On September 18, 2017 UN Secretary General António Guterres said that sexual exploitation and abuse must end. Guterres spoke of the need for the UN to lead the way in eliminating the use of power and authority to engage in sexual exploitation. Speaking specifically of...
The perspectives of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S President Barack Obama on Syria are so different, you have to wonder if they are living on the same planet. Putin’s public rationale for intervening in Syria and backing President Bashar al-Assad boils down...
October 31 marked the tenth anniversary of the momentous UN resolution on women, peace and security—UNSCR 1325. This set a new international standard that requires all parties—the UN, states, and armed militias—to ensure that women participate fully in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. If this really worked, it would transform our militarized world.
There are no saints and even fewer geniuses in the conflict between Russia and Georgia over Ossetia. However, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, clearly the real power in Moscow, has certain proven himself even less saintly than other parties – and in the long term, less clever. Albeit with serious input from American miscalculations and atavistic politics and with the help of the hapless Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, Putin has made both Russia, and the world, a more dangerous place.
Peace operations continue to be one of the most visible areas of activity of the United Nations, one which the international organization can have a critical impact. Consider, for instance, that peacekeeping operations are growing. In October 2004, the surge in peacekeeping activity raised the number of peacekeepers to 54,200. The number of civilian police also increased to 5,900 and the civilian staff to 11,600. By the fall of 2005, the 18 operations around the world employed 83,000 troops, police, and civilian personnel – a more-or-less fivefold increase in the field personnel since 2000. By the fall of 2006, the deployment number had reached an all-time high of 93,000 men and women.
At the same time, peacekeeping operations are becoming more complex and comprehensive. In particular, with many of their tasks increasingly focusing on peacebuilding in post-conflict transitions, peace operations are now linked to longer-term development approaches, which call for integrated programs both within and outside the UN system. The UN Peacebuilding Commission was created to meet these new needs by strategically coordinating the actions of the different actors involved in peacekeeping.
On July 31, the UN Security Council (UNSC) passed resolution 1769 authorizing the creation of a 20,000-strong peacekeeping force to be deployed to the Darfur region of Sudan. This resolution has been hailed as a historic landmark on the way to fulfilling the “responsibility to protect” established in humanitarian law. Supporters of the resolution believe that this peacekeeping force will end the ongoing genocide, which has left 7,000 civilians dead each month.
Imagine a reconciliation process in Iraq that fails to include militias or Sunni and Shia hardliners? How about a reconciliation process in Afghanistan that sidelines violent Pashtos in the south? The chances of either process succeeding would be slim. In both cases, the excluded parties comprise a powerful majority and thus must be included for reconciliation to produce a lasting peace. Keep anyone out and they are bound to want in. That type of exclusion is exactly what is being proposed in Somalia. The country remains in turmoil following the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in December that toppled the Islamic Courts Union. Ethiopian troops continue to fight resistance in the capital Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country. Yet, amid this violence, Somali leaders in the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) refuse to include the former Islamic leadership, along with other sectors of society, in forthcoming talks. This grave mistake is bound to instigate further violence, much like Mogadishu has witnessed in the last months as hundreds have died in clashes in the city. As long as the current Somali government continues to exclude parties that are more popular than the TFG, Ethiopia, and the United States combined, reconciliation will be a mere façade.
President George W. Bush and his communications gurus are rolling out their campaign to use the 9-11 anniversary to revive support for the Iraq War. Madison Avenue could be helpful here, with all the practice it has associating things, like soap and sex, that don’t have much to do with each other.
The UN needs a rapidly deployable UN Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS). Such a force, if it currently existed, would already be on the ground in Lebanon, creating a secure environment for a replacement team of more permanent peacekeepers. In Sudan, UNEPS could have been deployed with 48 hours of the May peace agreement to stabilize a chaotic situation. Currently the UN does not have the capacity to respond rapidly to emergencies around the world.