UNAMID and MONUSCO, the Two Most Expensive UN Peacekeeping Operations: How Close Are They to Achieve Their Objectives?
( Note on how to cite this journal: Author, Date of the post, WMO Conflict Insight, Title of the post, ISSN: 2628-6998, https://worldmediation.org/conflict-insight )
UNAMID and MONUSCO (previously MONUC) have been the two most expensive peacekeeping operations in all UN history. Started in 2007 and 1999 respectively, the mandate of both operations have been repeatedly extended and expanded, but they are still far from achieving all of their objectives. Although the environment in each operation is extremely complex, these operations have manifested weaknesses in the implementation of their respective mandates, including lack of coordination, equipment and training, discipline, priorities and support by the host governments. This paper analyzes in some detail the two most complex UN peacekeeping operations ever launched and investigates the reasons why most of the two operations’ mandates have remained unachievable and elusive.
UNAMID and MONUSCO, the Two Most Expensive UN Peacekeeping Operations: How Close are they to achieve their Objectives?
CHAPTER I – INTRODUCTION
Since 2007, UNAMID in Darfur and since 2010, MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have struggled to manage a complex political and military situation with mixed results. At this time, both operations are still a long way from achieving their objectives. This dissertation will discuss and analyze these two peacekeeping operations and point out the difficulties that they are encountering in fulfilling their respective mandates. This study will identify the obstacles that have made these operations so lengthy, complex and expensive; and forecast how long these peacekeeping operations may have to stay in the ground if they are to achieve their mandate.
Most of the efforts made by the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers are concentrated in the African continent. Today, the UN manages a total of 18 active peacekeeping operations worldwide, with 10 of these in Africa. Among the African peacekeeping operations, two of them, UNAMID, the UN – African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur and MONUSCO, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consume 43% of the US $ 7 billion annual peacekeeping budget. These two operations have complex mandates and confront several difficulties to implement such mandates and achieve their objectives. The unstable environment in South Sudan and Congo for the last many years has shown the great limitations of the UN peacekeeping force to keep the peace. UN peacekeepers have learned to adapt to multiple and complicated situations, and have gone through five generations of peacekeeping operations but still, the current operations face a number of problems and difficulties which have impeded the successful accomplishment of their goals.
The end of World War II precipitated a number of wars throughout the African continent, some of them liberation movements fighting against the countries’ colonial powers and others were civil wars. Since 1960, more than 40 wars have resulted in more than 10 million deaths plus another 10 million refugees. In more recent times, the catastrophic civil wars in Somalia in 1993 and in Rwanda in 1994, and the inefficient and late response by the UN, contributed to disengage the powerful Western nations from African affairs, leaving the continent to take care of its own problems without sufficient human or material resources. This temporary neglect by the international community forced a group of regional organizations headed by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), to play a more decisive role in the deployment and management of peacekeeping operations. A number of African organizations, mostly organisms that had been initially created with the objective of developing the African economy, such as ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States; the ECCAS, the Economic Community of Central African States; SADC, the Southern African Development Community, IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and AMU, the Arab Maghreb Union, had to assume some security responsibilities. Some of these organizations, such as ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD and SADC, pressured by the unstable conditions developing in their regions, and on their own initiative but with the encouragement of the international community, adopted lengthy agreements assuming responsibility for the prevention and resolution of their regional conflicts. In the same manner, the AU took the important decision of creating CEWS, a Continental Early Warning System together with ASF, an African Standby Force, made up by 15,000 troops from the participating member states.
The Organization of African Unity, now the AU, early on passed a resolution in which the member countries agreed to accept the borders that were established by the European colonial powers, and which these nations inherited after their independence. The leaders throughout the continent understood that they had to face very serious political, social and economic problems, and that most of them were so weak that they could not afford the luxury of asking for, or demanding, a rectification of their frontiers. In this manner, the African nations accepted the partition of the continent created by the 1885 Congress of Berlin, which divided the African territories according to the whims of the European powers, and with no consideration for the ethnic or tribal composition of the African colonies. This artificial partition created a situation where Yoruba communities in Nigeria were forced to speak in English and Yoruba communities in Benin were forced to speak in French, as the same community was partitioned between two “national” frontiers.
This study will show that both UNAMID and MONUSCO have suffered important weaknesses in the implementation of their respective mandates, including:
a) Lack of coordination. Despite the existence of historical experience from other peacekeeping operations about how to coordinate efforts with other international organizations, the UN and the AU still do not seem to have learned to work effectively with each other.
b) Lack of equipment and training. Most of the peacekeepers in both UNAMID and MONUSCO come from other African countries. These soldiers are being paid by the UN for their service, which is based on an average of what a trained military troop would cost regardless of from where it came. However, a large majority of the peacekeepers participating in these operations lack the necessary skills, training or even equipment.
c) Lack of discipline. There have been gross violations of the AU and UN rules and regulations among the peacekeepers, but the military commanders have been unable or unwilling to discipline the soldiers that have committed the violations. The AU and UN peacekeepers have behaved unethically or even engaged in criminal activities, including rape, and have avoided punishment. This lack of discipline hinders the activities, the functions and the legitimacy of the combined AU/UN peacekeeping operations.
d) Lack of priorities. Both peacekeeping operations have lengthy and complex mandates, which dilute the resources and the efforts of the peacekeepers, and makes difficult or impossible for the peacekeepers to focus on specific mandates or specific areas. The net result is that few, if any, of the missions’ goals have been fulfilled.
e) Lack of support by the host government. The government of the DRC has repeatedly requested the AU and UN to begin withdrawing their peacekeepers, with the idea that this will accelerate the country’s return to normality. The government of the Sudan, for a long period of time, was against the idea of deploying peacekeepers in Darfur and accepted them only after intense pressure from the international community. After the formation of the independent government of South Darfur, the mission has been welcomed by the host government, although the Government of Sudan continues to resent the operation.
However, despite all the weaknesses and problems, it is probably true that the situation probably would have been worse without the presence of the AU/UN peacekeepers, although this conclusion is difficult to prove or to measure.
On May 5, 2006, the Darfur Peace Agreement seemed to have inaugurated a period of peace in South Sudan. Sponsored by the UN and the AU, the agreement called for the establishment of UNAMID, the largest peacekeeping operation in the world, with the main goals of facilitating humanitarian aid, protecting civilians and creating an environment conducive to peace. This operation is also charged with monitoring and reporting about the implementation of the peace agreement and about how the parties to the conflict deal with human rights, especially in the unstable border area with Chad and the Central African Republic. The AU was the first international organization to intervene in the conflict in 2006 by sending a peacekeeping mission to Darfur, which in 2008 was substituted by UNAMID, an AU/UN hybrid peacekeeping force.
On July 1, 2010, the UNSC passed its Resolution 1925 establishing MONUSCO, a peacekeeping operation with newer and broader mandate than its predecessor MONUC, which for the previous 11 years had been deployed to Congo with mixed results. MONUSCO is a powerful and well-manned peacekeeping operation with over 20,000 police and military personnel and observers, and with the mandate to use all available means, including force if necessary, to protect civilians and protect human rights and humanitarian personnel. It also counts with larger economic resources than its predecessor. Still, this gigantic UN effort has been criticized since its beginnings for still being too small for its complex mandate. Critics have highlighted that Congo is a huge country, of the size of Western Europe combined, and that even if all the authorized troops of the mission are deployed, that still this will represent about one peacekeeper per 12 square kilometers. In addition, another major limitation is that practically since its start this peacekeeping operation has been rejected by the government of the DRC, which repeatedly has requested that the peacekeepers be withdrawn, under the false assumption that such departure could improve the conditions and help the country return to normality. In response to this permanent soft opposition by Congo, the UN has been authorizing MONUSCO for one year at a time, fully aware that such short period of time is not sufficient to fulfill its complex and difficult mandate. However, in retrospective, it is clear that even if the operation had been deployed initially for a longer period of time, such as five years, that still the mandate could not be fulfilled.
In general, peacekeeping operations are considered positive steps that the international community takes to avoid worse humanitarian catastrophes. However, all completed peacekeeping operations to-date have been subject to intense analysis and evaluation with the objective to learn from the committed mistakes and avoid such errors in the future. As neither UNAMID nor MONUSCO have been completed, no overall evaluation of such peacekeeping operations exists, other than the historical traces left by UN memoranda, reports and correspondence and the analysis made by journalists covering these operations.
The methodology used in this study was developed by Diehl and Druckman. It is a framework which takes into consideration the mandate of each peacekeeping operation and the level of completion of such specific mandate. However, as neither UNAMID nor MONUSCO are completed operations, some adjustments to the methodology have been made to use whatever information is available up to this point. Other authors also have used the Diehl and Druckman methodology or framework in their analysis, but had to adapt such methodology to the specific circumstances of each case and to the data that is available. In this study, some adjustments were made to the framework to adapt it to the specific characteristics of UNAMID and MONUSCO and their complex mandates, which so far have been only either unfulfilled or just partially fulfilled. Most of the two operations’ mandates have remained unachievable and elusive.
In addition to this introductory chapter, this dissertation consists of a chapter about an overview about conflict and security in Africa, two chapters specifically to analyze the specific situation of UNAMID and MONUSCO, the two peacekeeping operations subject of this study, a discussion chapter and some concluding comments.
CHAPTER II – BACKGROUND INFORMATION – CONFLICT AND SECURITY IN AFRICA
Right at the end of the Cold War there was a short period of time in which it seemed that the newly found peace between the superpowers would exert a very positive influence in the rest of the world. The two superpowers, which before the Cold War were in constant antagonism about practically everything that was discussed in the SC, finally could agree on issues such as the withdrawal of Cuban troops from the People’s Republic of Angola, or to help Namibia obtain its independence. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, after many years in jail and in 1994 became the President of South Africa. The Ethiopian civil war, which had lasted 20 years, ended in 1991. Eritrea, also after many years of struggle, declared its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The 32-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire ended in 1997 and the country changed its name to the DRC. Still, the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of crisis in Africa. If anything, these crises were going to grow very rapidly. Many African nations were being destroyed by the AIDS epidemics. Most African countries had accumulated large debts which they were unable to pay. There were hundreds of environmental problems, the product of benign neglect or the rapid diminution of arable lands and forests.
This means that at the same time that some problems were being resolved in Africa, others started to appear in many places. In Somalia, in 1991, the collapse of the dictatorial government of Mohammed Siad Barre engulfed the country in chaos. In 1994, Rwanda saw the killing of hundreds of thousands of Hutu moderates and Tutsi. In 1998, Congo was the focus of a regional war which eventually involved seven countries and over 50 ethnic groups; a tragic event which would eventually need the deployment of MONUSCO; and in 2003, Darfur was in flames, which eventually moved the UN to deploy UNAMID.
After the end of the Cold War and the end of the struggle between the two superpowers for influence in Africa, the AU made a serious attempt to take care of its own problems, although still with meager resources. The African regional organization sent out missions of all sizes to conflict areas, from a relatively small mission of several observers to Burundi to a full scale operation in a number of African nations, such as Somalia, Liberia, Darfur, Côte d’Ivoire and Comoros. These peacekeeping or peace enforcing operations allowed the organization to improve its operational, financial, institutional and administrative functions and prepare the organization for the deployment of even more complex operations later on. These operations were a necessary experience for a regional organization that later would be called to deal with much more complex situations. The improvements and enhancements of the regional African organization are important because although the AU continued being the recipient of technical and financial help from many developed nations, almost all of the participants in these operations were Africans. If the economic conditions of the member countries of the AU are taken into consideration, it is possible to realize the magnitude of the efforts made by the Africans to take care of their own problems, even when these efforts have not always been successful.
In the past, the AU was even forbidden by its own Charter to participate or to intervene in the conflicts of other African states, because this was believed to be an interference into the internal affairs of a member country. Article 3, Clause 2 of the AU Charter made it clear that the organization was precluded from participating in any of such conflicts. As the large majority of the conflicts in the African continent did not involve wars between two or more states but conflicts within a single country, some kind of civil war, this meant that the organization could not participate in the solution of any of these conflicts. However, when ECOWAS, the regional economic organization of the West African states declared that it would intervene in Liberia to avoid the carnage going on in this nation, the AU supported that measure.
The AU gained experience from the conflicts that occurred in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa, such as those of Burundi, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Somalia, where it established some structures and mechanisms to strengthen the security of some member countries. In addition, in an effort to improve continental security, the AU negotiated and approved certain Memorandums of Understanding with other seven regional African organizations about issues related to cooperation in the area of security. These regional groups included some nations from Central and Northern Africa, as well as all nations in Eastern Africa. However, there was duplication and redundancy in some of these organizations, as many organizations dealt with security in one form or another. Some countries were forced to belong to more two or more of these organizations, something that was costly and detrimental for poor nations with not many well-educated citizens. In addition, the burden of financing more than one security organization must have been considerable, and the implementation of each organization’s policies may have overlapped or even been contradictory. These organizations in reality were sub-regional organizations, but they were not only established to cover a specific geographic area but sometime were created because of language similarity or other reason. Some diplomats have complained that sometime the two or three organizations to which their country belonged had held meetings at the same time, which made impossible for the same diplomat to attend all the meetings. The mere existence of many security organizations, or organizations dealing either directly or indirectly with security issues could make more difficult the implementation of any strategy. Furthermore, such decentralized approach could generate competition and not cooperation among the organizations, as well as fragmentation in the ability of the member states to respond to the different requests coming from the different organizations.
The UN, especially its SC, has encouraged the AU and other African regional organizations to assume responsibility for the solution of any conflict that occurs in its geographical area. The idea is that Africans should be responsible for solving their own problems because they are closer to the conflict and are in a better position to understand the motivations of the parties in the conflict and the manner in which any problem could be resolved. The Africans have attempted precisely to do that, but invariably the peacekeeping efforts they have launched have had logistical deficiencies, the personal has been poorly trained and the African member states have been slow to provide the necessary personnel and equipment for such operations.
The fact that the large majority of the UN peacekeeping operations are sent to Africa is not surprising because it is in this continent that most of the larger conflicts of the post-Cold War have occurred. While the first large peacekeeping operations in Africa were unsuccessful: the withdrawal of the American peacekeepers from Somalia first and then of all the peacekeepers; and the failure to avoid Rwanda’s genocide despite the presence already of a small contingent of peacekeepers in the country, the UN was forced to play an essential role trying to establish and maintain peace in the African continent. Throughout the 1990s, more than 75% of all UN peacekeeping operations were deployed in the African continent, although many of these operations have been barely successful. Most scholars agree that practically all peacekeeping operations in Africa have been only partially successful and that the only really successful UN peacekeeping operation was UNAVEM I, which supervised the withdrawal of Cuban and South African troops from Angola and Namibia, and UNTAG, which oversaw the first democratic elections in Namibia, mostly because these two operations occurred right after the end of the Cold War, which created a short window of opportunity for the UNSC permanent members to work together and accomplish great deeds.
The next chapter deals with the literature review and offers an explanation of the methodology used in this paper.
CHAPTER III – LITERATURE REVIEW AND METHODOLOGY
Peacekeeping includes a wide spectrum of operations, but it is generally agreed that its function is to facilitate the end of hostilities and the start of peace. The term has won the characterization that it is a halfway between war and peace. Peacebuilding is a new term in use since 1992, which either attempts to prevent the conflict through diplomacy or attempts to establish peace after the termination of a conflict. Peace enforcement includes the activities conducted to establish peace in a specific area, usually as a result of an agreement reached earlier by the parties in conflict. However, there is still some confusion about the use of these terms in the literature. Responsibility to protect is the obligation of the international community to intervene in a conflict to protect civilians from acts such as ethnic cleansing, war crimes or genocide when the state is unable or unwilling to do so.
Although the practice of peacekeeping has been around for over five decades, “one could hardly call the body of work a literature until the explosion of interest in the 1990s.” The efforts before the Cold War had the main intention of offering suggestions to make peacekeeping operations better, usually based on individual cases. There were two multiple-books compendiums providing detailed information about all UN peacekeeping operations conducted before such publications. An important segment of the post-Cold War literature addressed ways to make peace and avoid hostilities. Some authors attempted to address the issue of how to prevent war once a peace agreement is in place. Others analyzed the differences between the traditional peacekeeping operations and the more robust, multidimensional operations. Most studies have dealt with peacekeeping operations carried out by the UN, but there were a few studies written about the operations implemented by regional organizations or groups of states.
During the golden age of the UN peacekeeping operations, there were a plethora of publications analyzing such operations, but most of these emphasized the weaknesses, mistakes and failures rather than the successes. Only two studies focused on successful peacekeeping operations. In relation to African peacekeeping operations, no author has surpassed the works of African historian Adekeye Adebajo, who has described and analyzed all the UN peacekeeping operations in Africa since the first mission in 1956 during the Suez Canal crisis up to the Darfur crisis. While the author covered a lot of ground and some operations may not have been analyzed with the necessary depth, still he concluded that in Africa all UN peacekeeping operations were unsatisfactorily launched or managed and that there was ample room for improvement. In the same work, the same author made some recommendations about how to improve the security framework for the African continent. He said that there were three factors which he thought would greatly contribute to the improvement of future UN peacekeeping operations: (a) the degree of support that these peacekeeping operations had from the five permanent members in the UNSC. If even only one permanent member was not interested in the operation, it would not succeed, but if all five members were determined to fund and support an operation, then it would invariably succeed; (b) the ability and the willingness of the parties in the conflict to abide by the peace agreement they have signed. In general, the UN will not send a peacekeeping operation to any conflict area if it does not obtain first the consent of the host country and the affirmative approval of all the parties to the conflict; and (c) the efficient coordination of all the aspects of the peacekeeping operation, not only its military and police aspect, but also its economic and diplomatic efforts. These three conclusions continue to be valid and relevant in the cases of UNAMID and MONUSCO. Both of these operations had at least an important party to the conflict not providing the necessary support to the operations, the Government of Sudan in the case of UNAMID and the Government of the DRC in the case of MONUSCO. A peace operation suffers when any party to the conflict does not support the peace process, but much more if the not supportive party is the host government to the operation. Adebajo also mentioned that it was imperative to guarantee that the natural or economic resources of the country in conflict could not be used improperly by of the contenders to finance its operations; that neighboring nations should abstain from supporting any of the fighting factions and that the operation should be directed, executed and managed by capable and well-trained individuals.
Once again, MONUSCO is another example where the natural resources of the country has been used, and continue to be used, to finance some of the parties in the conflict with the implicit approval of some of the neighboring nations, as will be explained later in this paper.
Other scholars also have mentioned as relatively successful the peacekeeping operation to monitor the elections in Mozambique in 1994, after a long period of civil war in this country.
Since the start of the 21st century, the conflicts in Africa have greatly increased, and did so at a time when the international community was already tired of financing mostly unsuccessful peacekeeping operations to this continent. In mid-1990s, the International Institute for Strategic Studies mentioned that if the international community had reached any kind of consensus about the conflicts in Africa, was that they did not deserve any attention. However, this conclusion is only partially correct, because although the United States certainly was no longer interested in Africa, during all this time the UN was still spending about three-quarters of its peacekeeping budget in Africa.
The methodology used to evaluate both UNAMID and MONUSCO is the Diehl and Druckman methodology which lists all the mandates of each operation and then assesses the completion level for each mandate. However, as both peacekeeping operations are still ongoing and not completed, an adaptation has been made to the Diehl and Druckman framework so that each specific mandate is evaluated as to whether it is “less than 50%” or “more than 50%” completed, based on the latest UN official report for that specific mission. In the case of MONUSCO, the latest assessment report was issued on January 12, 2015. In the case of UNAMID, the latest official report was issued on May 26, 2015.
Addendum A shows the Estimated Mandate Completion for UNAMID and Addendum B shows the same evaluation for MONUSCO. While the determination of whether any specific mandate has been fulfilled less or more than 50 percent may be somewhat unprecise, it still gives an idea about how far from completion these two peacekeeping operations are. In both cases, most of the specific mandates have been evaluated at less than 50 percent completion, which means that these two operations could remain in the ground for a very long time. This is not unusual for a peacekeeping operation. UNMOGIP, the peacekeeping operation observing the line of control that separates India from Pakistan was launched in 1949 and still is active. UNTSO, the military observation mission in the Golan Heights in Syria was set up in 1948 and is still active. UNDOF, the observer force supervising the ceasefire between Israel and Syria was established in 1974 and remains to our days.
There are some limitations in this methodology. One, the methodology was created to evaluate peacekeeping operations that had been completed. In the current two cases the operations are still ongoing with no definite date for termination. Second, the evaluation of each of the specific mandate is ascertained based on the latest official documents, but these reports express the viewpoint of the highest UN officer in the ground who has a good interest to present his work in the best manner. Third, these reports do not evaluate mandate by mandate, but make general comments about the military, political, economic and social situation which lets the reader know how well each specific mandate has been performed and provides an indication about whether that mandate is less or more than 50 percent complete.
The next two chapters will analyse in some detail UNAMID and MONUSCO, the two peacekeeping operations studied in this paper.
CHAPTER IV – UNAMID
By 2003 the fighting in Darfur between several armed groups and the Government of Sudan and its militia had become a civil war, and in the process thousands of people had been killed and 1.8 million people became refugees. Since this time, the conflict in Darfur started to become a topic in the agenda of most meetings of the UNSC and efforts were made trying to find a lasting settlement of the conflict. On May 5, 2006, the parties in the conflict signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, which seemed to have produced a breakthrough, although some smaller armed groups decided not to sign the agreement. There was then a great diplomatic effort to convince these groups to sign the peace agreement so that a permanent peace could be obtained for the people of Darfur. As part of the agreement, a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority was established as an interim regional government for the area in conflict. In addition, the agreement also included that the AU deployed a peacekeeping mission to Sudan, which in 2008 was replaced by the joint AU-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), actually the largest peacekeeping operation ever deployed, and whose mandate has been modified and expanded many times. By 2008, the population of Darfur had grown to about 7.5 million people, of which more than half are 16 years of age or younger. As of June 2015, the mission counts with 17,754 military and police personnel and 3599 civilian, which means the participation of over 20,000 personnel. In January 2011, the population of Southern Sudan, which includes Darfur, held a referendum to determine whether they wanted independence or continue united to Sudan. The results showed that 99% of the voters selected independence, and although Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir, under the enormous pressure from the international community, seemed to accept the decision to let one-third of the territory of Sudan to become another nation, in reality, he was not resigned to lose a large portion of his country’s territory.
UNAMID has gone through a series of mandates, all refined to the changing situation in the ground, although always emphasizing the need to protect civilians, ensure the fulfillment of the peace agreements and ensuring that humanitarian aid gets to all the needy people. The mission makes its presence felt by conducting over 200 daily patrols through the three states of Darfur.
The mandate of UNAMID is extensive and has been modified several times. The words protect, support, contribute, assist, monitor, facilitate, liaise, participate, promote, coordinate, ensure and provide are used many times in the lengthy document. UNAMID is supposed to provide security, support the peace process, assist in the establishment of governance and the rule of law, protect human rights and facilitate humanitarian assistance. These are functions that most governments aspire to offer, but which the constant tension has made impossible for the new government of South Sudan to provide its citizens.
The UNAMID Mandate was first established by Resolution 1769 of July 31, 2007. This Resolution gave UNAMID two main responsibilities: (a) the protection of all personnel, facilities, equipment and installation “to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its own personnel and humanitarian workers,” and (b) support the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, prevent any potential disruption in its implementation and protect civilians “without prejudice” to the Sudanese government. It is difficult to determine to what extent UNAMID has fulfilled these two main objectives. The fact that the UNSC had to strengthen UNAMID’s mandate by approving the recommendations of the joint report issued by the SG and the Chairperson of the AU Commission (S/2007/307/Rev.) of June 5, 2007 means that the two vague mandates remained unfulfilled and required more clarification.
In fact, in this modification of the mandate, the SC added another 8 main points to the mandates, added a section with seven points about the functions that UNAMID had to play in the peace process and good offices, 11 main points related to security, 7 main points related to the rule of law, governance and human rights and one main point about humanitarian assistance. Overall, the mandate of the peacekeeping operation went from two points to 34. However, all these points are written in a manner that is impossible to quantify. All the points start with the phrase: “to contribute”, “to monitor”, “to assist”, “to support” “to participate” “to ensure” “to liaise” “to promote” “to coordinate” “to provide” or “to facilitate,” which leaves undetermined what outcome will be acceptable. The fact that UNAMID has remained in place up to our days means that these objectives, if they have been fulfilled, have been fulfilled only partially, because otherwise the operation would have been terminated. As recent as July 30, 2013, the SC passed its Resolution 2113 in which it mentions the need for UNAMID to emphasize the protection of civilians.
UNAMID IN 2015
Abiodum Oluremi Bashua, the current UNAMID head, has declared that “if the government creates the necessary conditions” the peacekeeping operation could leave within a year. However, there have been increases in the attacks to both civilian and peacekeepers in recent weeks, which clearly show that the first mandate listed in Addendum A, the protection of personnel, facilities, installation and equipment and the fourth mandate, the protection of civilians still are not under control. Edmund Mulet, the deputy chief of the operation in June 2015 testified in front of the UNSC and said that there have been negligible progress in Darfur’s peace efforts, blaming the current situation to a new military campaign by the Government of Sudan called the Decisive Summer Military Campaign, which is a renewed effort to eliminate the presence of the armed groups, but which have resulted in new waves of displaced individuals of close to 130,000 people so far in this year. The activities carried out by the Government of Sudan, one of the signatory parties to all peace agreements, also demonstrate the lack of cooperation by a neighboring country and the difficulty of implementing mandate No. 26 of the same Addendum about “support the Government of Sudan to maintain public order,” when precisely the soldiers of this government are responsible for the reactivation of the crisis.
UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon recently informed that in the quarter ending in May15, 2015 there have been 60 “incidents and hostile attacks” against the peacekeeping force compared with only 46 in the same period last year. This statistic shows how difficult has become for UNAMID just to protect itself, although the majority of the attacks have been unsuccessful. In February 2015, Human Rights Watch accused Sudanese troops of having been involved in the sexual assault of at least 221 women and girls in the town of Tabid in three waves of attacks lasting 36 hours. The same report mentions that the Government of Sudan has not allowed UNAMID to conduct a full investigation of this incident. Once again, the behavior of the Government of Sudan makes impossible the fulfillment of mandates dealing with the protection of civilians, the promotion of human rights and confidence or the creation of the necessary security conditions, specifically mandates Nos. 4, 8, 17, and 22 in Addendum A. The International Criminal Court has already indicted the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, but he not only continues in power but got re-elected in a recent fraudulent election. It must be very difficult for the UNAMID officers to support the Government of Sudan, as mentioned in mandate No. 26, given the illegitimacy of the current government. At the end of last year, the Government of Sudan ordered two UN officers to leave Sudan: Ali Zaatari, coordinator of the UN Development Programme and Yvonne Helle, country director for the same program. The latest reports about the operation continue to show lack of objective prioritization, lack of discipline and lack of support on the part of the host government, variables that have plagued this operation practically since its beginning.
On June 29, 2015, the UNSC passed its Resolution 2228, extending the mandate of the Mission in Darfur for an additional year, up to 30 June 2016 and prioritizing, for the first time, “civilian protection” while also charging it with mediation between the parties that have not signed yet the peace agreement and the Government of Sudan. A few days earlier, on June 10, 2015, Edmund Mulet, the Assistant SG for Peacekeeping Operations had announced the additional displacement of over 78,000 people since the beginning of this year. Earlier on the same day, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court had briefed the UNSC about its work in Darfur, explaining that the ICC had to suspend its investigations in Darfur “due to the Council’s inaction in this issue” and concentrate the Court’s limited resources in other areas and leaving Darfur for a more appropriate time, although the Court would continue monitoring the violation of human rights in Darfur. Up to this moment, the ICC has issued warrants for the apprehension of Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, the Minister of Defense of Sudan, Ahmed Harun, the governor of the state of North Kordofan and Ali Kushayb, a previous Janjaweed leader and Abdallah Banda, the leader of another faction.
As of August 2015, the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur remain chaotic, with little or no advances in the political area. On July 14, 2015 there were fights between the South Sudan communities of Reizregat and Habaniya, which started because of a cattle incident and resulted in dozens of deaths. These clashes among diverse communities have also occurred in North Darfur, mainly between the communities of Zayadia and Barti and resulting in the displacement of more than 2,500 people and the burning of some villages. The national dialogue process which started in April 2014 so far has produced no results. A meeting scheduled for March 29-30 in Addis Ababa had to be cancelled after the National Party Congress announced that it would not participate.
CHAPTER V – MONUSCO
The former Belgian Congo, what today is known as the DRC, is a nation that has tremendously suffered the effects of armed conflicts for over two decades. Probably these internal conflicts can be characterized more as a civil war than by any other word. This nation has also seen a tremendous effort on the part of the international community trying to reduce and eventually eliminate the conflict among the contending parties and bring peace to the greater Great Lakes region, but so far peace in the region remains elusive.
The DRC attained independence from Belgium on June 30th, 1960 under the leadership of Emery Patrice Lumumba, whose party won parliamentary elections. This independence was followed by political crises and instability that weakened governance and the culture of democratization. Under the leadership of Moise Tsombe, with support from the former colonial power, the southern province of Katanga declared independence from Congo less than two weeks after the country had achieved independence. The ongoing rivalry between the superpowers as a result of the Cold War contributed to the escalation of the conflict, which forced the UN to intervene with a peacekeeping operation responding to a request from the Congolese Prime Minister. The conflict was brought to an end in 1963 with a lot of pressure from the UN mission and support for Congolese territorial integrity.
With the UN Peacekeepers already in Congo, Lumumba was arrested, tortured, shot, and killed by opponents, seemingly with complicity from Western nations who accused him of working with the Soviet Union. The Prime Minister’s death had serious repercussions on the leadership of the country as it became difficult to establish a legitimate and acceptable government for all political actors. A combination of factors, including but not limited to political instability at the top of the government, secessionist movements that broke into outright civil war, and influences of the Cold War in the region, led to the rise of Mobutu Sese Seko, who received significant support from the United States and lead military coups both in 1960 and 1965.
After Mobutu took power in 1965, the following three decades were characterized by a dictatorship that violated basic human rights, developed a personality culture, and became increasingly corrupt leading to the collapse of the country’s economy. With the end of the Cold War, Mobutu lost the support he enjoyed from Western countries and was compelled to launch a democratic process with multiparty system. However, his regime had no political will to undertake the needed reforms and to open the political space for other stakeholders. Tensions kept increasing, undermining the authority of the government and its power to lead and control the country.
The conflict in the DRC attracted the attention of the international community for a number of reasons, of which three deserve to be noted. First of all, conflicts in the DRC started in 1996 as a contamination from Rwanda. After the 100 day genocide in Rwanda, about two million Rwandans from the Hutu ethnic group, including the former Rwandan armed forces and the militia Interahamwe, found safe havens in eastern DRC. The new Tutsi dominated government in Kigali considered them as a major threat to Rwanda’s national security, pushing Rwanda, with support from Burundi and Uganda, to attack the DRC and attempt to topple the government. The international community, having failed to act to prevent and stop the genocide in Rwanda, felt guilty and accepted Rwanda’s claims, falling short of supporting its invasion into the DRC.
The civil war in the DRC has involved several armed forces and militias, creating humanitarian crises of catastrophic dimensions, contributing to the killing of over five million people, and turning the Eastern DRC into the world capital of violence against women especially the use of rape as a weapon of war. While the Congolese rebels were fighting a proxy war against their governments, the UN understood that the DRC had no chance to achieve peace without putting things in order with its neighbors especially Rwanda and Uganda.
The DRC is a very huge country that enjoys enormous reserves of natural resources. It is two-thirds the size of Western Europe and the second biggest country in Africa, after Algeria, and it shares its border with nine countries. The eastern and southern parts of the DRC are very rich in precious minerals, such as copper, gold and diamond, among others. The DRC also has oil and natural gas, plus immense forests that provide quality wood. As the conflicts endured, it became clearer that beside political claims the conflict in DRC was also about the control of natural resources.
On November 30, 1999, the UNSC passed its Resolution 1279 creating the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to observe the ceasefire and keep contact with the parties to the ceasefire agreement. The mandate of this peacekeeping operation was later expanded in a series of resolutions to include a multitude of additional responsibilities.
On July 1, 2010, the UNSC issued its Resolution 1925 renaming the Congo peacekeeping operation as the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and expanding its mandate to include the use of force if necessary to protect civilians, humanitarian workers and human rights activists. The mandate also included the termination of the military operations in the Oriental provinces, as well as in North and South Kivu. However, these efforts were not sufficient, as Congo’s Eastern provinces continued to witness great violence, including gender-based and sexual violence and a permanent humanitarian crisis. The peacekeepers, mostly coming from African countries, were poorly trained and equipped to use force against the rebel groups. The transfer of the AU to the UN of the military contingents in the ground proceeded as planned, but with poor coordination and in an inefficient manner. Both Congolese nationals and foreign armed groups continued to take advantage of the lack of control to continue stealing the natural resources of Congo and sending the country into lawlessness and disorder. Specifically, the resolution mentioned that no progress had been achieved in reducing the smuggling of gold, ivory and wildlife out of Congo, a situation which has continued to our days, making impossible the fulfillment of the peace agreement or the implementation of security conditions throughout the country. In April 2012, a major violent crisis with mass killings occurred in the town of Beni in North Kivu.
On March 28, 2013, once again the UNSC passed another Resolution, its No. 2098, not only extending the mandate of MONUSCO until March 31, 2014, but also creating an intervention brigade to support the peacekeeping operation. This brigade was to be headquartered in Goma, be under the command of the Force Commander of MONUSCO, and include three infantry battalions, one artillery and one reconnaissance and special force company. This was a clear demonstration that MONUSCO’s mandates remained unfulfilled, that the long list of objectives carefully worded in New York by the diplomats of the permanent members of the SC remained unmet objectives. The SC expressed that this brigade would operate for only an initial period of a year, and that it should have a clear exit strategy. In addition, the SC named and condemned the rebel groups that had violated the peace agreements and continued the violence and the gross violation of human rights: the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Lord’s Resistance Army and the 23 March Movement. The rebel groups continued to violate the peace agreement and refused to demobilize, contributing to insecurity rather than to peace. It was clear that 14 years after the UN’s intervention in Congo that the situation had gone from bad to worse and that all the complex mandates remained unfulfilled.
In December 2013, the UNSG wrote its fifth report to the SC about the situation of children and the conflict in Congo. It included six new grave cases of violations against the rights of children occurring in the period from January 2010 to December 2013 and blamed all parties in the conflict for these violations. It was another demonstration that the mandate No. 6 listed in Addendum B about protecting the civilian populations had not been achieved. In other communications, the SG mentioned Burundi’s violation of UNSC Resolution 1533 of 2004 for failing to inform the SC about the deployment of a military contingent of the Burundian army in the province of South Kivu, and China’s similar violation for failing to report a delivery of arms and ammunitions to the Congolese government in 2012. Arms and ammunitions from the national government are routinely diverted to the different armed groups operating throughout the country, once again, making impossible for MONUSCO to protect its own peacekeepers as mentioned in mandate No. 5, or to contribute to peace and security as specified in mandate No. 1 of Addendum B.
On March 28, 2014, the UNSC passed its resolution 2147, extending the mandate of MONUSCO to 31 March 2015 and renewing the mandate of the Intervention Brigade “on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice.” On March 26, 2015, the UNSC issued its Resolution 2211 extending MONUSCO’s mandate to March 2016. The latest mandate of this peacekeeping operation, as in the UNAMID case,also includes a lot of unquantifiable verbs, such as “emphasizing” “protecting” “supporting” “encouraging” “reinforcing” or “combating,” which again make impossible to determine to what degree, if any, these mandates have been fulfilled. The fact that MONUSCO has been in the country for 16 years and that there is no clear exit strategy in sight, means that it is still far off from reaching its goal of establishing peace and stability in the DRC.
MONUSCO IN 2015
On March 13, 2015, the SG submitted a report to the UNSC about MONUSCO and the situation in Congo in general. He noted that the region was at a crossroads between peace and cyclical instability, that the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration had been slow, that there had been lack of meaningful progress disarming the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and that mistrust among all signatories continued. This was a clear admission that MONUSCO was a long way to achieve its objectives. He suggested to “redouble” the efforts to disarm, demobilize, reintegrate or repatriate the combatants and that he was “deeply worried by the low turnout” in the last meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism and the absence of some signatories to the Technical Support Committee. Lastly, the SG once again mentioned that the illegal exploitation of the natural resources in the region was a continued contribution to instability. In 16 years in the DRC, the peacekeepers had not been able to secure the natural resources which were financing the rebels and creating insecurity throughout the country. On May 6, 2015, the UNSC issued its latest press release about MONUSCO, condemning attacks against the peacekeepers the day before, in which two peacekeepers from Tanzania had been killed and others were injured. This means that just a few months ago MONUSCO still was unable to protect itself from the rebel groups and fulfill its most essential mandate. If the peacekeepers cannot protect themselves it is not likely that they may be able to protect the civilian populations or to protect human rights and the rule of law.
The Hutu guerrillas have resisted putting down their weapons and reintegrating to the civil life. MONUSCO and the Congolese government gave them an ultimatum to do that, but the date passed without anything having been accomplished. At the UNSC meeting on July 14, 2015 to discuss the situation about the DRC, Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the SG for the DRC, told the Council that he saw “a ray of hope” because he has noticed some cooperation between the armed forces of the government of Congo with those of MONUSCO. Speaking some time in French and other times in English, the Secretary’ representative dedicated most of his hour-long speech to self-congratulatory remarks and diplomatic niceties, such as congratulating almost every officer that have been promoted and even “express my best wishes to all Muslims during this month of Ramadan” and congratulate New Zealand for holding the presidency of the Council. It was clear that he did not have much to say. However, he also informed the Council that Congo will hold presidential and legislative elections in November 2016, but clarifying that these elections alone would not guarantee this country’s peace and stability. Toward the end of his speech he pointed out four main difficulties: (a) lack of a budget for the new to be elected Congolese government; (b) Unrealistic calendar for the celebration of elections; (c) Lack of update of the voters’ registry to account for all young adults that have reached voting age, and (d) lack of political space for opposition and civil society. He also remarked that in the past two months Burundi had fallen into violence and that over 140,000 people had fled into neighboring countries, including about 13,000 to the DRC. As the resurgence of conflict in any part of the region has grave repercussions for security and peace, this recent event adds another layer of complexity and difficulty to the operation’s mandates.
After many years in the ground, MONUSCO continues to suffer many of the same problems that has plagued this operation practically from its early beginnings, such as the lack of support by some of the parties in the conflict and by the host government, lack of coordination between the military and the civil branches of the operation, and general failure in implementing the mandates. The next chapter will expand the analysis and discussion of the two operations.
CHAPTER VI – OPERATIONS DISCUSSION
UNAMID started its operation as a result of the UNSC Resolution 1769 which took over and consolidated the AU mission in Darfur with UN contingents to create an almost 21,000 peace operations composed mainly by Africans. However, the number of troops deployed in the ground still is short of what may be needed, which has been roughly estimated to be about 26,000. Since its moment of highest crisis in 2003-2004, the conflict in Darfur has left more than 300,000 people dead and displaced other 2.7 million to neighboring countries.
This operation continues to lack the support of the Government of Sudan, which has made every possible attempt to frustrate the efforts by the operation. The UNAMID commander repeatedly has complained that he lacks helicopters, communication equipment and logistics to cover an area as large as France and with very few roads. The Western powers have been busy elsewhere, such as in Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving little choice to the unprepared and untrained African soldiers to do what they can. Analysts have claimed that President Bashir’s unwillingness to have friendly relations with Darfur is analogous to the resistance of Ethiopia to establish healthy relations with Eritrea, its former province.
In 2014, journalist and writer Aicha Elsbari, who used to be UNAMID’s spokesperson, resigned his position and published a series of incriminating allegations against the peacekeeping operation of which he had been a part. He said that UNAMID had lied to the UN and that it had engaged in a web of half-truths, lies and omissions to present the viewpoint that it has been working hard to enforce its mandate, when in reality it has done all the opposite. While it is possible that Elsbari may have had personal reasons to disparage the current administration and management of the operation, some of the information he cites clearly shows that reports addressed to the UN have omitted fundamental issues regarding many weaknesses of the operation, such as lack of coordination among their units and lack of discipline among the troops.
On October 31 and November 1, 2014, there were press reports about incidents of mass rape occurring in the town of Tabit by members of the regular forces of Sudan. However, when UNAMID sent a team to the place to investigate the allegations, it found “no evidence” that such events ever took place. As one of the mandates of UNAMID is precisely the protection of civilians, not finding evidence of violations may help create the illusion that the situation in the ground is better than really is. Osman Kibir, the current governor of North Darfur, in a meeting with a delegation of UN and AU representatives in March 2015, mentioned that the troops of UNAMID have been unable to protect themselves against the Sudanese police, and that rather than helping to bring peace to Darfur, what many UNAMID soldiers are doing is spreading crime throughout the new country through hijacks, robberies and counterfeiting currency. If this is the opinion of an officer of the Government of South Sudan, it seems that UNAMID has been unable to establish the best relations with the host country.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide greatly contributed in destabilizing the geopolitical situation in the African Great Lakes region in general and the DRC in particular. As the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) seized power in July 1994, the former Rwandan Armed Forces, the militia Interahamwe, and many Hutu civilians left the country and found refuge in the North and South Kivu provinces in neighboring DRC. Military activities, with the purpose of attacking Rwanda, were conducted in refugee camps and other areas without any attempt to stop them. Also, since the last quarter of 1993, there were also military activities by some Burundian rebels. In 1996, a rebel movement with massive support from the Rwandan, Burundian, and Ugandan governments launched attacks against DRC in a seven months war which ousted President Mobutu and in 1997 handed the leadership of the country to Laurent Desire Kabila. This change of power in Kinshasa brought hope for many people in the region who expected the new leadership to usher in a period of good governance, freedom, and progress for all.
However, after one year in office, the new government in Kinshasa disappointed all observers. President Kabila started to have conflicts with his former Rwandan and Ugandan allies whom now he suspected of attempting to overthrow him. When he ordered all Rwandan and Ugandan officials who had been helping his government to leave the country, these two countries sent troops to Eastern Congo to help rebels who started fighting against the Congolese government. In August 1998, the second Congolese war started. The conflict involved eight countries: Angola, Chad, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Namibia, whose armies supported the Congolese government; and Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, whose armies supported the rebels. In addition, there were at least 25 militias. This conflict has rightly been considered as Africa’s First World War. Each country involved in the conflict had its own reasons to participate in the conflict, such as economic interests in mineral exploitation, revenge or fear for its own security.
A few months later, on July 10, 1999, a major milestone was made as countries involved in the Congolese war signed a ceasefire agreement in Lusaka, which recommended inter-Congolese political negotiations to make peace within the Congo after making peace outside of Congo.
Although the 2005 multi-party elections were expected to bring an end to instability and bring a new era of peace, security, and development, this hope was short-lived. Laurent Nkunda, a former rebel who became General in the Congolese army, mutinied and established his base in North Kivu. In 2007, he organized the Conseil National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) as his political party established its headquarters in Masisi, North Kivu. In what has been called the North Kivu conflict, Nkunda’s forces attacked Congolese forces and threatened to take over Goma, the capital of North Kivu; causing a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions. In addition, a leadership conflict erupted within the CNDP between General Nkunda and his ally General Ntaganda. The former fled to Rwanda and was subsequently arrested before being put under house arrest in January 2009. General Ntaganda took over the leadership of CNDP and, aided by the former Presidents of Nigeria and Tanzania, Olusegun Obasanjo and Benjamin Mkapa; negotiated peace with the Congolese government before signing an agreement in Goma on March 23, 2009.
The fall of the city of Goma, capital of North Kivu in eastern DRC in the hands of the the March 23 Movement (M23), one of the rebel groups, and the experts’ reports that the rebels were being supported by Rwanda and Uganda threatened peace and security in the DRC, with fear that the escalation of the conflict would endanger the entire region. The international community responded by negotiating a new peace agreement for the DRC and the region. After three months of intense negotiations with a lot of pressure from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the AU, and the UN, eleven countries signed on 24 February 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. Although there were many doubts about the implementation of this agreement, it played a significant role in ending the M23 rebellion.
The new peace agreement established responsibilities for the DRC, the region, and the international community. The UN was asked to continue supporting the DRC strengthening the UN Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO). Four weeks after signing the Addis Ababa Framework, the UNSC adopted Resolution 2098 on 18 March, 2013 creating an intervention brigade, consisting of 3069 troops, with the mandate of conducting offensive operations against rebel groups. Two months earlier, the UNSC had approved “the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide reconnaissance of militia activity.” It was expected that these decisions had the potential of changing the situation in the DRC for better.
Within a few months the intervention brigade was operating in eastern Congo with peacekeepers from Malawi, Tanzania, and South Africa. A General from Tanzania was appointed to lead the force which was and still is in the country “to reverse the trajectory of one of the world’s most horrific and complex conflicts, one that has killed more than 5 million people since 1998, the deadliest war since World War II.” A few months after the force was deployed, this hope started to materialize as the Congolese army, heavily backed up by the intervention brigade, successfully defeated the M23 in a fight that lasted for 12 days. This victory over the M23 restored the authority of the government in many towns of North Kivu that had been occupied by the rebels for more than year. Furthermore, they restored the image of the UN peacekeeping force, which was humiliated several times as they failed to protect civilians and watched from their camp as the city of Goma was falling in the rebels’ hands one year earlier. This move was greeted by world leaders as it signaled a new change of direction for the country.
After its military defeat, the M23 announced to have brought an end to its insurgence in the DRC and declared its readiness to pursue its goals through political means. This was indeed an end of an era in the DRC thanks to diplomatic efforts and new ways of operating by the UN. However, by November 2013, the Final Report of the Group of Experts on the DRC concluded that the situation still remained unstable and dangerous, citing several foreign and Congolese groups still operating in the Katanga, North and South Kivu and Orientale provinces. The report mentioned new acts of mass killings in October 2013 in the town of Mutarule in South Kivu and in November 2013 in Beni, in North Kivu, and continued attacks on schools and hospitals. There was still overspread efforts to kidnap, recruit and train child soldiers by practically all rebel groups, and a variety of cases of sexual violence, enslavement and even torture, facts which demonstrated the continued inability of MONUSCO, even with the aid of the intervention brigade, to provide security to the DRC. The report also mentioned that the illegal exploitation of natural resources continued, as well as its smuggling across the borders to neighboring nations, situations which had persisted since the early days of the peacekeepers in the DRC. The situation has not changed much since 2013 and the peacekeepers continue to struggle with many of the same difficulties they encountered at the beginning of the operation. The next chapter will offer some concluding comments about the two peacekeeping operations.
CHAPTER VII – CONCLUDING COMMENTS
Both operations (UNAMID and MONUSCO) are what scholars call fourth generation operations, which are very complex operations involving not only military personnel, but also police, coordination with humanitarian workers, gender issues, relationships with the civilian population and others. These types of operations are supposed to fulfill a number of objectives and bring peace to these territories. However, the fact that they have been ongoing for many years and that their mandates have been extended makes clear that these complex operations have not solved the problems they were charged to solve.
In current times, South Sudan and the DRC have both witnessed great horrors and suffering. In Congo alone, the civil war has resulted in over five million deaths and has been the scenario where the forces of nine nations have fought with each other in a variety of ways. Throughout a long period of time, and with the aid of numerous organizations, but mainly the UN and the AU, the parties in the Congolese conflict have made peace agreements, violated them and made new ones.
This analysis has demonstrated that both UNAMID and MONUSCO have suffered important weaknesses in the implementation of their respective mandates, including:
Lack of coordination. Despite the existence of historical experience from other peacekeeping operations about how to coordinate efforts with other international organizations, the UN and the AU still do not seem to have learned to work effectively with each other. It is clear that some learning has occurred after being in the ground for over a decade, but that the frequent change of the troops and police participants has compounded the lack of coordination, as the new entrants many times are left without clear procedures about how to link the efforts of the two parts, although nominally all the operations are under the command of a single officer. The variety of spoken languages and the different training levels also make coordination difficult, especially in war or semi-war conditions.
Lack of equipment and training. Most of the peacekeeping in both UNAMID and MONUSCO come from other African countries. These soldiers are being paid by the UN for their service, which is based on an average of what a trained military troop would cost regardless of from where it came. However, a large majority of the peacekeepers participating in these operations lack the necessary skills, training or even equipment. The developed countries over time have rectified many of these problems, but they have not been completely eliminated. The members of the peacekeeping operations rotate periodically, and some of the new units still arrive without the necessary equipment. The provision of training and equipment to the participating troops and police personnel is a vital factor to guarantee the success of any peacekeeping operation.
Lack of discipline. There have been gross violations of the AU and UN rules and regulations among the peacekeepers, but the military commanders have been unable to discipline the soldiers that have committed the violations. The AU and UN peacekeepers have behaved unethically or even engaged in criminal activities, including rape, and have avoided punishment because they have covered up to avoid punishment, or the officers in charge may have even participated in the atrocities committed. This lack of discipline hinders the activities, the functions and the legitimacy of the combined AU/UN peacekeeping operations. In addition, these sporadic incidents demoralize the peacekeeping forces, which although composed by members from several dozen countries, are heavily composed by Africans themselves.
Lack of priorities. Both peacekeeping operations have lengthy and complex mandates, which dilute the resources and the efforts of the peacekeepers, and makes difficult or impossible for the peacekeepers to focus on specific mandates or specific areas. In addition, in both operations all the mandates have equal weight and there is no mandate that has priority over any other mandate. The prioritization of the mandates is left to the commander in the ground, who should use his best judgment to determine which mandate, if any, has priority over the others. The net result is that few, if any, of the missions’ goals have been fulfilled. Both peacekeeping operations remain in the ground because the conflict continues, and although probably they have been somewhat beneficial, in certain respect they have aggravated the conflict, as when the peacekeepers have engaged in abusing civilians or in criminal activities. These activities would not have occurred if the peacekeepers were not there, but on the other hand, it is impossible to estimate how much good these operations have done, if any, or how much worse the situation could have been in the absence of the peacekeepers. Judging from what is known about these operations so far, it seems that overall these operations have made a positive impact, although none of them have been able to fulfill any of their mandates at one hundred percent.
Lack of support by the host government. The government of the DRC has repeatedly requested the AU and UN to begin withdrawing their peacekeepers with the idea that this will accelerate the country’s return to normality. The UN, however, has kept a presence in the ground fearing that the situation could become even worse in the absence of the peacekeepers. The situation is very complex, with many participants and the involvement directly or indirectly of all of Congo’s neighboring countries. The government of the Sudan, for a long period of time, was against the idea of deploying peacekeepers in Darfur and accepted them only after intense pressure from the international community. After the formation of the independent government of South Sudan, the mission has been welcomed by the host government. While the situation has not been completely stabilized, it seems that UNAVID, the South Sudan peacekeeping operation may be closer to fulfill its objectives than MONUSCO.
The obvious recommendations then become to achieve improvements in these weak areas, something that is easier said than done. Some of these weaknesses, such as the lack of training and equipment, or lack of support by the host government, are factors about which the UN has little control and which depend on the level of military sophistication of the sending country. The most promising areas for improvement are in the areas of establishing priorities, improving coordination and ensuring discipline, although it is clear that all the areas are tremendously important.
However, despite all the weaknesses and problems, it is probably true that the situation would have been much worse without the presence of the AU/UN peacekeepers, although this conclusion is difficult to prove or to measure.
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