Misiones de paz e intervenciones militares

Women in the town of Mweso, Congo, walk past a convoy from the U.N. peacekeeping mission on April 10. (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

The second Liberian civil war began 20 years ago this month. All told, the conflicts that ravaged Liberia from the beginning of the first civil war in 1989 to the end of the second in 2003 resulted in the deaths of some 250,000 men, women and children, the displacement of more than 1 million civilians and the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure.

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) deployed in 2003 to help the country rebuild, and stayed until its mandate ended last year. By most accounts UNMIL was a success, shepherding in over a decade of peace and three consecutive democratic elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

When President Trump took questions at his March 19 news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a reporter asked what he thought about possibly using military force to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Trump’s answer was, “I think of all possibilities. All options are open.” The Trump administration has repeatedly stated the United States will not “rule out” military intervention in Venezuela because “every option is on the table.”

Two months ago, Trump recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself Venezuela’s interim president in January. Increasing numbers of Venezuelans — and foreign governments — have backed Guaidó and rejected the contested presidency of Maduro, but the country remains in a political stalemate.…  Seguir leyendo »

La crisis venezolana no augura tiempos de paz justa. Las razones esgrimidas por los contendientes y sus seguidores, en las que no se quiere incidir, y los apoyos de actores exteriores parecen conducir, si el diálogo y la buena voluntad no lo remedian, a otro conflicto de dimensiones nacionales, regionales e internacionales. Demasiada pasión y demasiados intereses para que se pueda atender a las necesidades del sufrido pueblo de Venezuela. A las gentes que viven en ese país no les queda más remedio que tomar partido, como ocurre en todos los conflictos civiles. Las “pobres gentes” son al final los que sufren y son víctimas inocentes de la violencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

A sign says "Venezuela deserves change" at a rally in support of amnesty for political prisoners.CreditCreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 26, called on “every other nation to pick a side” and to “stand with the forces of freedom” in the standoff between President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Juan Guaidó, the head of the country’s National Assembly, who declared his interim presidency on Jan. 23 and quickly won the support of the United States and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Since Mr. Pompeo’s speech, the United States has put further pressure on the Maduro government, imposing new oil sanctions and reiterating that “all options” — including, presumably, military intervention — “are on the table.” John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, was photographed this week holding a notepad with “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Violence against civilians in Darfur . Darker shades of red represent higher numbers of recorded instances of violence against civilians in a locality, while lighter shades represent fewer recorded instances of violence. The black bullets indicate instances of obstruction and/or intimidation of peacekeepers, while the shade of the localities in Darfur indicate the number of documented instances of violence against civilians between January 2008 and April 2009. (Figure from: Duursma, A. Obstruction and intimidation of peacekeepers: How armed actors undermine civilian protection efforts. Journal of Peace Research.)

Congolese rebels killed eight U.N. peacekeepers on Nov. 15. The same rebel group was responsible for the death of 15 peacekeepers in December 2017, the deadliest single assault on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo in its 25 years of existence.

U.N. peacekeepers also face heavy armed resistance in places such as Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. These serious attacks may obscure another crucial threat to peacekeeping missions: Government forces and rebels obstruct and intimidate peacekeepers to prevent them from fulfilling their civilian protection mandate.

For instance, government forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia fought in Congo’s Kasai-Central province in March 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

July 2016 – Malakal, South Sudan – A U.N. peacekeeper stands guard as civilians enter the Protection of Civilians (POC) site outside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Malakal, South Sudan on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.(Jane Hahn for Washington Post)

Syria’s seven years of conflict have had devastating consequences, with hundreds of thousands of people dead and over 4 million refugees. Would the story be different if the United Nations Security Council had managed to come to an agreement and deployed a peacekeeping operation (PKO) early in the conflict?

Would a PKO have been able to resolve this conflict? Despite popular conceptions to the contrary (see also here and here), a large body of research has shown that PKOs are surprisingly effective at keeping the peace.

How PKOs contribute to peace

Here are four ways PKOs contribute to peace. This intervention reduces the amount of violence during conflict, reduces the duration of conflict, increases the duration of peace following conflict — and limits the risk that conflict in one country spreads to neighboring countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.N. peacekeepers from Rwanda serve at a U.N. base in Malakal, South Sudan, in 2016. (Jane Hahn for The Washington Post)

Over the past 20 years, U.N. peacekeeping deployments have increased by more than 600 percent. Currently, the United Nations manages 14 peacekeeping operations worldwide, staffed by more than 95,000 military personnel, police, civilians and volunteers.

For almost all of these, a common mandate is to protect civilians — which is important not just in immediately saving lives, but also in sustaining peace over the long run. Recent academic research has focused on how well peacekeepers do at reducing conflicts’ virulence and spread.

But do armed peacekeepers actually protect civilians from harm? That’s been debated lately. A recent report, delivered to U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un soldat syrien filme les dégâts provoqués dans un centre de recherche scientifique ayant été la cible des tirs de missiles des Etats-Unis, de la France et du Royaume-Uni en représailles à une attaque chimique attribuée à l’armée syrienne. Damas,… © Hassan Ammar

Certains se sont prononcés en faveur des récentes frappes aériennes contre des sites présumés de production et de stockage d’armes chimiques en Syrie. Ceci sans s’appesantir sur les aspects juridiques. Quel que soit l’avis que l’on se fasse de leur utilité immédiate et de leur légitimité politique ou morale, on ne saurait ignorer que ces attaques constituent une violation manifeste de l’interdiction de la menace et de l’usage de la force, ancrée à l’article 2 de la Charte des Nations unies. Elles ne pourraient se justifier qu’en cas de légitime défense ou d’autorisation par le Conseil de sécurité – ce qui n’est ici pas le cas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Peacekeeper troops from Ethiopia and deployed in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) patrol outside Abyei town, in Abyei state. ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN / AFP

In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed a resurgence of violence in border areas: a new insurgency in South Sudan’s Unity State in April; the Sudanese army’s move into Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both countries, in May; and renewed fighting in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile (known as the “Two Areas”) in June. Part of the UN Security Council’s response to their requests for support was its deployment of a peacekeeping mission, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).…  Seguir leyendo »

A Syrian soldier films the damage to the scientific studies and research center after the attack near Damascus. (Hassan Ammar)

Following his April 11 tweet that missiles “will be coming” in Syria, President Trump on Friday night announced U.S. airstrikes in multiple sites, including Damascus. The targeted sites were ones believed to be capable of storing chemical weapons and/or chemical precursors. The attacks were carried out in retaliation for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

This is not the first time President Trump has ordered airstrikes in Syria, of course. Last April, Trump used airstrikes against Shayrat Airbase in the aftermath of another chemical attack by the Assad regime. Even though the strike appears to have been much larger than last year’s, this remained an airstrike-only operation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les bombardements occidentaux sur la Syrie, après les attaques au gaz du régime de Bachar Al-Assad contre sa population, ne constituent en aucun cas une réponse suffisante ou proportionnée à ce crime, mais ils sont légitimes et doivent ouvrir le débat sur la protection à plus long terme des Syriens.

La responsabilité du régime syrien est-elle en doute ? Non, il n’y a aucune raison de penser que le coupable est à chercher ailleurs qu’à Damas ; la seule question ouverte est le niveau de complicité des Iraniens et des Russes, ces derniers ayant par ailleurs commis des crimes de guerre dans leurs opérations de bombardements contre des civils.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’intervention militaire est bien dans l’ADN des vieilles puissances, héritage direct ou indirect du « concert européen » du XIXe siècle, complété par la traditionnelle politique américaine du « gros bâton ». La reconstitution d’un triangle Washington-Londres-Paris simplifie l’héritage, laissant significativement de côté une Allemagne dont on ne prend pas assez en compte le suggestif aggiornamento diplomatique. Pour le reste, les ingrédients restent les mêmes : un discours qui oscille entre la rhétorique messianique et celle du justicier, une pratique qui préfère l’affichage de puissance à l’efficacité de ses effets, un rapport au droit où l’inversion de la règle et le recours impudique au principe de sélectivité démontrent que l’esprit de punition l’emporte sur la sanction.…  Seguir leyendo »

In April 2017, the UN Security Council approved resolution 2350, which simultaneously determined the end of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). While the conclusion of the Mission in Haiti took place together with the ending of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Haiti was the only country to receive a replacement mission. Its tasks were to consolidate the justice and human rights system and complete the creation of a local police force. Surprisingly, the Security Council (SC) framed the mandate of the new mission under chapter VII of the UN Charter, a de facto postponement of Haitian sovereignty for two more years.…  Seguir leyendo »

A U.N. peacekeeper stands guard as civilians enter the Protection of Civilians (POC) site outside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan compound in Malakal, South Sudan, on July 13, 2016. (Jane Hahn for The Washington Post)

The year 2018 marks the 70th year of U.N. peacekeeping. Against the backdrop of ongoing and intense violence in places such as Syria and Congo, what happens next for this form of conflict intervention?

Various proposals are on the table in the lead-up to an overhaul of the United Nations peace and security architecture by 2020. The splashiest scheme, announced recently in a report to the U.N. secretary general, recommends that U.N. peacekeeping “troops should use overwhelming force and be proactive and preemptive” as a way to safeguard the safety and security of U.N. troops. This report, spearheaded by retired Lt.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des hommes constatent les dégâts après un raid de l'armée syrienne, à Douma, dans l'enclave de la Ghouta orientale, le 10 mars. AFP

L’interminable désastre syrien, le martyre imposé à ce peuple à bout de souffrance, tout cela soulève le cœur et provoque l’indignation. C’est pourquoi la bataille de la Ghouta nous conduit une fois encore à nous interroger sur ce que les principales puissances du monde devraient faire. «Comment en est-on arrivé là ?» nous demande l’opinion publique.

La critique de l’inaction des pays occidentaux est bien compréhensible mais elle doit être mise en regard des réalités syriennes et plus encore des interventions occidentales de ces vingt dernières années en Afghanistan, en Irak et en Libye. Force est de constater que ces politiques interventionnistes ont toutes échoué, partout.…  Seguir leyendo »

Africa. Niger. Toumour. 2017. Nigerien security forces pass near Toumor refugee camp where 47 thousand Nigerian refugees and internally displaced Nigerians took shelter in southeastern Niger. According to the UN last report (August 2017) 2,3 million people displaced in Lake Chad Basin and 129 thousand Nigeriens internally displaced in Niger after Boko Haram attacks in the region since 2015.

Last October, four American soldiers, four Nigerien soldiers, and a Nigerien translator were killed in combat on Niger’s border with Mali while looking for the jihadi militant Doundoun Cheffou. For the most part, the fallout concentrated on President Trump’s mangled call with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson. But the incident also called attention to a dangerous development at multiple levels of US politics. From a small village in rural Niger all the way to the White House, the US military has increasing influence over American foreign policy in Africa.

American Special Forces have been operating in Niger since at least 2013, when President Obama authorized forty troops to aid the French intervention against jihadist groups in Mali.…  Seguir leyendo »

The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces along the front line separating Kyiv’s forces, on one side, from Kremlin-backed separatists, on the other.

Moscow had ignored Kyiv’s calls for peacekeepers since early 2015, so its proposal was regarded with suspicion by Ukraine and its Western allies. Most saw the small force envisaged along the front as a non-starter, more likely to freeze the conflict than end it. Nonetheless, the proposal spurred fresh thinking about ways out of the stalemate.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si bien es un hecho que la UE y sus Estados miembros se hallan comprometidos con los derechos humanos, las actuales políticas no son quizá las más adecuadas. Tienen carencias importantes para el día de hoy y no son suficientes para la Europa del mañana. Ante los desafíos surgidos en 2016 y 2017, migraciones, Brexit y ascenso al poder de Donald Trump incluidos, las instituciones y gobiernos europeos (especialmente algunos de estos) han dado marcha atrás en lo que a los valores esenciales se refiere.

Los años 70 a 90 protagonizaron el creciente interés de las instituciones europeas por los derechos humanos, y el Parlamento asumió un papel relevante.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Thursday, according to the United Nations, at least a dozen peacekeepers were killed and dozens more wounded in an attack on the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known by the acronym MONUSCO, in Congo. So far, we know little — but what we do seem to know sketches a daunting picture.

According to local and U.N. sources, around 6 p.m. local time Thursday, unidentified but heavily armed assailants attacked a MONUSCO base near a bridge over the Semuliki River on the Mbau-Kamango road northeast of Beni town. Operated by the Tanzanian battalion of MONUSCO’s offensive combat segment — the Force Intervention Brigade — the base appears to have immediately lost radio contact with other MONUSCO positions in the area.…  Seguir leyendo »

After more than 10 years of operations, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has a new exit strategy to reduce the threat from al-Shabab, secure the political process and transfer security responsibilities to Somali forces. But political feuds between the national government and Somalia’s regional administrations, pervasive corruption and recent setbacks against al-Shabab threaten to derail AMISOM’s successful exit.

The London Security Pact of May 2017 and the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2372 on Aug. 30, 2017, determined that AMISOM and its partners will build “a capable, accountable, acceptable, and affordable Somali-led security sector” to enable the African Union mission to leave.…  Seguir leyendo »