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2 septembre 2015 3 02 /09 /septembre /2015 07:20
Peacekeeping: Curing The Cure That Failed


August 31, 2015: Strategy Page


The UN is rethinking its approach to peacekeeping operations. What was once a small force, which mainly monitored areas where peace had been worked out, the UN now finds itself with a lot more peacekeepers and many of them under fire. After the Cold War ended in 1991 the changes began. After 2000 the UN peacekeeper force expanded from 20,000 to over 120,000. This was complicated by the growing use of Islamic terrorism against UN personnel. That meant it had become more dangerous to be a peacekeeper. Despite the increasing Islamic terror attacks the UN's peacekeeping army suffers less than a hundred combat deaths a year. More than ten times that number are wounded, injured in accidents, or disabled by disease. The peacekeeper combat fatalities come out to 90-110 per 100,000 troops per year. In Afghanistan foreign troops lost about 350-450 in 2012. At the peak of the fighting (2005-7) in Iraq, the losses were 500-600 per 100,000. The rate for U.S. troops in Vietnam and World War II was about 1,500 per 100,000 troops. So the UN peacekeepers are often seeing some considerable violence but at less than a third of the rate of troops in actual contemporary wars and much less than in 20th century conflicts. Still, it’s a lot more violent than Cold War era peacekeeping.


But it’s not the casualties that are causing the biggest problem but the increase in deliberate attacks and, to put it bluntly, the use of terror against the peacekeepers. This has made more countries reluctant to supply peacekeepers, especially Moslem countries, whose troops are accused of being heretics (and not just “enemies of Islam”) by Islamic terrorists and their many supporters among the Moslem population under peacekeeper protection. Most of the peacekeepers have come from South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal) and most of these are Moslem. Pakistan has been one of the most frequent contributors, sending nearly 150,000 troops to over forty UN peacekeeping operations in 23 countries over the last half century. The Pakistani troops suffered a death rate of 92 per 100,000 but it could have been worse were not the South Asian troops among the best trained and most professional in the UN force.


It’s not just the growing terrorism that is causing difficulty in getting more troops for peacekeeping duty. While the casualties have something to do with this, corruption and lack of success are more often discouraging countries from contributing. The corruption angle is interesting, as it pertains both to the corruption within the UN bureaucracy and the corrupt atmosphere the peacekeepers operate in and often succumb to. Then there is the criticism of how the UN manages these missions. Casualties are expected but the contributing countries feel a lot of their troop losses are the result of restrictive UN rules that limit what peacekeepers can do. This, in turn, is believed most responsible for a lack of success for the peacekeeping missions.


In addition India and Pakistan are not happy with the lack of volunteers from other major nations. The chief reasons for that are the same ones annoying the current peacekeepers (corruption and restrictive rules of engagement). In addition, the major military powers (with the exception of China and Russia) feel they already contribute quite a lot in the form of money to pay the peacekeepers. And the contributors are also upset at the lack of results. A growing number of UN members, including many who contribute little money and no personnel for peacekeeping are coming to realize that the original goals (keeping the peace) are often not met and the peacekeepers will never turn into a military organization that will be able to impose peace. While the UN likes to condemn (bad behavior) and demand that people behave, most member states do not support trying to create a UN police force with real enforcement capabilities. None of the major world powers supports this either. So there is growing pressure to look for other ways to deal with seeming endless supply of new hotspots needing to be cooled down, much less all the older ones that are still smoldering.


Over the last decade the UN has spent $7-10 billion a year on 13-20 peacekeeping operations supported each year. Most of the money comes from the West but a lot of it comes from wealthy (usually because of oil) Moslem nations. To Islamic terrorists that makes the peacekeepers lackeys of the non-Moslem West and Arab “enemies of Islam”. The money pays for the peacekeepers and a smaller support staff. It's actually a pretty cheap way of keeping some conflicts under control or at least out of the headlines. The causes of the unrest may not be resolved by peacekeepers but at least the problem is contained and doesn't bother the rest of the world too much. This is an increasingly unpopular approach to peacekeeping and now even the UN bureaucracy is being forced to consider changes. Fewer UN members back the policy of sending peacekeepers to where they are not wanted (by the local government, usually a bad one that is often the cause of the trouble in the first place) and use some UN approved violence to go after the people responsible for the local mess and end the seemingly endless violence in some areas. This sort of thing seems fine in theory but does not always work in practice.


Meanwhile most of the money is going to a few large peacekeeping operations. Three of the largest get over half the cash and for over a decade this has been Congo, Darfur (western Sudan), and southern Sudan. Africa has the largest number of "failed states" on the planet and, as such, is most in need of outside security assistance. The Middle East is also a source of much unrest. But there the problem isn't a lack of government, just bad government. Most Middle Eastern nations are run by tyrants, who have created police states that at least keep anarchy at bay and peacekeepers out.


Religion has become a touchy subject. While Islamic radicalism is more of a problem to fellow Moslems than it is to infidels (non-Moslems), most Middle Eastern governments avoid blaming Islam for these problems. Since it's increasing difficult to pin the blame on "colonialism" or "crusaders," the Middle Eastern nations encourage other UN members to just stay away from the religious angle altogether. This has made it difficult to deal with peacekeeping issues in Moslem nations, since religion usually plays a part in creating the problem. To the UN, this is just another diplomatic problem to be dealt with, although not very well.


But overall the troops and money that keep all the peacekeeping going are in danger of fading away. Frantic diplomacy is underway by the UN to try and makes things all better, but success is not assured and every year there’s the same drama as cash shortages threaten to shut down many peacekeeping operations.

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24 septembre 2014 3 24 /09 /septembre /2014 12:30
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon


23 September 2014 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP


Michael Fallon meets Middle East partners to discuss international response to ISIL.


Mr Fallon met with allies in Saudi Arabia yesterday and Bahrain today to discuss regional security and international co-ordination to counter ISIL ahead of this week’s United Nations General Assembly.

He said:

At the Jeddah and Paris conferences there was strong agreement on the need for a co-ordinated response to the ISIL threat. In taking action to degrade and destroy ISIL terrorists it is important that key regional partners continue to play a leading role.

The UK supports the air strikes launched by the US and regional allies last night which run alongside the action the UK has already taken in the form of reconnaissance flights, military equipment and humanitarian aid.

The UK government continues to discuss what further contribution the UK may make to international efforts to tackle the threat we all face from ISIL.

The UK has a long-standing defence relationship with both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In Saudi Arabia the UK assists with the delivery and support of Typhoon and Tornado aircraft. Bahrain is also a key location for the UK, with onshore basing and ships located at Mina Salman Port.

While meeting serving Royal Navy personnel in Bahrain Mr Fallon witnessed the structural work being carried out to improve the navy’s facilities.

He added:

The UK already has a long-established presence in the region and in my discussions I have re-emphasised the UK’s continuing commitment and opportunities to strengthen co-operation.

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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 10:45
EU declares Boko Haram a terrorist organisation


09 June 2014 by defenceWeb


A day after the United Nations designated Boko Haram a terrorist organisation the European Union followed suit condemning its unacceptable violent crimes.


“The listing of Boko Haram should contribute to efforts to put an end to its criminal activities,” a statement issued by EU External Action said.


In recent weeks Boko Haram has been responsible for kidnapping more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls and the deaths of dozens of people shot in Nigeria’s Borno state.


The statement went on to say declaring boko Haram a terrorist organisation was an illustration of the European body’s firm commitment to support Nigeria in its fight against terrorism while upholding the rule of law and human rights.


Boko Haram has now been added to the lists of persons, groups and entities covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources under EC Regulation 881/2002 with (EU) Commission Implementing Regulation No 583/2014 of 28 May 2014. The EU Act was published in the EU Official Journal and entered into force on 29 May 2014.


Boko Haram, whose name translates loosely from the Hausa language spoken widely in northern Nigeria as "Western education is forbidden" has carried out a great number of violent attacks that have targeted all sections of Nigerian society and most recently evidenced by the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls on April 14. The terrorist group under its current leader Shekau is principally active in northern Nigeria but has increasingly worsened and expanded its attacks. The EU has repeatedly and firmly condemned the group's violence, expressed full solidarity with the victims and their families and is supporting efforts by Nigeria and partners against such criminal acts.


The EU decision was adopted as matter of urgency in the wake of UN sanctions, illustrating the EU continued support to the multilateral system of international relations, peace and stability.

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14 mai 2014 3 14 /05 /mai /2014 07:45
Falco photo Léa Lisa Westerhoff - RFI

Falco photo Léa Lisa Westerhoff - RFI



13 May 2014 defenceWeb


The United Nations has shelved plans to deploy surveillance drones as part of its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast due to improved security, but is now seeking a company to provide the unarmed aircraft for its peacekeeping mission in Mali.


The United Nations wants to expand its use of unmanned aerial vehicles after it successfully deployed the aircraft for the first time in December - to aid U.N. peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo.


It has called for companies to submit expressions of interest to provide surveillance drones for Mali, based in the northern towns of Timbuktu and Gao. The deadline is Wednesday, according to the request by the United Nations.


"It is expected that contracts will be for a period of 3 years," it said. "UAV capability should provide long endurance and be able to fly long range to a point of interest, loiter on patrol and return to base."


Al Qaeda-linked fighters hijacked a rebellion by Tuareg separatists in the Mali's desert north after a 2012 army coup.


France began an intervention more than a year ago which scattered the insurgents across Mali and into neighboring countries, but in recent months the Islamist groups have stepped up their operations.


A U.N. peacekeeping force, known as MINUSMA, assumed authority on July 1 from a U.N.-backed African force in Mali. But while the U.N. Security Council mandated a 12,600-strong force, there are only some 7,500 troops on the ground.


In Ivory Coast the United Nations is gradually reducing the size of its peacekeeping force. The world's top cocoa grower is emerging from a decade of political turmoil that ended in a brief post-election civil war in 2011 when former president Laurent Gbagbo rejected the victory of rival Alassane Ouattara.


"The deployment of UAVs in (Ivory Coast) may no longer be warranted due to changed operational requirements and an improved security situation," said one U.N. peacekeeping official familiar with the issue.


"Their deployment has been put on hold until further notice and consultations with the government continue," he said.


The West African country had asked the United Nations to consider deploying drones along its border with Liberia to offset the planned reduction in peacekeepers. Western Ivory Coast had been the target of deadly raids blamed on supporters of Gbagbo.


Ivory Coast's defense minister, Paul Koffi Koffi, told Reuters that a final decision on the deployment of the surveillance drones by the United Nations would likely be made in June.


"There were some differences of opinion, but it is still in discussion," he said.

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16 mars 2014 7 16 /03 /mars /2014 12:30
Turkey's Otokar Wins Armored Vehicle Contract From UN

The UN is buying Cobra armored vehicles from Turkish company Otokar for use on peacekeeping missions. (Otokar)


Mar. 6, 2014 - By BURAK EGE BEKDIL – Defense News


ANKARA — Turkey’s leading armored vehicles manufacturer, Otokar, has said that it won a $24.6 million contract from the United Nations.


In a news release March 6, Otokar said the contract was for an unspecified number of the company’s Cobra vehicles. The UN will use the Cobras in peacekeeping operations, the company said.


Cobra, used by the armies of 15 different countries, is Otokar’s best known vehicle. Turkish security forces use the four-wheel-drive Cobra for reconnaissance and area control.


Otokar reported 40 percent growth in 2013, with exports of $117 million.


The company also is the developer of the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous, new-generation main battle tank. In 2008, Otokar signed a $500 million contract with the Turkish procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, to produce four prototypes under the Altay program.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Selex ES to deliver unmanned aerial surveillance to the United Nations for peace keeping

Sep 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Selex ES


Selex ES a Finmeccanica company, was awarded, on 31 July, a service agreement by the United Nations for the provision of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for 3 years with 2 optional years, in support of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the use of the UAS, consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and associated enablers for information gathering/surveillance operations.


It is the first time that the UN has contracted with a civilian operator to provide UAV technology to aid in executing its unique humanitarian mandate.


Selex ES will be utilizing its proprietary FALCO UAV system composed of:

    Multiple remotely piloted aircraft

    Ground control stations

    Support equipment and



The FALCO is an unarmed mission-proven medium altitude, medium endurance UAV able to operate from semi-prepared airstrips with fully automated take off, landing and mission execution capability. It is employed by numerous nations around the world and has proven itself in a variety of environmental conditions.


Selex ES will deploy a highly experienced team of pilots, maintenance engineers and information analysts using the most sophisticated sensors and data exploitation tools available.

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26 juin 2013 3 26 /06 /juin /2013 15:45
UN gives go-ahead to deployment of Mali peacekeepers

25 June 2013 BBC Africa


The United Nations Security Council has agreed that a UN peacekeeping force of 12,600 troops should be deployed in Mali from 1 July.


Britain's ambassador to the UN said there was "unanimous agreement" for UN peacekeepers to take over from the African-led operation imminently.


The UN will stick to a schedule drawn up in April.


International forces intervened in February to stop an Islamist advance on the capital, Bamako.


The new UN force, known as Minusma, will face security and political obstacles and will be deployed in extreme summer heat.


The force will aim to provide security for a presidential election due on 28 July.


Some clashes are continuing between Islamists groups and Tuarag rebels, according to the UN envoy to Mali, Albert Koenders.


He added that there would be "major challenges" to holding the election as scheduled.


France, key to the current deployment, will maintain at least 1,000 troops in the country for anti-terrorism operations.


British UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the new peacekeeping contingent would initially comprise the vast majority of troops from the African mission already there.


They now have four months to meet UN human rights and equipment standards.


UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said Chad would be closely monitored because it is on a blacklist for using child soldiers.


"The United Nations is making every effort to screen the Chadian contingent... and ensure that no troops under 18 are among them," Mr Ladsous added.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 18:20
60+ Nations Sign UN Arms Trade Treaty

04/06/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


Some 60 nations have approved a new United Nations global arms treaty, covering the supply of tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles, combat aircraft, battleships and more.


The UN's Arms Trade Treaty opened for signatures on 3 June and, so far, the uptake has been considerable, with a total of 61 countries now having given it their blessing. They include Argentina, which was quick to move, but not the United States, although Washington's signature is expected imminently.


On the other hand, it is not anticipated that China and Russia are in any rush to sign the Arms Trade Treaty and may not ever do so.


Arms Trade Treaty


The Arms Trade Treaty has been in development for more than six years but was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly two months ago. At that point, 154 nations gave it their support but three nations - North Korea, Iran and Syria - voiced opposition and there were 26 abstentions, including Egypt, India, China and Russia.


The Arms Trade Treaty is the first significant global effort to try and halt the illegal weapons trade responsible for heightened violence and extremist actions in many parts of the world.

The countries which ultimately ratify it will be obliged to set up strict arms sales controls.


UN Arms Treaty Signatures


According to Ban Ki-moon - the United Nations Secretary General - the rapid flow of first-day treaty signatures emphasises how "the world has finally put an end to the 'free-for-all' nature of international weapons transfers". He added: "The treaty...will make it harder for weapons to be diverted into the illicit market, to reach warlords, pirates, terrorists and criminals or to be used to commit grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law."


The UN Arms Trade Treaty has seven sponsor nations, namely Argentina, Australia, Finland, Kenya, Japan, Costa Rica and the UK. "It is vital that the treaty comes into force as soon as possible and is effectively implemented", these seven said, in a statement issued on 3 June.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 17:45
New UNAMID Commander

05 June 2013 defenceWeb (UN)


The United Nations and the African Union have announced the appointment of Tanzanian Lieutenant General Paul Ignace Mella as Force Commander of the joint peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur.


Established in July 2007, the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has civilian protection as its core mandate, but is also tasked with contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements and assisting with an inclusive political process among other responsibilities.


Mella replaces Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda who finished his tour of duty on March 31.


“The secretary-general would like to express his appreciation to General Nyamvumba for his dedication and invaluable service during his tenure in UNAMID,” a UN spokesperson said in a statement.


Mella has a long and distinguished career with the Tanzanian military. Most recently he served as Chief of its Defence Intelligence Organisation in Dar es Salaam. Prior to this he held a number of operational, command and staff positions, including Director of Foreign Intelligence in the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Forces, Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion in the UN Mission in Liberia and Defence Adviser at the Tanzania High Commission in Uganda

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22 avril 2013 1 22 /04 /avril /2013 17:45
Military and political action necessary if Mali elections are to take place in July

22 April 2013 by defenceWeb


With elections tentatively set for July in Mali, both the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have urged all stakeholders to support the transition process both from a political and military point of view.


This emerged from last week’s fourth meeting of the AU support and follow-up group on Mali in Addis Ababa.


The meeting was also attended by the UN’s top political official, Jeffrey Feltman, who said: “Efforts should be redoubled to ensure the political process, which is key to Mali’s stability in both the short and long term, is not overshadowed by the equally essential military operations currently underway”.


He noted the UN Security Council was expected to make decisions “soon” on options presented in the latest report of the secretary-general on Mali. This includes the possible establishment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the country.


Feltman, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, called on the international community to provide “timely financial and logistic support for the elections”. This as the world body was intensifying its efforts in support of preparations for “free, fair, transparent and credible polls” in keeping with international standards.


“We hope ongoing security operations as well as well as the appointment of the Commission for Dialogue and Reconciliation will help overcome these challenges and pace the way for inclusive and credible elections.”


Presidential elections are tentatively scheduled for July 7 with legislative elections to follow two weeks later on July 21.


An AU statement released after the support and follow-up group meeting urged all Malian stakeholders to support the transition process and the country’s interim authorities.


The continental body also pointed out the international community’s resolve to take measures “including sanctions against those undermining the transition process”. The UN would be requested to consider sanctions “if the situation warrants”.


The AU welcomed the start of military training delivered by the EU Training Mission as part of the important task of training and reforming the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF). “This is part of the total restoration of the Mali chain of command under civilian control,” the AU statement read.


Indications are the UN Security Council will approve creation of a 12 600 strong peacekeeping force for Mali in July. The force is expected to be made up of primarily African contingents with Mauritania saying it will contribute 1 800 troops.


The UN force will take over peacekeeping duties from France which has indicated it will start scaling down its current 4 000 strong military deployment in Mali to 1 000 by year-end.


France, aided by about 2 400 troops from Chad, began a military offensive in January to drive out Islamist fighters, who had hijacked a revolt by Mali's Tuareg rebels and seized two-thirds of the West African country.

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