Peace Support 2012 – Info


Peace support: A new dynamic
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Date: 8 – 9 May 2012
Venue: Gallagher Estate

“I would rather have a peacekeeping hypocrisy than straightforward, brazen vice, taking the form of unlimited war.” Winston Spencer Churchill MP, 1937

Asked during a television interview on his 99th birthday, how he felt at that age, the great stand-up comedian George Burns replied: “Great! Considering the alternative.” It is an answer that can also be applied to the state of peacekeeping. Indeed, to misquote Churchill, it might be said peacekeeping is the worst form of conflict resolution except all the others that have been tried. Soldier, wartime leader, journalist and politician, it appears from the quote above that the great man had some misgivings on the utility of peacekeeping, which sometimes could be described as keeping the peace between the fire and fire brigade.

defenceWeb will be hosting its third annual peace support conference on 8 – 9 May 2012 at Gallagher Estate. We have asked retired South African Army Colonel David Peddle and British Army Major Joe Carnegie to consult on the programme and speakers. Col. Peddle assisted defenceWeb with its highly successful Border Control 2011 conference in March and Maj. Carnegie was a well-received speaker at last year’s event. Both know their subject and can be trusted to take the debate on this subject to that proverbial “next level.”

What a difference a year has made. 2010 may arguably have been one of the more peaceful years in recent African history. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Military Balance 2010 publication, there were just five United Nations (UN) missions in six countries (Chad, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Western Sahara), two African Union (AU) missions (Comoros, Somalia), one hybrid UN/AU mission (Darfur) and one other in the Sinai policing the Egyptian/Israeli “Camp David” peace agreement. A total of just nine missions of various types. Of these missions, that in Chad/CAR and the DRC were winding up while those in the Cote d’Ivoire and Western Sahara have settled into sleepy routines.

Topics currently being developed for discussion include:
> Peacekeeping operations: Necessity or expensive fraud?
> Peace support post the “Arab Uprising”
> Lessons from Libya and the Cote d’Ivoire
> South Africa’s foreign policy white paper: implications for the AU – and SANDF
> Peace support in Africa: Who is doing what? (Where are the African contingents deployed?)
> Peace support in a “three block” environment
> The civil-military interface: Command-and-control lessons from Exercise Golfinho
> The civil-military interface: The military and NGOs: Allies or opponents?
> Policing in peacekeeping
> Reality in the world of peacekeeping: A military perspective
> Competing demands: Justice & the ICC versus “political solutions” and
> Peace operations: When should they start? When should they end?
Lessons from Burundi
Lessons from Libya and the Cote d’Ivoire
> Training the Peacekeeper – a new approach?
> DDR: its role in gaining the future
> Post conflict reconstruction: practice, cost and opportunity costs
> The economics of peace support
> The role of industry

In addition, the IISS noted well over half of 54 African countries – 35 out of 54 – contributed troops to peacekeeping on the continent and beyond.

This has not changed but the strategic and security situation has. The continent has seen a tsunami of change along its northern shore since late last year in which protesters in one country after another have confronted long-time rulers and authoritarian elites to demand a greater say. The waves of discontent crossed the Red Sea into the Arab Peninsula and the Sahara, with protests being recorded as far south as Swaziland. In Libya, push-and-shove has led to civil war, while in the Cote d’Ivoire intransigence in leaving office on the part of a ruler who lost an election led to a similar result. In both cases the United Nations Security Council acted, authorising over Libya a no-fly zone and on the ground aggressive measures to protect civilians. In the Cote d’Ivoire, French forces resident there and UN troops destroyed heavy weapons when it appeared there use against civilians were imminent.

The question now whether these are aberrations or whether it portends a more robust approach against combatants in favour of civilian populations.