Misiones de paz e intervenciones militares (Continuación)

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 »

Armed groups on Thursday attacked this base in Congo, shown in 2015, killing at least 14 U.N. peacekeepers from Tanzania. The base is part of MONUSCO, a United Nations mission that aims to support peace and stability in Congo and to protect citizens from clashes with militias in the North Kivu region. (Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images)

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 »

African Union soldiers march along the top of a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe in Somalia in October 2014 in this image provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia. (Tobin Jones/AMISOM/Associated Press)

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 »

On Nov. 15, the United Nations Security Council will meet to decide on the fate of the U.N. mission in Central African Republic, known by its acronym MINUSCA. In stark contrast to the debate over the U.N. mission in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, which the U.S. pushed to reduce last April after citing its ineffectiveness and cost, few in New York expect cuts to the Central African Republic (CAR) mission. To the contrary, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited CAR at the end of October and called for increasing the mission’s authorized troop ceiling, currently just over 12,000, by an additional 900 troops.…  Seguir leyendo »

International commitment to greater female representation in peacekeeping has lost considerable impetus. Though rhetorically committed, United Nations leaders, both civilian and uniformed, have often regarded gender issues as non-essential and dispensable. But in the absence of genuine attention to women's political participation and gender dynamics in conflict-affected societies, UN peacekeeping risks failing to fulfill its mandate.

On Nov. 14 and 15, Canada will host the annual UN peacekeeping summit. With more than 500 delegates from 70 countries and international organizations gathering in Vancouver, this high-profile event can serve as a much-needed catalyst to reinvigorate international commitment to gender equality in peacekeeping.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soviet statue destroyed by artillery in Nikishyne, Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images.

Since 5 September, much attention has been devoted to Vladimir Putin’s proposal to bring UN ‘blue helmets’ into Ukraine’s Donbas. His initiative is vintage Putin. It shifts the ground, reversing Russia’s rejection of a UN presence as recently as 2 September. It is double-edged, juxtaposed alongside threats of a wider conflict if the US provides lethal weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces. It outflanks the opponent, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who has been calling for a UN presence since February 2015. It earns praise (notably from Germany’s outgoing foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who called it a ‘change in [Russia’s] policy that we should not gamble away’).…  Seguir leyendo »

Les attentats terroristes sont la première préoccupation pour une grande majorité de Français, et le président Macron affirme que « la lutte contre la menace terroriste est la priorité des prochaines années ». Mais comment mettre en œuvre cette priorité ? Renforce-t-on la sécurité de la France en écrasant l’organisation Etat islamique (AI) à Mossoul, en Irak ?

C’est le raisonnement qu’ont tenu les Etats-Unis après le 11-Septembre, quand ils portèrent la guerre en Afghanistan pour en chasser les talibans, qui y avaient accueilli Al-Qaida. Est-ce la bonne réponse ? Les opérations extérieures pèsent sur le budget, et, à l’heure où le respect de la contrainte budgétaire conditionne la restauration de sa crédibilité, la France ne peut se payer le luxe de se tromper de stratégie.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yes, MONUSCO Needs To Stay in the DRC

The mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) was amended and renewed until 31 March, 2018. The mission is now tasked to oversee and support the transitional election process in the troubled African nation, continue to protect civilians, but its maximum allocated force strength has been reduced by three thousand personnel.

MONUSCO has had a troubled history and while it is far from an ideal mission, withdrawing from the country would be even more problematic for the DRC.

A Troubled Past And Present

Several reports have been published about MONUSCO in recent years (see “Challenges and the Path Forward for MONUSCO” or “MONUC/MONUSCO and Civilian Protection in the Kivus”) which should be consulted for more information regarding the successes and many shortfalls of this mission.…  Seguir leyendo »