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Time to Rethink Peacekeeping Missions


The term peacekeeping dates back to the 1950s and peacekeeping missions have been used as the international society’s attempt to work in an organized and usually multilateral fashion to reduce and manage armed conflict. Peacekeeping missions are deployed by the United Nations. The post-Cold War period has generally recorded a reduction in the number and intensity of armed conflicts involving world governments. According to the data collected by Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) such conflicts have dropped by a 40% margin. Some pundits argue that a significant part of a credit regarding the said fall should be given to the peace support operations. 

Interestingly the same period has also witnessed a growing proportion of armed conflicts ending through negotiated settlements rather than the military victory of one of the parties to conflict. Although there is no evidence that the presence of peace operations can successfully facilitate peace agreements, such operations do significantly reduce the likelihood of wars reigniting after such agreements have been concluded. The importance of such peace operations therefore cannot be ignored since they have certainly given a major contribution to the modern UN interventions in conflicts. However, what is clear is the fact that there has been a shift from the traditional peacekeeping to the current peace support operations owing to the changed environment. With these adjustments there are new challenges. There is a two ways movement; one is that the changed environment has led to the change of stratagem and the other is that with the adjusted strategies there emerge new challenges. 

In strict usage of terms, peacekeeping missions slightly differs from peace support operations in the sense that peacekeeping missions were mainly military and they were a response to interstate conflicts while on the other hand, peace support operations are more complex and integrated. Peace support operations are a hybrid of military, police and civilian personnel drawn from diverse fields and deployed in a wider scale, with elaborate mandate and responding to quite diverse issues in a mission. 

It is important that there has been a movement from traditional peacekeeping to the current peace support operations. However, either way something more needs to be done to ensure that world peace and security is on good check. The world needs to re look at peacekeeping missions/peace support operations. We either rework them out to work for us or drop them altogether.  As it were, they might not make any significant improvement of world peace and security if left to proceed the way they are today. After all, reports of human rights violations by peacekeepers or peace supporters; whichever name we give them, are deafening and their involvement in contemporary cross border organized crimes such as all manner or trafficking, trade in ivory and minerals is worrying. The so called peacekeepers and/or peace supports are increasingly becoming a big threat to the very peace they should keep. To some, this is nothing but a multi-million-dollar industry through which to mint coins. Left this way we are soon (or we are there already) experiencing a situation where peace keepers and/or supporters will work for conflict escalation to extend their presence in conflict zones in order to continue profiting from the peacekeeping enterprise.  

Time to Rethink Peacekeeping Missions Time to Rethink Peacekeeping Missions Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 11, 2016 Rating: 5

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