If only There Were a Blueprint! Factors for Success and Failure of UN Peace-Building Operations. Jaïr van der Lijn - PDF

If only There Were a Blueprint! Factors for Success and Failure of UN Peace-Building Operations Jaïr van der Lijn Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael Clingendael Security and Conflict

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If only There Were a Blueprint! Factors for Success and Failure of UN Peace-Building Operations Jaïr van der Lijn Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael Clingendael Security and Conflict Programme (CSCP) Clingendael 7 P.O. Box AB The Hague The Netherlands Telephone Telefax Internet and Radboud University Nijmegen Institute for Management Research Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM) Thomas van Aquinostraat 3 P.O. Box HK Nijmegen The Netherlands Telephone Internet Abstract In spite of the fact that UN peacekeeping operations are a relative new field for scholarly research, the literature on the subject has grown into a substantial body. This article distils from this body of scholarly literature eleven clusters of factors for success and failure for UN peacekeeping operations in general and tests these on four case studies Cambodia, Mozambique, Rwanda and El Salvador of one particular type of UN peacekeeping operation: the UN peace-building operations. It concludes that although the results of the four cases of UN peace-building operations largely confirm the factors for success and failure as found in literature for UN peacekeeping operations in general, theory on UN peace-building operations still needs adjustment and fine tuning. Amongst others, it appears from the cases that two factors that receive a lot of attention in literature the non-use of force by the operation and the need for a clear and detailed mandate are less important. Keywords 1 assessment issues; factors for success and failure; peace operations; peace building; security dilemma; causes of conflict; ownership Although in the media UN peacekeeping operations currently receive less attention than during their heyday in the first half of the 1990s, they are again deployed in similar numbers and at comparable scales. Typically, in spite of the fact that the first UN peacekeeping operation was deployed shortly after the Second World War, only the last ten to fifteen years have they become a more frequent subject of scholarly and policy oriented literature. Nonetheless, academics and policy makers have developed a number of factors for success and failure; these are requirements that operations must meet to increase the chances that they successfully contribute to durable peace. Durable peace is the achievement of negative peace and the sufficient addressing of the causes of conflict. Additionally, negative peace is the absence of direct physical violence, opposed to positive peace which entails more than only the absence of physical violence. The concept of positive peace also directs attention to the causes of conflict, such as the presence of social justice, a fair distribution of power and resources, equal protection and impartial enforcement of law. 1 In order to qualify as a success in this article, the contribution of the operation must have helped to establish ten years of negative peace and a positive development in remedying the causes of the conflict. The article distils clusters of factors for success and failure from the existing body of scholarly literature on UN peacekeeping operations in general and tests these clusters on one particular kind of UN peacekeeping operation: UN peace-building operations. For this purpose, UN peacekeeping operations are defined as those operations deployed by the United Nations which the organization itself regards as UN peacekeeping operations. To date, the UN has deployed 60 such operations under Chapter VI or Chapter VII mandate. 2 A UN peace-building operation is regarded as a UN peacekeeping operation that is supposed to do more than maintain the status quo. It is also aimed at building an agreementbased peace following an intrastate conflict. For that purpose it remains impartial towards the signatories, but may not always have their consent. 3 1 Johan Galtung, Violence, Peace, and Peace Research, Journal of Peace Research, vol.6, no.3, 1969, pp United Nations Peacekeeping Homepage, 13 November The concepts of impartial and consent are used in the same way as in Alex J. Bellamy, Paul Williams and Stuart Griffin, Understanding Peacekeeping (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004). They use a distinction of peace operations which originates from the British Army, in which a peace keeping operation is both with the consent 2 To begin this article, the most important general factors for success and failure of UN peacekeeping operations, according to literature on the topic, is reviewed. Next, case studies of UN peace-building operations are selected, which are also briefly assessed. Subsequently, the factors for success and failure of UN peacekeeping operations are tested on four cases of UN peace-building operations. The research for this part of the study was done both by literature and document study as well as through field research and interviews in all four countries under review, in addition to New York. Finally, a review is made regarding the extent the factors for success and failure of UN peacekeeping operations need adjustment in order to apply to UN peace-building operations. Factors for Success and Failure in UN Peacekeeping Operations: The Literature From scholarly and lessons learned literature on UN peacekeeping operations the following eleven clusters of factors for success and failure can be distilled. 4 Although in the practise of UN peacekeeping operations some additional lessons may have been learned these have not yet fully penetrated the body of scholarly literature. Consent, Willingness and Sincerity The United Nations Secretariat calls the genuine desire on the part of combatants to resolve their differences peacefully a prerequisite for the success of a peacekeeping operation. 5 Doyle and Sambanis find that an operation has the best chance for success if the parties have underlined their genuine desire for peace with a formal peace agreement. 6 Consent is important because if lost, the operation can only implement its mandate by military force. If an operaof the parties and impartial. Peace enforcement is still impartial but not necessarily with the consent of the parties. A partial operation without the consent of the parties is war. 4 Although research points out that factors such as the duration and intensity of the conflict, the number of factions, the type of conflict (ethnic, identity, language, etc.) and the level of democracy and economic development in the country are of great relevance to the chances for success, this research does not look at these endogenous factors as they cannot be addressed by a UN peacekeeping operation. For good statistical research on these factors, see: V. Page Fortna, Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace? International Intervention and the Duration of Peace after Civil War, International Studies Quarterly, vol.48, no.2, 2004, pp ; Michael W. Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, Building Peace: Challenges and Strategies after Civil War (n.p.: World Bank, 1999); Michael W. Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, International Peacebuilding: A Theoretical and Quantitative Analysis, American Political Science Review, vol.94, no.4, 2000, pp ; and Birger Heldt, Conditions for Successful Intrastate Peacekeeping Missions (n.p.: Uppsala University, 2001). 5 United Nations, Basic Facts about the United Nations (New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 2000). 3 tion is then not longer regarded as impartial, this would mean that it would loose its peacekeeping character and that it would cross the line into war fighting. 7 According to many scholars the presence of a peacekeeping operation in a conflict alters the situation on the ground. It forces the belligerents to recalculate the dangers and opportunities as a result of the introduction of the new factor. They argue that each party will question whether the road of peace still serves its best interests. The answer to this question depends largely upon the belligerent s momentum and military position. Each party will also question whether it views the United Nations as the best vehicle to travel the road it chose. Thus, the parties may view a peace process accompanied by a peacekeeping operation as a desirable alternative for war, but they can also see the mission as a threat to their security and interests. Nonetheless, even if an uncooperative party, or spoiler, chooses war, it can view the operation as an opportunity to manipulate or recuperate. In such a case parties may be insincere and break their promises later on. The choices parties make are thought to depend, in large part, on the design, the type and the configuration of the mission. If the operation offers a realistic peace they would be likely to react differently than if it is merely a token force. 8 Moreover, sincerity at the time of signing a peace agreement is not regarded to be sufficient by many scholars. They point out that peace agreements also often bring tensions to the surface within parties; the unity that was maintained for the sake of war can easily be lost once peace breaks out. Peace can then frustrate the aims of certain parts of a coalition, giving reasons for splinter groups to break away. In addition, even if a party sincerely intended to reach peace, it most often did not do so unconditionally and can become disappointed. Subsequently, it is often hard to distinguish disappointment from insincerity. Furthermore, such a condition does not necessarily have to be publicly and explicitly stated in a peace agreement. For example, União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), in Angola, 6 Doyle and Sambanis, Building Peace. 7 Gareth J. Evans, Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond (St. Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1993); Darya Pushkina, Towards Successful Peace-Keeping: Remembering Croatia, Cooperation and Conflict, vol.39, no.4, 2004, pp ; Duane Bratt, Explaining Peacekeeping Performance: The UN in Internal Conflicts, International Peacekeeping, vol.4, no.3, 1997, pp.45-70; Steven R. Ratner, The UN Peacekeeping: Building Peace in Lands of Conflicts after the Cold War (New York: St. Martin s Press, 1995); Michael W. Doyle, Ian Johnstone and Robert C. Orr, Strategies for Peace: Conclusions and Lessons, in Michael W. Doyle, Ian Johnstone and Robert C. Orr (eds.), Keeping the Peace: Multidimensional UN Operations in Cambodia and El Salvador (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp Michael Wesley, Casualties of the New World Order: The Causes of Failure of UN Missions to Civil Wars (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1997); Pushkina, Towards Successful Peace-Keeping ; Doyle and Sambanis, Building Peace; David Carment and Dane Rowlands, Three s Company: Evaluating Third-Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflict, Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol.42, no.5, 1998, pp ; Dan Smith, Trends and Causes of Armed Conflicts, in Norbert Ropers, et al. (eds.), Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation (n.p.: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, 2000); and Stephen J. Stedman, Spoiler Problems in Peace Processes, International Security, vol.22, no.2, 1997, pp expected to win the elections and for that reason only it agreed to sign the peace accords. When this condition was not met, it was disappointed and renewed the conflict. 9 Impartiality and the Non-Use of Force It is generally thought that a peacekeeping operation needs to remain impartial and has to be regarded as such, because otherwise it runs the risk of losing the consent of the parties and becoming a party itself in the conflict. 10 The principle of non-use of force is closely related to impartiality as it is thought to be more likely that an operation is regarded to be impartial if no force is used. Generally it is said that if a peacekeeping operation has lost the consent of the parties and is regarded to be, or is, partial, its continuation requires adapting the mandate towards war fighting. 11 During the 1990s, operations like the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Yugoslavia and the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in Somalia faced huge problems amongst others because their mandates were not changed, when they became seen as partial and they subsequently became caught in the middle ground between peacekeeping and war fighting. 12 The Brahimi report concludes that the consent of the local parties, impartiality and the use of force only in self-defence should remain the bedrock principles of peacekeeping. 13 However, the awareness that parties may be insincere, may withdraw consent or that their leadership may loose control over the fighting forces as discussed under the factor consent, willingness and sincerity leads the Brahimi panel to weaken its own statement on the importance of impartiality and non-use of force. It acknowledges that if parties withdraw their consent once an operation is deployed, the operation should also be able to defend its mandate. Impartiality, in that case, is defined as adherence to the principles of the Charter and to the objectives of a mandate that is rooted in those Charter principles. In addition, the non-use of force should, according to the Brahimi panel, in some cases also be abandoned because it is not only operationally justified, but also morally compelled. Peacekeeping operations should, according to the report, be willing to use force in order to defend, among others, the 9 Ibidem. 10 Evans, Cooperating for Peace. 11 Evans, Cooperating for Peace; Pushkina, Towards Successful Peace-Keeping ; Bratt, Explaining Peacekeeping Performance ; Ratner, The UN Peacekeeping; and Doyle, Johnstone and Orr, Strategies for Peace. 12 Evans, Cooperating for Peace. 13 Lakhdar Brahimi, Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, UN doc. A/55/305- S/2000/809, 21 August mandate and civilians. 14 In the last few years this has also been put into practise in some of the UN peacekeeping operations. Co-Operation from Important Outside Actors The United Nations Secretariat names strong political support by the international community and the provision of the resources necessary to achieve the operation s objectives as prerequisites for the success of an operation. 15 Also, several scholars found that the chances for success of a peacekeeping operation are larger if the international community embodied by the permanent members of the Security Council and the troop contributing countries fully support the operation and back it with funds and resources. 16 Bratt points especially at the importance of support from the United States. 17 The reports of the Independent Inquiry on Rwanda and the Secretary-General on Srebrenica also argue that an important reason why the United Nations failed in those cases was the lack of political will by the international community. 18 In addition, in his Supplement to an Agenda for Peace, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali warned that a lack of political will, and following from this the lack of finances at the United Nations to implement the tasks assigned to it, is dangerous. 19 Furthermore, according to Evans and Pushkina, it is necessary that outside backers and suppliers of the belligerents end their support for violent means and stimulate the nonviolent resolution of the conflict. 20 Wesley and Bratt even argue that this link is one of the potentially most important mechanisms of influence on the success of a peacekeeping operation. Often, member states have or have had such a sponsoring link with a conflicting party. If these member states feel they have an interest in using their links to restrain their clients this provides the peacekeeping operation with enormous leverage over the protagonists. It is 14 Ibidem. 15 United Nations, Basic Facts about the United Nations. 16 Evans, Cooperating for Peace; Bratt, Explaining Peacekeeping Performance ; and Doyle and Sambanis, Building Peace. 17 Bratt, Explaining Peacekeeping Performance. 18 Independent Inquiry, Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Actions of the United Nations during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, UN doc. S/1999/1257, 16 December 1999; and Secretary-General, Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 53/35: The Fall of Srebrenica, UN doc. A/54/549, 15 November Secretary-General, Supplement to an Agenda for Peace: Position Paper of the Secretary-General on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, UN doc. A/50/60 - S/1995/1, 3 January Evans, Cooperating for Peace; and Pushkina, Towards Successful Peace-Keeping. 6 argued that the more dependent the protagonists are upon these links, the larger the chance for co-operation. 21 Sense of Security of the Parties Although less prominent, several scholars argue that in order to increase the chance of a successful disarmament and demobilisation process, an operation requires sufficient strength to guarantee the security of the parties. 22 The conflict and its history have often created a perception amongst parties that the other is not to be trusted and that one has to provide for one s own security against the threat of the other. The parties often face a security dilemma, in which they have armed themselves for the purpose of self-defense. In order to stop this spiral, to break this security dilemma and to enable disarmament and demobilization, an operation needs to provide alternative sources for a sense of security. For this reason, parties must perceive the intervention as sustained, committed and credible. Carment and Rowlands point out that the chances for success increase strongly if the parties view that the third party is willing to enforce the settlement. 23 Strong, third-party involvement is also key in what Hampson calls fostering ripeness. He describes ripeness as a fostered, not inherited condition. 24 (see below) According to the Brahimi report, military components of peacekeeping operations must be capable of defending themselves, other mission components and the mission s mandate. 25 This is a broad concept of self-defence, as it includes the possibility that peacekeeping operations have to use force and should be prepared to do so against those who target civilians or deny humanitarian access to civilian populations. What follows from this is that peacekeeping operations should not be prepared for best-case scenarios, but for worst-case scenarios. Until 2000 the Secretariat has, however, in the view of the Brahimi-report often applied bestcase planning assumptions to situations where the local actors have historically exhibited worst-case behaviour. 26 Since the report this lesson has generally been implemented. 21 Wesley, Casualties of the New World Order; and Bratt, Explaining Peacekeeping Performance. 22 Evans, Cooperating for Peace; Pushkina, Towards Successful Peace-Keeping ; Roland Paris, Broadening the Study of Peace Operations, International Studies Review, vol.2, no.3, 2000, pp.27-44; Barbara F. Walter, Designing Transitions from Civil War: Demobilization, Democratization, and Commitments to Peace, International Security, vol.24, no.1, 1999, pp ; Fen O. Hampson, Nurturing Peace: Why Peace Settlements Succeed or Fail (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996); and Carment and Rowlands, Three s Company. 23 Carment and Rowlands, Three s Company. 24 Hampson, Nurturing Peace. 25 Brahimi, Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. 7 Clear, Appropriate and Achievable Mandate The United Nations Secretariat gives a clear mandate as a further prerequisite for the success of an operation. 27 The objectives stated in a mission s mandate are generally regarded to be of enormous importance to the success of a peacekeeping operation. Also the Brahimi report views a clear, credible and achievable mandate as very important. 28 The extent to which mandates are achievable and appropriate to the situation on the ground depends on the diagnosis of the conflict on which the objectives are based.
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