As the UN has grappled with the recurrence of civil war, the spread of organized crime, and rise of extremism, it has placed an increasing focus on the rule of law as the overarching objective for its engagements. This is an important conceptual shift, and one that has generated new forms of engagement and opportunities for the UN. It could provide an important normative basis for the UN to help frame and support international engagement in one of the most important issues in contemporary international politics, the transformations away from authoritarian rule that are underway in the broader Middle East.
Reports by region: Asia
Shaky Foundations: An Assessment of the UN's Rule of Law Support AgendaCenter on International CooperationPublished December 1, 2011
From Militants to Policemen: Three Lessons from U.S. Experience with DDR and SSRUnited States Institute of PeacePublished November 17, 2011
This report is based on the panel presentation and the views expressed at a September 12, 2011 meeting of the Security Sector Reform working group. The panel included retired Ambassador James Dobbins, RAND Corp., retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, Center for New American Security, retired Ambassador John Blaney, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Melanne Civic, the Center for Complex Operations. Robert Perito, the Director of USIP’s Security Sector Governance Center, moderated the panel. Consolidating the legitimate use of force in the hands of the state is a
vital first step in post-conflict peacebuilding. Transitional
governments must move quickly to neutralize rival armed groups and
provide a basic level of security for citizens.
Peace Operations and Organized Crime: Enemies or Allies?International Peace InstitutePublished October 12, 2011
Peace operations are increasingly on the front line in the international community’s fight against organized crime. This book explores how, in some cases, peace operations and organized crime are clear enemies, while in others, they may become tacit allies.
The threat posed by organized crime to international and human security has become a matter of considerable strategic concern for national and international decisionmakers, so it is somewhat surprising how little thought has been devoted to addressing the complex relationship between organized crime and peace operations. This volume addresses this gap, questioning the emerging orthodoxy that portrays organized crime as an external threat to the liberal peace championed by western and allied states and delivered through peace operations.
Based upon a series of case studies it concludes that organized crime is both a potential enemy and a potential ally of peace operations, and it argues for the need to distinguish between strategies to contain organized crime and strategies to transform the political economies in which it flourishes. The editors argue for the development of intelligent, transnational, and transitional law enforcement that can make the most of organized crime as a potential ally for transforming political economies, while at the same time containing the threat it presents as an enemy to building effective and responsible states.
Military Planning to Protect Civilians: Proposed Guidance for United Nations Peacekeeping OperationsStimson CenterPublished September 1, 2011
Since 1999, an increasing proportion of UN peacekeeping operations (UN PKOs) have been mandated to use force to protect civilians from physical violence. Although recent research and UN efforts have helped clarify that the protection of civilians (POC) is a critical and unavoidable requirement for UN PKOs, its implications for UN planning, and particular planning for the military component, prior to and during deployment remain largely unaddressed in formal guidance. Recent initiatives by DPKO and individual missions to develop guidance, conceptual tools, and working methods to implement POC mandates have demonstrated remarkable ingenuity.
This document is intended to support those processes by drawing on recent scholarship and operational research on the challenges of ending complex civil conflicts. It seeks to apply that research to better employ the military capabilities of UN PKOs to alter conflict dynamics in order to end attacks on civilians. Drawing on lessons from recent UN PKOs and interviews with mission personnel from a wide variety of contexts, it proposes a shift from a primarily reactive approach based on crisis response, to a proactive one that seizes the initiative and applies pressure on armed actors responsible for violence against the civilian populace.
Partners in Preventive Action: The U.S. and International InstitutionsCouncil on Foreign RelationsPublished September 1, 2011
The unipolar moment, to the extent it ever existed, has now truly passed. The United States is part of a globalized world, in which the flows of goods, finance, people, and much more connect us to other countries as never before. But for all the myriad benefits globalization brings, it also means that the challenges of the coming decades—be they generated by resource competition, climate change, cybercrime, terrorism, or classic competition and rivalry—cannot be solved or even mitigated by one country alone. Countries will need to cooperate on policies that extend across borders to address issues that affect them all.
In this Council Special Report, CFR scholars Paul B. Stares and Micah Zenko argue that the United States should increasingly look to international institutions—the United Nations and regional organizations like the European Union, the African Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—as partners in conflict prevention and peacemaking worldwide. These organizations can serve as a platform for developing and enforcing international norms; provide a source of legitimacy for diplomatic and military efforts; and aggregate the operational resources of their members, all of which can increase the ease and effectiveness of American peacemaking efforts.
Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Peace Operations: Overview of Recent Efforts and Lessons LearnedPearson Peacekeeping CentrePublished September 1, 2011
This background paper has been produced for a workshop on “The Women, Peace and Security Resolutions: From Rhetoric to Reality”, convened by Peacebuild in Ottawa on June 15, 2011 with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The purpose of gender mainstreaming in peace operations is to ensure
that the needs of men and women in host societies are met adequately,
and documents such as Resolution 1325 are important tools for
international organizations and peacekeeping troops in this work. The
success of mainstreaming, however, depends on how seriously
international actors incorporate gender sensitivity into their policies
Security Council Cross-Cutting Report: Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictPublished July 20, 2011
In addition to reviewing developments relating to protection of civilians as a thematic issue on the Security Council’s agenda, including in the context of UN peacekeeping, the present report includes a statistical analysis of Council decisions in country-specific situations in 2010 and how protection issues were addressed. The Secretary-General’s reporting on protection of civilians, as well as the Council’s use of sanctions against individuals or entities committing violations against civilians are
also reviewed. The two case studies —on Côte d’Ivoire and Libya—are actually from 2011. They were included, however, because of their obvious importance. They offer contrasting perspectives on recent Council action to protect civilians and a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis than what the statistical analysis is able to provide.
Fundamentals Of Protecting CiviliansHenry L. Stimson CenterPublished April 7, 2011
President Obama has used the protection of civilians as the primary rationale for initiating military action in Libya, with the support of the UN Security Council. Libya isn't the only country in crisis where interventions have been undertaken with an explicit objective to protect civilians. Ten UN peacekeeping operations have been authorized to use force to protect civilians - most recently in the Ivory Coast, where attack helicopters are being used to neutralize artillery that could be used against civilians in Abidjan. Beyond peacekeeping, the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan have released tactical directives on the protection of civilians.
The U.S. Administration, for political and practical reasons, is working to clarify what it means by the "protection of civilians," why it is a U.S. strategic interest and when and how the concept should be applied. President Obama began to address these issues in his March 28 speech at the National Defense University. But messaging is important insofar as words are followed by deeds on the ground.
The concept of Protection of Civilians has primarily been used to describe activities undertaken during consent-based interventions such as UN peacekeeping operations mandated and authorized to use force to protect civilians (as defined by international humanitarian law) under imminent threat of physical violence. The Obama Administration and the Security Council have now used the concept as the rationale for the non-consensual intervention in Libya. Given non-consensual interventions directly challenge international norms of sovereignty and usually require the application of greater military force, they are inherently more controversial and carry a different set of risks then consent-based interventions to protect civilians. The Administration and its allies would be well served to make a distinction between consent-based and non-consensual interventions to protect civilians so that the successes or failures of one do not undermine or artificially accelerate progress on the other.
Although the U.S. government has begun to adopt policies to prevent and respond to atrocities, guidance and doctrine (specific to the protection of civilians) for deployed military have yet to be developed. With such uncertainty, why should the United States and the international community risk action? There are moral, legal, practical and strategic reasons.
- In the 28 March speech, the President said "if we waited one more day, Benghazi ... could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."
- Leaders have also raised legal reasons, sighting international humanitarian and human rights laws and nascent norms that outline an international responsibility to protect.
- "The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution's future credibility to uphold global peace and security." (President Obama, March 28, 2011)
The third reason - practical and strategic - is the most critical. In today's conflicts, failing to act undermines the legitimacy and credibility of governments and inter-governmental bodies. A UN or coalition failure in one arena has implications for its actions in others.
Why is legitimacy and credibility so important in today's conflicts? The revolution in communication technology allows the capture and transmission of real or rumored abuses and atrocities in real time. This information has altered civilian engagement and influence in the outcome of war. How the conflicting parties, and international actors that intervene, are perceived affects how stakeholders on the ground (civilians that can either support a nascent state or an armed actor that challenges that state) and around the globe (voters and tax payers that are needed to support politicians and programs that fund interventions abroad) see their interests.
The international community has to adhere to at least three fundamentals in an intervention that aims to protect civilians:
1) Political Strategy. Military power remains a blunt instrument that is primarily designed to defeat an enemy, not to protect civilians. Although doctrine and guidance is being considered to guide militaries, sustainable peace and protection of rights requires a political strategy to decide whether military force is being used to freeze a conflict in order to bring parties to the table or to mitigate the risk to civilians while a conflict plays out. Once conflict ebbs, what strategy will bring diverse stakeholders to the table to find an appropriate way forward?
2) Positioning. The intervention should provide protection in an impartial fashion. In other words, the decision on whether and how to intervene should be primarily based on stopping the atrocity, not on who is perpetrating it. In the case of Libya, that means being clear that NATO is not siding with one armed actor or another and will protect civilians regardless of who is attacking them. Such a position can help deter rebels from targeting civilians or undertaking offensive operations that may harm civilians (beyond the bounds of international humanitarian law) and combat assertions that the operation is being undertaken for spurious reasons.
3) Planning. Effective planning for protection operations is critical to their success. If the protection of civilians is the principal objective of the operation, then every political, economic and military course of action must be designed to reduce harm to civilians. Such planning requires a deep understanding of the conflict dynamics. A very condensed summary of planning considerations include:
→ Identify which civilians are at risk, why and what actions they might take to protect themselves.
→ Identify who is threatening or perpetrating violence against civilians, why and how.
→ Choose courses of action that A) undermine or remove the ability of the perpetrators to attack civilians and B) reduce the vulnerability of the civilians at risk.
→ Anticipate and plan to mitigate potential negative consequences of these actions (in the short, medium and long-term) to civilians.
The President's 28 March speech at NDU touched on almost every fundamental outlined above - looking to a political solution and avoiding the issue of regime change through military power. Thus far, the NATO coalition seems to be following the fundamentals. But given the fact that several nations in the coalition - including the United States - have declared that regime change is a national policy goal, pressures to (a) arm or train rebels on one side of the conflict, (b) cobble together peace agreements that may be contested, and/or (c) legitimize governments that may be unrepresentative and corrupt could well contribute to further violence and abuse. Such actions undermine all three of the fundamentals outlined above and could tarnish the credibility and legitimacy of the protection of civilian doctrine, and the coalition effort as well.
Calls by the United States and allies for Qadhafi to step down should be separate from the military operation, based on his clear violations of human rights and/or international humanitarian law, and part of a political strategy that differentiates between Qadhafi and those directly responsible for abuses, and others who may need to be included in Libya's future government.
The Case for UN PeacekeepingCouncil on Foreign RelationsPublished March 2, 2011
While UN peacekeeping is in need of overarching reforms, it is too easy to forget the essential role it plays in promoting U.S. foreign policy goals. UN peacekeeping missions underpin stability in Lebanon, Haiti, Somalia, and the Indo-Pakistani border region of Kashmir. UN missions are also critical to solidifying American gains after U.S. troops leave; it is UN peacekeepers who have prevented the resurgence of violence in post-conflict areas like the Sinai desert, Bosnia, and Kosovo. In an era where a dwindling number of allies are willing to contribute to international peace and security, the UN is a reliable partner with the United States in many troubled regions--often willing to work alongside, or in lieu of, U.S. soldiers.
As Washington gears up for a tough budgetary fight, the White House must make the case for UN peacekeeping. At no other time in its sixty-three-year history has UN peacekeeping needed the United States more, nor has the United States ever needed UN peacekeeping so much. And only by shoring up support at home can President Barack Obama establish a platform for more vigorous U.S. leadership at the UN.
Being a Peacekeeper: The Challenges and Opportunities of 21st-Century Peace OperationsPearson Peacekeeping CentrePublished February 28, 2011
In its 2010 report, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) emphasized the need to broaden the base of troop- and police-contributing countries (TCCs and PCCs). The Special Committee further recommended that “coordinated initiatives be taken to reach out to new contributors, that former and existing contributors be encouraged to contribute further and that support to emerging contributors be provided.” The joint IPI-Pearson Being a Peacekeeper Series is a response, in part, to those recommendations. The November 2010 roundtable was just the beginning of a conversation. Future meetings, both in New York and in regional capitals, will provide space for continued dialogue among TCCs and PCCs in 2011.