Both the United Nations (UN) Security Council and the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) have a vested interest in conducting more effective peace operations in Africa. Both councils want to build on the various UN-AU peace and security coordination mechanisms that have been established since 2006 and support the implementation of the AU’s principle of “non-indifference.” In many respects, considerable progress has been made with the UN and AU enjoying a deep, multidimensional and maturing relationship. Yet disagreements remain over how best to respond to particular peace and security challenges in Africa, and the AU still suffers from important capability gaps with respect to peace operations.
Reports: African Union Peacekeeping
Peace Operations, the African Union, and the United Nations: Toward More Effective PartnershipsInternational Peace InstitutePublished April 25, 2013
Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in AfricaInternational Peace InstitutePublished January 31, 2013
Ending impunity and promoting justice and reconciliation reflect core objectives underpinning the African Union. Amid renewed debate about justice and peace on the African continent, this report investigates the issue of impunity and its relationship with peace, justice, reconciliation, and healing. The report proposes a draft Policy Framework on Transitional Justice for adoption by the relevant organs of the AU and recommends an advocacy role for the Panel of the Wise in promoting and reinforcing guiding principles on the rule of law and transitional justice across the African continent.
Security Council Working Methods and UN Peace Operations: The Case of Chad and CAR, 2006-2010Center on International CooperationPublished April 11, 2012
This paper, the second in a series on Security Council working methods and the performance of peace
operations, addresses the Council’s engagement in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) from early 2006 to the end of 2010. While the Council explored options for deploying some sort of UN peacekeeping presence to these countries from mid-2006 onwards, these discussions were secondary to much higher-profile debates about the possibility of a large-scale force in Darfur. After Chad had stated its initial opposition to a UN military deployment, France initiated proposals for the deployments of an EU
military mission linked to a UN police presence to Chad and CAR in mid-2007.
After lengthy negotiations, the two organizations deployed in early 2008, and operated in parallel until March 2009. The EU mission then closed, following a pre-arranged schedule, while the UN mission (MINURCAT) deployed a military presence. However, Chad put a growing number of obstacles in MINURCAT’s way, and eventually withdrew its consent altogether. MINURCAT ended its operations in
The goal of this paper is to show how the Security Council’s working methods affected its dealings with Chad and CAR prior to the launch of MINURCAT and the parallel EU mission (EUFOR Tchad/RCA) and its oversight of the two operations from 2008 to 2010. While the two missions’ performance was shaped by multiple contextual factors (and in EUFOR’s case, European politics) it offers lessons about the relevance of working methods to an operation’s effectiveness. This is particularly true because MINURCAT was subject to almost constant political pressure from the government of Chad, and the Council’s working methods inevitably shaped elements of its response to this pressure.
Peace Operations Partnerships: Complex but Necessary CooperationCenter for International Peace OperationsPublished March 19, 2012
In a short paper for the Center for International Peace Operations, the German think-tank, Jake Sherman and Richard Gowan argue that as NATO pulls back from Afghanistan and the UN downsizes some missions (including those in Haiti and the Congo) organizations including the AU, Arab League and ASEAN may take more responsibility for new peace operations.
In cases including Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia and the Congo, multiple organizations are working together to consolidate stability and build functioning states. Although NATO and the UN are the main actors in global peace operations today, it is likely that a variety of other organizations including the African Union (AU), the Arab League and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will play an increasingly prominent role in the future. These actors will need a great deal of help, ranging from military assistance to administrative back-up. The UN, NATO and EU will be called upon to play significant supporting roles. Managing these complex partnerships will be essential to making existing and new peace operations succeed.
Peace Operations Partnerships: Assessing Cooperation Mechanisms between SecretariatsCenter for International Peace OperationsPublished March 16, 2012
During the last decade, peace operation partnerships between the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations have advanced considerably both in operational and institutional terms. With the growing involvement of regional organizations in the area of peacekeeping, coordination between the UN and its potential partners is important in order to avoid duplication or outright inter-organizational rivalry. Recognizing that institutionalised relations between the UN and emerging peacekeeping actors such as the European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and even NATO can lead to beneficial burdensharing and mutual reinforcement, organizations have made conscious efforts to move from ad-hoc cooperation to more permanent and predictable mechanisms. Effective peace operations partnerships depend on coherent and strategically structured relations at the inter-secretariat level: different organizational cultures, agendas and approaches need to be systematically integrated. Despite some progress in UN-EU, UN-AU and UN-NATO relations, significant challenges persist in designing, maintaining and improving interorganizational schemes for peace operations.
The African Union's Conflict Management CapabilitiesCouncil on Foreign RelationsPublished October 1, 2011
In this Working Paper, Paul D. Williams clarifies how Africa's strategic importance to the United States has increased substantially over the past decade. In particular, the continent is a growing source of U.S. energy imports; it houses suspected terrorists; and it offers profitable business opportunities, especially in the energy, telecommunication, and minerals sectors. As Chinese and Indian influence spread and explicitly challenge the U.S. development model, Africa is an arena of intensifying great power rivalry. And, critically, Africa remains the major epicenter for mass atrocities as well as a potential source of transcontinental health pandemics. Consequently, stabilizing the continent should be a core U.S. policy goal.
The African Union (AU) has great potential as a U.S. partner in Africa. Unfortunately, the AU's practical capabilities in the field of conflict management suffer from a persistent capabilities-expectations gap, falling well short of the ambitious vision and rhetoric contained in its founding documents. The AU's shortcomings are not fatal, however; the U.S. government can bolster AU conflict management capacity in the near and long terms.
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.
Dec. 10: The African Union mission in Somalia: decision timeStockholm International Peace Research InstitutePublished December 10, 2010
The African Union (AU) dubbed 2010 the year of ‘peace and security in Africa’. For the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) it has been anything but. Not only has AMISOM continued to suffer heavy casualties but several non-governmental organizations have accused it of killing hundreds of civilians through indiscriminate shelling of residential areas. There is near-universal agreement that AMISOM in its current form is incapable of fulfilling its mandate to help bring peace and stability to Somalia, but time is running out to find an alternative.
Read the rest of his essay here on SIPRI's website.
Countering Terrorism in East Africa: The U.S. ResponseCongressional Research Service (CRS)Published November 3, 2010
The United States government has implemented a range of programs to counter violent extremist threats in East Africa in response to Al Qaeda’s bombing of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 and subsequent transnational terrorist activity in the region. These programs include regional and bilateral efforts, both military and civilian. The programs seek to build regional intelligence, military, law enforcement, and judicial capacities; strengthen aviation, port, and border security; stem the flow of terrorist financing; and counter the spread of extremist ideologies. Current U.S.-led regional counterterrorism efforts include the State Department’s East Africa Regional Strategic Initiative (EARSI) and the U.S. military’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), part of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The United States has also provided significant assistance in support of the African Union’s (AU) peace operations in Somalia, where the country’s nascent security forces and AU peacekeepers face a complex insurgency waged by, among others, Al Shabaab, a local group linked to Al Qaeda that often resorts to terrorist tactics. The State Department reports that both Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab pose serious terrorist threats to the United States and U.S. interests in the region. Evidence of linkages between Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, highlight another regional dimension of the threat posed by violent extremists in the area.
Congress has appropriated increasing counterterrorism assistance for Africa over the past decade, and has demonstrated continued interest in both the nature of the terrorist threat and efforts to counter it through hearings, investigations, and legislation. Questions have been raised regarding
- the level of U.S. funding and personnel dedicated to these efforts;
- the underlying assumptions on which these programs have been developed;
- cooperation between implementing agencies; and
- the extent to which U.S. programs actually prevent or mitigate radicalization,
- recruitment, and support for violent extremist organizations.
This report provides an overview of current U.S. counterterrorism assistance programs and influence operations in East Africa and explores some of the strategies underpinning them. It also provides a brief description of the evolving terrorist threat in the region. The security cooperation and civil affairs activities of the U.S. military in the region have grown substantially in the past decade, primarily in response to these threats, and the report explores the various roles of the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury, Justice, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among other agencies, in implementing counterterrorism and counterextremism programs in the region. The report does not address covert or clandestine operations to collect intelligence or capture or eliminate terrorist targets in the region.
Related legislation includes several bills introduced in the aftermath of the July 2010 Kampala bombings: H.Con.Res. 303, H.Res. 1538, H.Res. 1596, and H.Res. 1708, as well as S.Res. 573, on Somalia; S. 3757, on Ethiopia; and H.Res. 1708, on Eritrea. For further information, see CRS Report R41070, Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy, coordinated by John Rollins; CRS Report RL33911, Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace, by Ted Dagne; and CRS Report RL34003, Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa, by Lauren Ploch.
Private Contractors in Conflict Zones: The Good, the Bad, and the Strategic ImpactInstitute for National Strategic StudiesPublished October 28, 2010
"There has been very little investigation by the U.S. Government into the strategic impact of contractors. Yet contractors reduce the political capital necessary to commit U.S. forces to war, impact the legitimacy of a counterinsurgency effort, and reduce its perceived morality. These factors attack the Nation's critical vulnerability in an irregular war - the political will of the American people." - Strategic Forum #260
The United States has hired record numbers of contractors to serve in the conflict zones of Iraq and Afghanistan but has not seriously examined their strategic impact. There are clearly advantages to using contractors in conflict zones, but they have three inherent characteristics that have srious negative effects during counterinsurgency operations.
As of March 31, 2010, the United States deployed 175,000 troops and 207,000 contractors in the war zones. Contractors represented 50 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) workforce in Iraq and 59 percent in Afghanistan. These numbers include both armed and unarmed contractors. The presence of contractors on the battlefield is obviously not a new phenomenon but has dramatically increased from the ratio of 1 contractor to 55 military personnel in Vietnam to 1:1 in the Iraq and 1.43:1 in Afghanistan.
In this new Strategic Forum, Dr. T.X. Hammes explores the question "Does using contractors in a conflict zone make strategic sense?"