Fog of Peace

The Fog of Peace: A Memoir of International Peacekeeping in the 21st Century

 

by Jean-Marie Guehenno[1]

 

Reviewed by James V. Arbuckle, for Peacehawks

 

Introduction

 

Jean-Marie Guehenno was appointed United Nations Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (USG PKO) in 2000, and held that position until 2008.  A “scholar-diplomat”, as one blurbist has characterized him, he was until  his appointment without direct experience of the United Nations.

 

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was created in 1992 from the Department of Special Political Affairs, which had been responsible for PKOs since their inception in 1948.  The then USG for that Department, Marrack Goulding, assumed the leadership of the new DPKO until he was succeeded by Kofi Annan in 1993. Annan was replaced by Bernard Miyet of France in 1997 when Annan  became Secretary-General[2].  Since then all DPKO USGs have been French, and on 1 April  of this year Jean-Pierre Lacroix will replace Herve Ladsus.

 

The book is engagingly written, and conveys well the feel of the immediacy of high diplomacy, but careful readers may find some things missing.

Continue reading

stones in Brazil
Video

CHINA GOES MODERN – BUT MIND THE GAPS

 

 

a book review essay for Peacehawks, by James V. Arbuckle

 

The books reviewed in this essay are:

The Man from Beijing, by Henning Mankell, Harvill Secker, London, 2008

Lost in Translation, by Nicole Mones, Delta, New York, 1998

Forbidden Fruit – 1980 Beijing (A Memoir), by Gail Pellett, Van Dam, New York, 2016

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The three books discussed here, two novels and a memoir, give us differing but intersecting views of the colossus of our age: China.  The two works of fiction, one a crime novel and the other a romance, are in fact both historical novels: both are closely linked to facts, but both provide a degree of intimacy and insight that  straight historical work usually cannot.  However, as we will note later, the ever-engaging Gail Pellett achieves a novelistic immediacy and intimacy in her Memoir.

Continue reading

Caught?

Still caught in the crossfire? UN peace operations and their information capacities

  by Ingrid A. Lehmann

(Editor’s Note: This article is a version of a chapter in the book, Communication and Peace: Managing an emerging field, Eds. Hoffmann and Hawkins, Routledge, London, 2015)

Introduction

When the United Nations launched its first peacekeeping operations in the 1950s, the concept of using third party military units to create conditions for peace was in its infancy. Inevitably, media reporting of those first peace operations was scanty. Public impressions of these efforts at conflict resolution were covered by relatively few print media and only some television news programs.

However, conflicts in the 1990s in the Balkans, in Somalia and in Rwanda occurred nearly simultaneously and attracted 24/7 instant news coverage around the world. UN peace operations which were enmeshed in these new wars were thus propelled into the limelight. The media was systematically used by parties to the conflict to propagate hatred and violence, putting international peacekeepers increasingly on the defensive. Consequently, UN operations deployed in these conflicts received much unfavorable publicity and were, in more ways than one, caught in the crossfire (Lehmann 1999, 2009; Alleyne 2003; Loewenberg 2006; Lindley 2007; Abusaad 2008; Egleder 2012).

Finally, the United Nations itself had to recognize the power of communication as a critical support for its peacekeeping operations. Beginning in 2000 a new peacekeeping doctrine evolved following the issue of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations – the so-called “Brahimi Report” – which also addressed the question of public information capacity. Simultaneously, substantial reforms of the UN’s own Information Department (DPI) were undertaken by senior management under Secretary-General Kofi Annan. These reforms resulted in a series of policy papers and guidance notes which established a strategic approach to managing information during peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Throughout this process, which lasted several years, strategic communication was the declared goal of the UN in which the concept of peace communication  was implicit rather than explicit.

In order to analyze the effectiveness of the new communication policy this chapter will look at three peacekeeping operations where the UN’s ability to build public support and respond to criticism was tested:

1.   The UN operation in Kosovo: “Peace Journalism” at work?

2. The UN’s role in the cholera crisis in Haiti (2010–2013): failed scandal- 
management; and

3.  Sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the Congo.

The comparative brevity of this article will not allow a comprehensive analysis of the public dimensions of those peacekeeping operations. By selecting critical incidents or crises for the missions concerned we will look at how these challenging situations were handled, and to what effect.

Continue reading

Peaceweaving

Weaving a Peace?

PEACEWEAVING – Shamanistic insights into mediating the transformation of power, by Ben Hoffman, January 2013 – a review for Peacehawks, by Neil Patton

Peaceweaving is not your typical book on mediation. And Ben Hoffman is not your typical mediator. Hoffman has mediated a wide range of conflicts. From commercial agreements to prison hostage situations to disputes between violent African Warlords, his career has taken him from posh boardrooms to the naked risks of undisclosed jungle encampments.

Hoffman provides a thorough overview of the classic and de rigeur tools and tactics of the mediation trade, but his unique addition to the discipline is where he seeks to elevate it to a level on par with Maslowian self-actualization. Peaceweaving is an impressive and an intensely personal marrying of two concepts that just don’t normally roll off the tongue in any natural sequence: mediation and shamanism. Yes, shamanism. Not your typical mediation book. Not your typical mediator.

Hoffman’s is a very personal narrative of his journey through a vast mediation career which parallels his own evolution into “Shaman cum Mediator”. Yes, a shaman as mediator. Seems a bit far out there, but it is authentic, and it does have value for the profession.

For most practitioners in the conflict resolution field this might seem a bit of a reach, even implausible. For the hard core realists, this will be seen as pure flakiness, naivety wrapped in new age crystals and prayer flags. He speaks freely of his role as a mediator to eliminate negative energies and to move the conflicted parties’ relationships towards one of “power with” the other party and away from “power over” the other party.

Hoffman is aspirational, unbelievably aspirational. But this is an approach that seeks to be transformational, not just adding a new tactical process to the conflict resolution field. Hoffman’s career has led him to great challenges. This book is not so much about labour disputes and trade deals. Hoffman seeks to bring a new way of thinking to the most violent and protracted disputes of our times, and the ones just around the corner. This is a man who has looked straight into the eyes of African war lords who were responsible for mass killings, abducting children, and child soldiers, and he didn’t blink (though he does admit to suffering from intense internal anxiety from time-to-time).

What will be comforting to traditionalists and realists who dare to read deeply enough into Hoffman’s approach is that he understands that power is at the core of all conflict, and that failure to understand this is a critical error for any mediator at any level. It is all about power, but for Hoffman it is also about transforming how the parties relate to and use their power. Hoffman’s view is that the greatest challenge is to transform the parties and their relationship with their power and the power dynamics in the conflict. This is where he seeks to transform the art of mediation. In this regard Hoffman’s understanding of the challenges in mediation is spot on. He gets it: it is all about power and the parties’ own beliefs about their relative power. He is no naïf in this regard.

Ultimately, Hoffman asks: what is my role as mediator? For him it can be as ambitious as seeking to alter and transform the core values of the parties in conflict. Pretty aspirational stuff (US foreign policy has been known to try the same). In Hoffman’s view not all mediators will answer this question the same. Most will not likely answer like Hoffman. After all, he seeks to weave peace in the great violent conflicts of our times. The challenge of a commercial dispute does not raise the same transformational goal for him, nor should it. That’s about commerce, not peace. Hoffman is dealing in human lives, human dignity, and transforming parties upward from years and decades of violence.

His proposal that mediators elevate their role to that of a shaman is indeed daring, bold, and even unthinkable. But that’s what true visionaries and innovators do. A man on the moon in 1940? Unthinkable. The Berlin wall coming down in 1970? Unthinkable. Film clips and photos sent from mobile phone to mobile phone in 1980? Unthinkable. Mediator as Shaman? …unthinkable…?

 

Neil Patton is the co-founder and proprietor of Pre-think Inc. (see http://www.pre-think.com). Neil has worked in negotiations for over 20 years. He has been a chief negotiator, strategist, coach, and trainer. His practice covers a variety of negotiations (collective bargaining, procurement, sales/marketing, commercial contracts) and sectors (utilities, telecoms, health care, education, mining, military, social services, retail, land development).
Ben Hoffman co-founded the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation in 1992 (see http://www.ciian.org). CIIAN is dedicated to the prevention and resolution of destructive conflict and to building sustainable peace at local, national, and international levels. Ben is the author of several important books on the subjects of negotiation and mediation. Ben has been, if not the official Peacehawks shaman, certainly our guru for as long as we’ve known him – and each other.
Question of Peace

GIVING PEACE LITERATURE A CHANCE: a book review

The Question of Peace in Modern Political Thought, Toivo Koivukoski and Edward Tabachnick, eds.. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, 2015

- by Jamie Arbuckle

Introduction

At a very early stage in my career as a soldier, I had amassed a very comprehensive collection of classical war literature: Sun Tzu, du Picq, the Brodies, Ropp, Earle, Liddell-Hart, Keegan, Taylor, and more, spanning more than two-and-one-half millenia. I thought I knew what war had been, was now and might  be.  Nearly half a century later, I have them all still on my shelves, and have often referred to several of them in these pages.

I have never read a book about peace, and I don’t actually know much about it. So the arrival of this book for this review was, for me, timely. Perhaps for you as  well?

What is peace? Is it merely the absence of war? Or is it the absence of violent conflict? Was the period between the two World Wars a peace? Is scale involved, that is to say, was the NATO-led action in Serbia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1999 a war (it is commonly called one)? Can we have peace without justice, or must those responsible for unjust wars be pursued beyond the cessation of hostilities?  And is there such a thing as a just war?

I think we need some answers to these questions and more, and I hoped this book would help me to understand peace at least as well as I once thought I understood war.

Continue reading

AU Hb cover

Media Strategy in Peace Processes

- by Ingrid Lehmann

Introduction

Many diplomats and others involved in the mediation of international conflicts tend to be reluctant to publicize details of their work and may prefer to stay entirely out of the media’s limelight. While this approach has its merits during some negotiations, particularly in the early stages, in today’s 24/7 information environment nothing stays confidential for long. It only is a matter of time before information leaks, sometimes at the initiative of the parties themselves. Increasingly, mediators find that an active media strategy becomes an essential element of their work. Such a public-information strategy will aim to build public support for the peace process, shape the public image of the international negotiator and avoid negative fallout from uncontrolled and misleading public exposure.

In 21st-century conflicts, there are not only professional reporters covering a conflict or emerging crisis, but countless interested observers. Some may be citizens ‘bearing witness’, who can create a ‘story’ through a short message, photo or video posted on the internet. Such news items can be picked up by the traditional media and may rapidly take on a life of their own. (1) For mediators it thus becomes vital to monitor relevant information channels and attempt to manage the news flow about their work in a proactive way. Seeking the ‘information high ground’, as in defining and enunciating the basic issues in the negotiations and avoiding unnecessary and contentious details, ought to become one of the goals of all active mediators.

Continue reading

UN Charter
Aside

The Charter of the United Nations: A Primer

 

Introduction

In the course of a 37-year military career, which included UN peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, I never once read or even saw a copy of the Charter of the United Nations. I don’t know of any other officers who did, nor did I ever even hear it discussed. And, and so far as understanding our employment and our missions, that was pretty much it for my generation of officers. And still it seems today that much current debate, even at very high levels, is little better informed and no less careless of details than were my generation.

This is just not good enough. Ill informed debate is not useful discussion, and we have learned the hard way that unrealistic expectations produce ill judgement, which can and often does lead to self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.

To the extent that the United Nations is the pre-eminent system and authority for, inter-alia, the maintenance of international peace and security, and to the extent that we really do care about these issues, we need to know the Organization better, and there is no better way to know this Organization than through familiarity with its mighty Charter. (As you can see from the illustration above, I have since put a lot of miles on my copy of the Charter, even, as you can also see, while I was in fact working Chapter VIII.)

The Charter of the UN is a remarkable document. Drafted in 1945, and entering into force just six months after the drafting, it has been amended on only four occasions, the last over 40 years ago.

We will in this article describe and explore the following Chapters of the Charter of the United Nations:

Chapter I: Purposes and Principles
Chapter III:  Organs
Chapter IV: The General  Assembly
Chapter V: The Security Council
Chapter VI: Pacific Settlement of Disputes
Chapter VII: Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression
Chapter VIII: Regional Arrangements

Continue reading

stones in Brazil

MEDITATING ON MEDIATING

LINES WRITTEN A FEW METRES ABOVE UNTERWASSERSTRASSE[i]:

Introduction and Background

The end of the Cold War did not, as we then so fondly hoped, usher in an era of peace. Although interstate wars may seem to have become relatively rare, intra-state conflict has become nearly constant and largely intractable. Armed force alone is of little value in resolving these lower-level but deadly conflicts – and intrastate wars have since the early Nineties been characterized by sickening casualty tolls.[ii] Alternate means of management and resolution of conflicts by non-violent methods have therefore been widely sought. These have, in some cases, offered real hope for the mitigation and even the prevention of conflict.

A resultant interest in the tools of mediation and negotiation continues to grow. The entire field which is generally referred to as alternate dispute resolution seems to present an attractive soft power tool box for the restoration and maintenance of peace. It has become an essential measure for containing, preventing and (hopefully) resolving conflict – non violently.

Continue reading

book1
Aside

A BOOK WITH A VIEW: A REVIEW OF ROSE OF SARAJEVO, By Ayse Kulin

Kindle edition, published by AmazonCrossing, Seattle
Originally published by Remzi Kitabevi, Istanbul, 1999
Reviewed for Peacehawks by Jamie Arbuckle

Introduction

The author describes her book succinctly and accurately in her introduction:

This book tells the story of the heroic and honorable people who survived the horrendous war in Bosnia that took place from April 5, 1992 to February 26, 1996, during which Sarajevo was held under siege for 1,395 days, without regular electricity, communications or water. Ten thousand six hundred Bosniaks – of whom 1,600 were children – lost their lives. Those who survived were pressured to accept the Dayton Agreement.   With this treaty, 51 per cent of Bosnia was left to Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the Serbs, who comprised only 34 percent of the population before the war, gained 49 per cent of the land. (location 31).

Continue reading

book2
Aside

INTO AFRICA – REALLY!

A review for Peacehawks of Sandpaper: A Story of Africa, by Angela Mackay. 2013.
- by Jamie Arbuckle

Angela Mackay has written a simply marvelous novel of Africa. It is perhaps the best book I’ve read this year, and it takes us truly into an Africa we think we know, or at least we think we know of: the post-colonial legacy of exploitation and neglect, and the post-independence period of corruption and incompetence have combined to produce a dystopia characterized by poverty, ignorance and protracted internal strife. Life is nasty, brutish and short, and we’ve heard it all before – we might even have been there. But when you have laid this book down, you will at last know how little you knew.

Continue reading

CAN CONGO BE SAVED FROM ITSELF?

Panel 3 of a Triptych for Peacehawks, by Jamie Arbuckle

Introduction

On 6 November, the Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with support from UN, Tanzanian and South African forces, defeated the rebel group M23. On 5 December, Nelson Mandela died.  In one month, then, we have been confronted with the worst and the best of sub-Saharan Africa.  Which is the true picture? Which represents the future of Africa? Are conflicts to be peacefully resolved, which we might call the Nelson Mandela Future Model, or are conflicts to be endlessly and brutally protracted, which we might call the Central African Future Model?  Is there hope, or do we face merely a grim preparation for more of the same, in Africa south of the Sahara?

Is the Congo still at the heart of darkness, or is it the birthplace of the first great international human rights movement of the 20th Century?[1]

Continue reading

WHAT AND HOW WE LEARN FROM HISTORY – OR ELSE

Panel 1 of a Triptych for Peacehawks, by Jamie Arbuckle 

The knowledge-toolkit of a historically and politically aware citizen of this century will have several essential compartments – you won’t leave home without them. These may differ widely among us, depending on many personal and collective factors of our respective cultures and origins. In my tool kit, for example, there are five essential compartments, and they are: the American Revolution; the Napoleonic Wars; the American Civil War; World War I and the Russian Revolution; and the Holocaust – how it started, and what it took to stop it. So my world, perhaps like yours, has been largely shaped by wars. That is perhaps less true of those younger than I, unless you found the Cold War a lot hotter than I – many Europeans certainly did.  But there is for me a sixth compartment which I suspect we nearly all share, and that one contains the creation and the workings of the United Nations, and the revolutionary effect the Organization has had on the conduct of international affairs.
Continue reading

book3
Aside

UNO: WHAT TRIBE IS THAT?

Panel 2 of a triptych: A book review for Peacehawks of Hammarskjoeld: a Life, by Roger Lipsey, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2013. 738 pp; illus, footnotes, indexed, bibliography.

by Jamie Arbuckle

Introduction

There have of course been several books about Dag Hammarskjoeld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. The most authoritative was Sir Brian Urquhart’s Hammarskjoeld[1] first published in 1972; Urquhart combined immediacy – he was there – with scholarship. More recently (2011), there has been the extremely useful and readable work by Manuel Froehlich. [2]

Do we need another biography of Dag Hammarskjoeld? As we wrote in the first panel of this triptych[3], we believe that there are some stories that are so important to us that they need to be retold afresh in each generation, and there is no redundancy in the retelling. Each generation needs to hear, in its own voice and in its own time, the vital stories of the times. The past is not necessarily fate, but it is often prologue. And living in history is like map reading: if you know where you were and how you have gone, you should know where you are, and you can have a good idea where you are going. Updating the map from time to time can never be of no use.

Continue reading

PEACEKEEPING IN OUR TIME: PAST THE AGE OF CONSENT?

By Jamie Arbuckle, for Peacehawks

Introduction

Have you heard the one about how many Peacekeepers it takes to change a light bulb?

Actually, any number will do – but the light bulb has to want to change.

To know where we are going, we need to know where we are, and to know that, we usually need to know where we have been.  To look ahead, then, we often need to look back.

One of the most critical factors in modern peace operations has, since the creation of the United Nations, been the issue of consent to and the continuing support for an operation.  The  UN is hard-wired for consensual operations; it’s in the DNA, in the Charter:

Continue reading

book4
Aside

CHILD SOLDIERS: WEAPONS OF CHOICE, BUT WHOSE CHOICE?

A book review for Peacehawks:
They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, by Senator Romeo Dallaire, Arrow Books, London, 2010 (307 pp, 12.07 LBS)

By Jamie Arbuckle

INTRODUCTION

Canadian Senator and retired General Romeo Dallaire, the author of the best-selling Shake Hands With the Devil (Random House Canada, 2003), and the original commander of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda in 1994, has written another book, just as timely, urgent and compelling as his first.  Peacehawks  thinks it important that we inform you of this book as quickly as we can – I finished reading it an hour ago.

My life and my career have been very short on living heroes: Robert Rogers died almost a century and a half, and T.E. Lawrence five years, before I was born; I was 22 years old when Dag Hammarskjold was killed, and 23 when JFK was assassinated; my father died when I was only 32.  I didn’t expect to have any more heroes in my direct experience of life.  But I have been rarely privileged to know, even briefly to work with, Romeo Dallaire, and he is every inch a hero for our so dusty, spiteful and divided time. I thought you needed to know my view of the author as you read this review.

Continue reading

book5
Aside

WITH LAWRENCE IN VALHALLA

A book review essay for Peacehawks by Jamie Arbuckle

… the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with eyes wide open, to make it so.  This I did.

T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, by Michael Korda (Harper Collins, New York, 2010. Ilus, 762 pp. $35.00)

Other books discussed in this essay:

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by Lawrence of Arabia (Hazel Watson and Viney Ltd, Aylesbury, Bucks, 1926. Illus, 700 pp [Penguin Vers.])

Lawrence and the Arabs, by Robert Graves (Jonathan Cape, London, 1927. Illus, 454 pp)

Lawrence of Arabia, by Basil H. Liddell Hart (Da Capo Press, New York, 1937, Illus, 406 pp)

Introduction

Did we really need another bio of Lawrence? Well, the most recent of the several, Hero, by Michael Korda is, I think, the best of the bunch, and for me it has been worth the wait.

Continue reading

book6
Aside

REVIEW OF “RESTREPO”: WHEN A PICTURE IS NOT WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

Restrepo, 2010, a film by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington.
Reviewed for Peacehawks by Jamie Arbuckle

It is a characteristic of our very advanced communications media that the medium is often not the message, and sometimes contains almost no message at all. This film is one such non-message.

The intention of the film seems to be to accompany the book, War, by Sebastian Junger. Junger is a skilled writer with a strong sense of contemporary history and is well known for his narrative skills, both of which are amply displayed in his book. War presents the operations of Battle Company, 2nd Parachute Infantry Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan from May 2007 to July 2008. (The other companies in the Battalion are called “Chosen” and “Destined” – the irony, as in so much of the terminology used here, is certainly unintentional.) In particular, the movie tells inter alia the story of the Second Platoon of Battle Company in combat outpost Restrepo, which was named for a very popular medic, Juan Restrepo, and which was established shortly after he was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Continue reading

book7

INTERAGENCY COMMUNICATIONS AND CO-OPERATION IN COMPLEX EMERGENCIES:THE ROLE AND INFLUENCE OF CULTURES

by Jamie Arbuckle, presented to the Workshops on Diversity and Global Understanding, Vienna 2 June 2010
Introduction

A thoroughly modern complex humanitarian emergency typically is a multi-agency operation, involving a vasty array of organizations: international, regional, local; governmental, non-governmental; civilian and military. All have a contribution to make, and some will be vital, but none of them can work alone. Meshing their capabilities to avoid duplications and omissions, is a major challenge for what, begging your pardon and for lack of any better term, I will call the international community. Collectively, they pose a staggering range of diversity, and they present the most complex operating environment I have ever encountered. It is therefore on this, the humanitarian emergency, on which I will now focus. The challenges arising from the organizational and cultural diversity of international and local actors in this type of peace operation are poorly understood, but the problems are so well-known as to have become like Dr Johnson said of the weather: more productive of conversation than of knowledge.
Continue reading

book8
Aside

Light Candles or Curse the Darkness: East Timor Turns the Century

“Militaries that are doing something bad sometimes go into their shell. It’s them against the world.”
– Admiral Dennis Blair, CinC U.S. Pacific Command, on the Indonesian Armed Forces, in 1999.
“ … cutting off contact with Indonesian officers only makes the problem worse”
– Paul Wolfowitz
“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
– Confucius

- a book report by Jamie Arbuckle for Peacehawks:

If You Leave us Here, We Will Die – How Genocide was Stopped in East Timor, by Geoffrey Robinson, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2010, 317 pages, $35

INTRODUCTION

This book tells of the terrible and the wonderful events in East Timor, centred on but not limited to the years 1999- 2000, and of the candles that were lit then. For us the messages in this book are three, and they bear directly on our central belief that peace must be maintained at least as robustly as it is violated. These three messages concern:
Continue reading

book91
Aside

NOT BY DOVES, BUT BY HAWKS – PEACE GETS A CHANCE IN SIERRA LEONE

As the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) comes to a close at the end of this year, it may serve as a model for successful peacekeeping, as well as a prototype for the UN’s new emphasis on peacebuilding.
- From UNAMSIL: A Success Story in Peacekeeping, from “End of Mission Press Kit”, December 2005, http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/unamsil/Overview.pdf
A book review, by Jamie Arbuckle, for Peacehawks:Operation Barras: the SAS Rescue Mission, Sierra Leone 2000, by William Fowler, Cassell, London, 2004. 211 pp, $9.95 (pb)

Introduction

In the summer of 2000 things just couldn’t have been much worse for the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Since February, 1998, nearly 650 persons – peacekeepers, relief workers, priests, nuns, diplomats, and normal people whose luck had run out – had been kidnapped, and 19 of them had been murdered. 575 of those taken were Blue Berets, the equivalent of a whole battalion. By late summer of 2000, about 600 persons had been released, including all of the UN peacekeepers. But about 50 were still captive and, when 11 British soldiers were seized on 25 August, things were getting pretty serious. Yet, less than two years later, the civil war had ended (and seems to have stayed that way), and in 2003 the Kimberly Process virtually ended traffic in the “blood diamonds”, which had been used to finance the rebels. In 2004 the disarmament of the rebel factions was completed and a war crimes tribunal was convened. At the end of 2005, just five years after that nadir of 2000, the peacekeeping mission was being phased out to a peacebuilding mission, and the close-out briefings in New York were presenting this as the poster child of a successful mission.
Continue reading

book10
Aside

Trackless Diplomacy – At Play in the Fields of the Lord’s Resistance Army

… the peacemaker must ‘wage’ peace.
– Ben Hoffmann
Peace Guerilla – unarmed and in harm’s way, my obsession with ending violence
By Ben Hoffmann, Ph.D., The Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation, Ottawa, 2009 206 pp., $12.96 (Cdn)
A review for Peacehawks by Jamie Arbuckle

 

This book is the story of Ben Hoffman’s efforts to end a nineteen-year old war between Sudan and Uganda. His chief instrument in this was the Nairobi Agreement, which had been mediated by former President Jimmy Carter in December, 1999. Ben, working on behalf of the Carter Center (http://www.cartercenter.org/homepage.html), was to oversee the implementation of the Agreement. To do so, he would have to end the guerilla war being waged by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army against the Government of Uganda, from safe areas within and with the support of Sudan. Kony’s LRA was an especially vile band, kidnapping children for “warriors” and “wives”. Kony himself, as Ben makes graphically clear, was mad, bad and dangerous to know. And get to know him Ben did, with all that entailed. If you take nothing else from this reading, you will empathize with the courage and the self-reliance required for this sort of intervention.
Continue reading

book11
Aside

The United Nations Today: As Good as it Gets?

- by Jamie Arbuckle, for Peacehawks

What’s Wrong With the United Nations, and How to Fix It
By Thomas Weiss,
Polity Press, 292 pp., $19.45, 2009

The UN … is essentially the collective agent of its member states. Many of the UN’s organizational incapacities could be corrected by additional resources from its member states, who devote but a tiny fraction of the resources they spend on national security to collective action under the umbrella of the United Nations.
Peacemaking and Peacekeeping for the New Century, Ottunnu and Doyle, Rowan and Littlefield, New York, 1996

This is an interesting book about the United Nations, and an impressive effort to get beyond the usual procedural and structural tinkering which has characterized and limited most efforts to “improve” the U.N. Thomas Weiss is certainly well qualified to write this book. He combines the skills and the background of a practitioner and a scholar: he served with the U.N. Secretariat for a decade, but has also distinguished himself as an academic for over 25 years, during which he has been a profound student of and a prolific writer, researcher and teacher about, the U.N.
Continue reading

National Sovereignty, Domestic Jurisdiction and Consent

Presentation to the Blue Helmet Forum Austria
4-6 June 2009

National Sovereignty, Domestic Jurisdiction and Consent:
The Last Refuges of Scoundrels
[1]

By James V. Arbuckle, O.M.M., C.D.

Shall I say what I mean?
Mean what I say?
– Marianne Faithful

Introduction
This paper is NOT JUST about peace operations in Chad; rather it is about ALL peace operations throughout the history of peacekeeping:

The issue of consent to an operation is central to the mandating and the conduct of all interventions. The post-Cold War surge in intra-national conflicts has increased the importance of this issue, as interventions almost inevitably encounter issues of national sovereignty. In Sudan, especially in the West Darfur region of Sudan, we see today most clearly the ongoing struggle between, on the one hand, national sovereignty, domestic jurisdiction and “host” consent and, on the other hand, a clear case of a need – some would say a responsibility – for outsiders to intervene.
Continue reading

THINKING ABOUT HAITI IN THE NIGHT I AM ROBBED OF SLEEP

THINKING ABOUT HAITI IN THE NIGHT I AM ROBBED OF SLEEP[1]

By James V. Arbuckle, O.M.M., C.D.

Introduction
The Haiti earthquake is not quite the greatest catastrophe, natural or manmade, which has occurred since World War II: the death tolls in Bangladesh in 1970, China in 1976 and 2004 and on the Indian Ocean in 2004, probably exceeded the presumed deaths in Haiti this week[2]. Much has or should have been learned form these earlier tragedies about disaster relief and about reconstruction, and these early days of inevitably and excusably frantic and uncoordinated efforts must now be giving way to more effective and sustainable programmes. Detailled planning for the next stages must begin now.
Continue reading