By Security Solutions International Staff
By Eeben Barlow
Since fielding the first United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping mission in 1948, the world has witnessed the deployment of about 63 U.N. peacekeeping operations.
Since 1989 the U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has deployed 18 missions to Africa.
By November 2006 the DPKO’s deployment had reached an all-time high with 81,000 military and police personnel and 15,000 civilians. With 18 active missions in progress at that time, it was estimated that the DPKO would possibly require a budget of U.S. $7 billion. By 2010 this figure will have increased significantly, particularly in Africa.
The U.N.’s DPKO African missions
When the DPKO’s African missions are tabulated, one can gain some perspective of the scope of the U.N.’s involvement in Africa. Table 1 below chronicles these operations.
Success can only be achieved or claimed if a mission has succeeded in bringing about and maintaining peace, allowing for nation-building to take place in an environment where the local population can live with the knowledge that they are secure.
However, in order to assess the success of the DPKO’s missions, one needs to analyze differences between a DPKO mission and an alternate option exercised by an African government that has experienced the DPKO’s deployment in its country.
The Sierra Leone Debacle
Sierra Leone has had firsthand experience of a devastating, cruel, and vicious civil war. With a civil war already in progress when he seized power, Captain Valentine Strasser’s calls to the United Nations for assistance were ignored. He subsequently contracted a private military company (PMC) known as Executive Outcomes (EO) to come to the rescue of Sierra Leone. EO arrived in Sierra Leone in April 1995 and when the company left in January 1997 because of massive international pressure, the rebel forces that had terrorized the country were all but destroyed. The United Nations then stepped in.
In assessing the U.N.’s role in terms of cost and achievement, one gains perspective by comparing it against EO.
Read the rest of Eeben Barlow’s article at Homeland1.