Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sudan Advises Aid Agencies to Accept Military Escort Offer

VOA reports that the Sudanese government is warning UN agencies and aid groups that they should accept military escorts to travel through the Darfur region. This offer follows a day after OXFAM reported they would consider withdrawal from Darfur if the security situation did not improve.

Monday, September 24, 2007

NATO retreats from establishment of rapid-reaction force - International Herald Tribune

After months of telegraphing the difficulties of having non-troop contributing nations to shoulder the costs of deployments in Afghanistan, it is perhaps little surprising that NATO member-states have sunk the dream of a NATO Response Force.

"NATO has a problem that affects the EU as well. There are simply not enough troops. NATO is asking member states to sign up to the Response Force at a time when more troops are needed for Afghanistan. NATO has hit a ceiling. The Response Force is a luxury member states cannot afford."

Politics aside, it seems a sad ending that undermines efforts to bolster the Responsibility to Protect and support sustainable peacebuilding and peace support operations. If NATO member-states can't afford this 'luxury', who can?

UNDP Jobs- Consultant- Head of Security Unit, Moldova/Ukraine

UNDP is recruiting for a Head of Security Unit to serve as the Mission Security Advisor.

United States Insitute for Peace- US Police in Peace and Stability Operations

USIP has a recent publication examining why the US should carry through on plans to create a federal-level police reserve for international peace and stability operations.


• The first obligation of an international intervention force in a peace or stability operation is to provide security for the civilian population. Inevitably the arrival of foreign military forces is followed by a breakdown of public order.

• Historically U.S. military forces have been unable or unwilling to perform police functions to control large-scale civil unrest. This was true in Iraq, where looters destroyed government buildings, cultural centers, and commercial areas.

• The United States lacks civilian constabulary (gendarmes) or other national police forces specially trained for crowd and riot control. Instead the U.S. relies on civil police provided by commercial contractors that do not perform this function.

• Fortunately the U.S. government is taking steps to address this deficiency. Current State Department plans call for creation of a Civilian Reserve Corps that would have a police component.

• There is no agreement on the ultimate size and character of this police capacity. However, the history of U.S. interventions from Panama to Iraq argues for a robust capability.

• A review of U.S. interventions in post-conflict environments demonstrates that the United States has repeatedly needed highly capable police forces but has lacked the capacity to respond effectively. The case studies in this report provide lessons applicable to future operations.

• The State Department’s current efforts are a useful first step that will give an opportunity to create the basic infrastructure for expansion of U.S. capabilities in peace and stability operations.

UNAMA- Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan, 2001-2007

The United Nations Mission to Afghanistan has published an overview of Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan, 2001- 2007.

The paper notes that suicide attacks remain an alien phenomenon in Afghanistan. UNAMA has set out to raise awareness on the impact of the continuing conflict on Afghan civilians, and highlights that the victims of suicide attacks around 80% civilian. As has been reported elsewhere, the study notes that the death toll has remained relatively low, given the general ineptness of the bombers themselves.

The resulting guidelines revert to the typically big-picture ambitions associated with the Afghanistan nation-building project.

Immediate efforts are needed to diminish perceptions of a foreign military occupation:
- the counter insurgency forces must reduce civilian casualties and conscientiously work to uphold the dignity and honour of Afghans, to avoid provoking an outraged population into volunteering for jihad
- the Afghan national forces must be supported to increasingly assume responsibility for the provision of more effective security
- means must be found to engage other Muslim countries to help provide security and reconstruction in Afghanistan

Military approaches alone may have only marginal short-term impacts. Immediate political efforts are needed to undermine, contain and even constrict the insurgents’ support base. This will require the Afghan Government to:
- meet the demands of the population whose concerns and frustrations might otherwise drive them embrace the armed resistance
- reduce corruption, oversee fair judicial processes and focus on the provision of public services
- engage all relevant civil society groups - including religious authorities - to build a consensus against suicide attacks and their perpetrators. However, for such civil society actors to step up, their safety must be ensured

Eliminate suicide attacks cells through a mix of law and order, military operations and engagement:
- efforts must be made to compel volunteers to reject violence and adopt more constructive forces of change
- insurgents should be encouraged to express their grievances through political and democratic means

Address the cross border dimension of suicide attacks in Afghanistan:
- Pakistani supportiveness is required to eliminate domestic support for the insurgency in Afghanistan, to address militancy within its own borders, to reform governance in the tribal areas and invest in development
- the international community should encourage Pakistan and Afghanistan to embark upon a process through which all outstanding bilateral concerns are addressed and eventually resolved

Doug Brooks' Ruthless Logic | Human Security Review

Human Security Review blogs an article by Doug Brooks that they describe as 'short and idiotic'- a perspective that we have to echo.

The idea of commercializing human security or military intervention is in itself not new- look at the grand successes in Iraq and Afghanistan, to take the most evident examples. That said, labelling humanitarian organizations and advocacy groups as ruthless is an odd comment, and one that is written from the uniquely integrationist approach to how the international community operates. This school of thought imagines that all actors, whatever their origin, raison d'etre, politics or principles, should join the 'one team, one mission' concept, and wear the same t-shirts. This school has some merits, while it is also terribly naive- the range of stakeholders, politics, means, resources, donors, politicians, regional groups, local dynamics, national politics, ethnic divisions, etc., etc. all overwhelm such simplistic concepts.

Perhaps Brooks' speculations would seem more credible if the private security sector had a real success story to trumpet their claims of being the 'all singing, all dancing' solution to the world's problems.

Coordinating Chaos - Peace and Conflict Society (PACS), Trudeau Centre for the Study of Peace and Conflict, University of Toronto

The Peace and Conflict Society (PACS) at the Trudeau Centre for the Study of Peace and Conflict at the University of Toronto is organizing a conference entitled 'Coordinating Choas' which might be of interest to readers.

'The Peace and Conflict Society’s third annual conference entitled Coordinating Chaos: Taking a Multi-Dimensional Approach to Stabilization Operations, focuses on the changing nature of humanitarian intervention and on how to integrate the multiple actors operating within conflict zones in order to foster a lasting peace. The conference seeks to advance the academic dialogue surrounding conflict intervention and to expand potential policy options available to global leaders whose decisions determine the fate of nations and directly impact global stability. Coordinating Chaos will examine the challenges of integrating political, military, economic, and humanitarian actors within conflict zones so as to develop coherent, multi-dimensional strategies for peace support and counterinsurgency operations.'

Fight Less, Win More - the Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy

An interesting Washington Post article written by an instructor at the Afghanistan Counterinsurgency Academy.

'The grandly misnamed "academy" is a tiny collection of huts and tents on Kabul's dusty southern outskirts. Since May, motley classes of several dozen Afghan army officers, Afghan policemen, NATO officers, American officers and civilians have been learning and living side by side there for a week at a time.

The academy does much more than teach the theory and tactics of fighting the Taliban insurgents who are trying to unseat President Hamid Karzai and claw their way back to power. It is also a rare forum for military officers, civilian aid workers, academics and diplomats -- from Afghanistan and all 37 countries in NATO's International Security Assistance Force -- to unite in trying to bring good governance, prosperity and security to Afghanistan. The curriculum is based on the Army and Marine Corps' new counterinsurgency doctrine, released in December. Classes revolve around four so-called paradoxes of counterinsurgency. Unless we learn all four well, we'll continue to win battles in Afghanistan while losing the war.'

The theory sounds great, shame there isn't more online about this 'academy'. Where does one sign up for this week-long love-in of soldiers, aid workers and others??

UN INSTRAW - Gender, Peace and Security- Gender Training for Peacekeepers

peacekeepers.pngA good resource site that has a comprehensive overview of available gender training for peacekeepers. Curious to see how little is available in the Americas and East/South East Asia.

Standoff with Taliban leaves big Afghan dam project in limbo - International Herald Tribune

IHT has a great article on the seemingly desperate efforts to bring stability to Helmand Province via reconstruction projects. The cycle seems like that experienced in Iraq: initial attempts were made with a variety of largely private sector actors; insurgents/rebels starting direct attacks on the projects; civilian operators fled, and now a militarized USAID project does all it can to try and rebuild under fire.


Al Jazeera- Video of Taliban

With all the talk of hearts and minds, Al Jazeera embedded a cameraman with Taliban forces wandering about Northern Afghanistan.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The International Geneva Peacebuilding Guide- An Inventory of Geneva-based capacity and expertise

A new resource was launched this week by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy:

'This conference presents the preliminary findings of an analytical mapping that was undertaken as an integral part of ‘The UN Peacebuilding Commission and International Geneva’ project. Since late 2005, the GCSP and its partners have organised a series of events and public discussions looking at the implications for International Geneva of the work of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. The project has been developed by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in collaboration with its partners, the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva (QUNO), the Graduate Institute for International Studies (HEI/PSIS) and the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). Financial support has been provided by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN).

Since 2006, the project and its partners have engaged a broad range of International Geneva stakeholders in discussions, workshops and public events, aimed at examining the importance of peacebuilding, and the formation of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). These events and discussions led to a number of findings and recommendations that looked at how International Geneva could influence peacebuilding issues including questions of financing, local ownership, civil society, expertise, analysis, networks and coordination. Please refer to Annex 3 for more details activities of the project to date.

To complement the ongoing discussions and events of 2006, it was decided to undertake an analytical mapping of the peacebuilding capacities and expertise of Geneva-based stakeholders. The results of this mapping have been made public in an online database, the ‘International Geneva Peacebuilding Guide’. This Guide allows users to conduct complex searches and filtering of the data collected from the mapping. The International Geneva Peacebuidlding Guide can be consulted at the following link: http://www.gcsp.ch/e/publications/IGPeaceProject/Guide/index.htm.

The preliminary findings of the project to date are included in this document, and offer a first glimpse of the data collected as of 09 September 2007. We are able to have a comprehensive look at the topography of the International Geneva peacebuilding landscape, the types of organisations present, the countries in which these organisations are engaged, the peacebuilding sectors in which they are active, and the types of activities they undertake. A total of 69 organisations have provided detailed information on on up to 3 peacebuilding sectors where they feel they have the greatest added value, and have also elaborated on how they engage in these priority sectors in the actual and potential PBC focus countries.'

The Guide can be accessed here.

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