazardous missions most apt to occur will be called for by states possessing the wherewithal to take them on and bring others along.
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Old 08-22-2009   #23
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Default UN peacekeeping operations (catch all)

For obvious reasons, discussion at SWJ tends to focus on the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats to homeland security, broader military and strategic issues, COIN debates, CT issues, and occasionally conflicts elsewhere.

I don't particularly have a point to make with this thread, but I did think it might be useful to flag the very substantial amount of peacekeeping and stabilization that is going on elsewhere. There are currently (as of 31/7/09) more than 93,000 personnel deployed on UN PKOs, representing a very subtstantial growth over the past 20 years.

What's more, the composition of UN contingents has changed markedly over the years, with Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria contributing over one third of all personnel, and only two Western countries (Italy and France) among the top 20 contributors. The Chinese contribution has steadily grow too, from almost nothing to over 2,000 troops now (ranking them 11th).

Now, it can be argued that the UN is inefficient, that UN PKOs are insufficiently robust, and that the quality of individual contingents can be weak, and the peacekeeping operations often fail. That is undoubtedly true, but rather misses the point: its not as if anyone in the West is lining up to do DR Congo (etc) these days, nor can the failure of peace agreements necessarily be laid at the UN's feet, nor is it clear that deploying no PKO would better help consolidate peace. Moreover, it needs to be remembered that the United Nations is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the international community, which often finds it convenient to blame the organization for what are really the failures of its member states.

As I said, I didn't have a major point to make, other than to welcome comments. Like it or not, UN PKOs remain a significant part of the global architecture for peace and security, and it might be useful to think how they might be better used or made more effective.
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Last edited by Rex Brynen; 08-22-2009 at 11:01 PM. Reason: hit publish prematurely!
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Old 08-23-2009   #24
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Like it or not, UN PKOs remain a significant part of the global architecture for peace and security, and it might be useful to think how they might be better used or made more effective.
-Clearly articulated and understood mission
-Clearly articulated rules of engagement and rules for use of force
-Concurrence among donor countries on how the job will be done, when a unified HQ and C2 structure is employed (think the nightmare of UNOSOM)
-Relevant training
-Instilling a strong commitment to employ force, within the known constraints, to do the job, as opposed to dithering around about what to do in the face of bullies who attempt to exploit perceived weakness in resolve
-Troops who are less in it for the food-on-my-table-at-home aspect. I know, nearly impossible to do,but it should be an objective nonetheless
-Clearly articulated and understood mission ( It all comes back down to this)

I've studied peacemaking/peacekeeping seriously ever since I served in Somalia, and wouldn't mind serving on observer duty at some point.
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Old 08-23-2009   #25
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Default Diplomacy is the barrier


We have touched upon these issues in threads on Rwanda (UN), Darfur (AU & UN) and another (lost in my memory). There is a huge amount of non-military commentary, by academics and observers. For a few years I subscribed to peacekeeping journal, but stopped as the 'real' issues rarely got a mention.

I have a recollection that when the UN deployed to Sierra Leone, itself a peculiarly difficult mission, a UK press report commented that an Indian contingent were fresh from duty in Kashmir and would be robust. Within a short time it was quite clear this was wishful thinking. Only when the UK intervened and did the 'hard' work did the UN feel able to operate.

How about the remarkable disappearance in Rwanda of an under-size Bangladeshi infantry battallion and reappearance across the border in Uganda?

Nothing will change, however many eminient persons write, until a shared, agreed political will appears. A will that enables peace-making and peace enforcement - as distinct from peacekeeping. High risk operations are not for the casualty averse.

For diplomatic reasons few want to say that. Rex is right to note non-NATO nations now bear the burden and mainly in Africa (except France in Ivory Coast IIRC).

Meantime back to my armchair.

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Old 08-24-2009   #26
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Default Two barriers to effective PKO

I agree with all that has gone before, and would add that as I see it there are two major barriers that are overlooked when dealing with PKO. First is the fact that Blue Helmets come from all over the world, have different missions, different rules of engagement, and most importantly speak different languages. The second problem is that because of the way that the UN creates Blue Helmet "armies" creates and incentive structure whereby countries who cannot afford to equip and train their militaries are the ones who have the most to gain by sending them on Peace Keeping mission, to get them equipped and at least a little trained, not on their dime.

The illustration to this problem is the Eastern front of WWI. The Austro-Hungarians, who basically commanded a large coalition of Armies made up from the various Hapsburg holdings were creamed by the Russians, who mostly spoke Russian, and were far more unified in comparison. The Russians, in their turn, we trounced by the Germans, who were not only more unified than the Russians, but also well trained and well equipped.

I know that this is a simplification of WWI, but the analogy holds.
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Old 08-24-2009   #27
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Default The UN is less than the sum of its parts.

I make this observation not to criticize the UN; it is, as Rex says, a wholly owned subsidiary of the member states. Thus a UN PKO can only be what its members want it to be. As Jon says, UNOSOM II was a case in point although I disagree as to the reasons it failed. Created under UNSCR 814, it had the most robust C2 structure of any Peace Op to date (and maybe ever). At US insistence the SRSG was an American, former Dep NSA VADM Jonathon Howe, the FC was a NATO general, LTG Cevik Bir from Turkey, and the Dep FC was again US MG tom Montgomery, dual hatted as COMUSFORSOM. From may until June 93 the major problem was that DPKO was unable to either negotiate sufficient force contributors or get them deployed in time so the UNOSOM II force which was to have been 28,000 strong at handover on 4 May was only 14,000 at it peak. Then came Aideed's attack that kileed several peacekeepers.
At Admiral Howe's insistence, with the concurrence of USUN Rep, Madelaine Albright, the UNSC passed over the weekend, UNSCR 837 which authorized operations to capture Aideed and any others who assisted him putting UNOSOM II on the side of his opponents. This brought into play the problem of Terms of Reference (TOR) - the agreements signed by DPKO with the force Contributors specifiying the rules of engagement and precisely what they agreed to do under the terms of UN "Operational Control" (which, at best, is the equivalent of US tactical control - TACON). Italy, which both contributed forces and provided the U2 - intel staff officer - had long standing relationships with Aideed and said flat out that 837 was not what it had signed up for; Italy had only agreed to enforce 814. Hence conflict.
I won't go into the US C2 fiasco other than to say that it violated our own doctrine in every possible way.
If interested see Chapter 12 of Max Manwaring and my book, UNCOMFORTABLE WARS REVISITED and/ or Chapter 9 of my edited volume, THE SAVAGE WARS OF PEACE (thesource of the other chapter written with Tom Daze who was XO to Montgomery).


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Old 07-13-2012   #28
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Default India and UN Peacekeeping: Declining Interest with Grave Implications

India and UN Peacekeeping: Declining Interest with Grave Implications

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
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Old 11-29-2012   #29
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Default Moderator at work

Prompted by two Australian articles (see next post) I have searched SWC using 'peacekeeping'; there are numerous threads where it features, a far smaller number of threads where it is in the title and a few specific threads, e.g. East Timor.

I have merged six threads, some were SWJ Blog and renamed the thread as a catch all.
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Old 11-29-2012   #30
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Default Diggers look back at their roles

Two articles from the Australian Lowy Institute: and:

I noted in the first:
Retired General Mike Smith, Director of the Security Sector Advisory & Coordination Division in the UN Support Mission in Libya
In the second:
Peacekeeping is not alchemy. There are no magic transforming 'bullets' in communities serious enough to warrant deployment. Despite the best hopes of fast turnarounds, it is typically full of the painstaking negotiations and compromises that pock-mark nations rife with conflict, poverty and fear.
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