Towards a common doctrine for African Standby Force-led peace operations

This article considers the military doctrine currently available to the African Standby Force (ASF) for peace operations (PO) on the African continent. In the absence of an updated and relevant doctrine for PO, risks are posed to the harmonization and coordination of multinational missions, as well as to the successful achievement of mission objectives. Despite laudable efforts by both the United Nations (UN) and bilateral donor nations to support the preparatory and continuation training of ASF troops, differences in the national and multinational experiences of this work and the differences in the legal basis of this doctrine do not provide an optimal ‘stop gap’ measure. The pressing new requirement for African peace missions to deter terrorist and insurgent anti-peace factions exposes the limitations of UN doctrine, which preserves traditional peacekeeping principles of consent, impartiality and minimum use of force

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Defending Constitutional Rule as a Peacemaking Enterprise

The African Union (AU) norm relating to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) distinguishes the African peace and security order from other regional and global peace and security orders. This norm assigns the regional organization an intrusive role unparalleled by other international organizations as far as the constitutional and democratic order of member states is concerned. The norm bans UCG and also provides for enforcement measures that received regional constitutional status in the founding treaty establishing the AU. Despite its emergence accompanying the democratization process that countries on the continent ventured into in the 1990s, seen in the light of Africa’s unhappy experience with illegal change or seizure of government, this norm cannot be dissociated from the continent’s concern about peace and security.

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Re-visiting The Red Line

On September 5, 2013 we argued in The New York Times against the Obama Administration’s proposal to respond to the crossing of a red line in Syria – use of chemical weapons against civilians – by arguing that bombing for bombing’s sake was ill-conceived as punishment, failed to protect civilians and hindered peacemaking.

The question was not then, as it is not now, whether gassing civilians is acceptable. It is illegal and atrocious. The question remains one of the best strategy for protecting civilians and how use of force might play a part in service of this goal. Ending atrocities can have a military component, but ultimately it demands a political agenda and strategy.

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The End of Interventionism

The era of the West’s enthusiasm for military intervention is over. Two reports on Iraq and Libya—written from the heart of the British establishment and published recently—have delivered its obituary. Each is damning; together, they dismember the case for intervention in both its neocon and liberal-hawk variants. Although their focus is almost exclusively on decision-making within Whitehall—the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, and, above all, No. 10 Downing Street—Americans will recognize many of the same ills afflicting their own government.

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Setting the Agenda for Evidence-Based Research on Ending Mass Atrocities

The field of genocide and mass atrocities studies has produced significant contributions to knowledge of where, when and why campaigns of large-scale, one-sided violence occur, but offers relatively few explicit examinations of the political, social and military dynamics of the de-escalation of violence. This simple question remains unexplored: how do mass atrocities end?

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