The wars in Mali and Syria have followed very different trajectories over the past month. While Syria has become symbolic of international inaction, France’s use of force in Mali has shown that some Western governments are still willing to launch new interventions abroad. And while there have been no dramatic military shifts in Syria, French troops have pushed deep into northern Mali with growing speed.
Organized crime, public and private sector corruption, and the involvement of political actors in criminal activity are all long-standing features of political societies, regardless of country. But for developing countries, addressing these issues takes on heightened urgency and complexity: organized crime can derail development progress and foster broader insecurity. Delinking organized crime from politics while enhancing legitimate governance and the delivery of services will remain the most important challenge for many developing countries.
Is the United Nations on the verge of a disastrous summer? The organization is always vulnerable to political shocks as it juggles its peacekeeping duties, humanitarian aid and crisis diplomacy. It now faces an especially perilous period as it tries to navigate the wreckage of peacemaking in Syria while launching a potentially flawed peace operation in Mali. U.N. troops are also preparing to mount risky offensives against militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). If the U.N.
China has offered to send more than 500 soldiers to the UN force seeking to contain Islamist militants in Mali in what would be its biggest contribution to UN peacekeeping. The move could be a bid to overcome tensions with the West over the Syria conflict and to strengthen its relations in Africa, where it is a major buyer of oil and other resources, diplomats and experts said.
These reports are part of a series of background documents prepared for the Commission on the Impact of Drug Trafficking on Governance, Security and Development in West Africa (WACD). The series editor is CIC Fellow Camino Kavanagh.
For the first time, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution allowing UN troops to go on the offensive in a mission against armed rebels. The combat intervention brigade will operate as part of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco). The force will conduct targeted operations independently and with the Congolese army to neutralize and reduce the threat of armed militias, protect civilians and stabilize the environment.
Policy discussions about peacekeeping frequently get bogged down in technical details, such as the wording of United Nations resolutions, rather than tackling big strategic questions. This has been true of most commentary on the U.N. Security Council’s decision in late-March to mandate an “intervention brigade” to “neutralize and disarm” armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).