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Research Report

Making UN Peacekeeping More Robust:: Protecting the Mission, Persuading the Actors

Patrice Sartre
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2011
Pages: 44

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. 1-1)
  4. (pp. 2-9)

    Peacekeeping is the result of the contradiction between the rejection of war and the need to keep peace by force. Still based on the idea of the consent of the parties—a concept that had lost some of its weight by the end of the twentieth century—peace operations use the term robustness to designate a concern for the safety of their members or the local population. When the safety of these is threatened, peacekeeping is impelled to go beyond an exclusively defensive posture, and allow itself limited and local offensive actions, with the proviso that they are not diverted...

  5. (pp. 10-11)

    When the media, politicians, military experts, or researchers recommend the setting up of “robust” operations, what they usually have in mind is protecting the population or the peacekeeping mission itself. Failure to meet these objectives effectively is unacceptable and always highly visible. Sometimes more robustness is demanded in the hope that the mission will thereby be more effective, but this argument is an ambiguous one. We must keep in mind that peacekeeping does not attempt to achieve its objectives by force, and that therefore more force does not mean more effectiveness, or at least not directly. Nevertheless, peacekeeping must retain...

  6. (pp. 12-15)

    The term “doctrine” means a group of concepts that enables planning of a coherent program of action by international players, to present it to global opinion in terms that are universally understood, and, as necessary, to evaluate the legal responsibilities of the various actors, in terms of what they understand their mission to be.

    Having attempted to define under what conditions and to what end force might be exercised for peacekeeping, it has been concluded that this might be to protect peacekeeping soldiers and the local population, but not to achieve the objectives of the operation, since, being political, they...

  7. (pp. 16-25)

    Robust peacekeeping “has to be based on a genuine strategic unity of vision among the triad of the Security Council, the troop contributors, and the Secretariat, which will implement the strategy. That unity of vision obviously depends on the political choices made by member states, but it can be nurtured by bringing this triad closer to the mission.”46 For the triad to be a cohesive whole, two initiatives can be envisaged as part of a more thoroughgoing reform.

    The New York headquarters must promote a commonality of views among the troopcontributing nations, that will lead national capitals to give their...

  8. (pp. 26-33)

    The notion that peacekeeping operations lack robustness often leads to the use of equipment designed for combat in an attempt to achieve it. To think that equipment designed for war will offer this robustness is an illusion that Western militaries are gradually, albeit reluctantly, abandoning. Moreover, before seeking robustness through weaponry, it is advisable to look for it in the correct organization of forces and command structure.

    The structure of the UN command system is often debated, and cited as a cause of weakness in peacekeeping operations. I do not propose to take a position in the debate regarding the...

  9. (pp. 34-39)

    These pages have tried to determine the objectives, doctrines, and mechanisms that would make peacekeeping more robust. Peacekeeping ought to be robust enough to convince two or more belligerents to stop a conflict and to be able to protect the political initiatives of the international community, its actors, and the local population without showing weakness. This level of robustness should still not necessarily include force, but it should henceforth include the will, the organization, and the resources to never have to yield before violence and to have the capacity to react offensively each time the peace process or its actors...

  10. (pp. 40-40)