Maintaining international peace and security : reflections on peace-support operations in Africa

Neethling, Theo (1998)

CITATION: Neethling, T. 1998. Maintaining international peace and security : reflections on peace-support operations in Africa. Scientia Militaria, South African Journal of Military Studies, 28(1):111-137, doi:10.5787/28-1-202.

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The shift from a bipolar to a multipolar and multi-faceted world has reduced the risk of conventional inter-state wars, but has been the cause of several intra-state armed conflicts with an even higher risk of regional instability. Such conflicts and the resurgence of a global activism have produced a dramatic growth in peacekeeping requirements since the end of the previous decade. The international response, mainly through the United Nations (UN), has been to promote preventive diplomacy and, in a number of cases, to conduct peace-support operations. In brief, this paper points out that each UN peace-support operation places an extremely high premium on UN administration, organisation, coordination and resources. To this end, a multiplicity of contributions from various role-players is needed. It also points out that peace-support operations require significant commitments on the part of participating states, specifically the willingness to accept financial costs and fatalities in the interest of promoting international and regional stability. This is especially true in the case of African peacekeeping. This paper, furthermore, underscores the fact that the undertaking of peace-support operations in Africa is by no means a simple and easy task. The nature of peacekeeping missions in certain African countries have, in fact, resulted in an increasing reluctance on the part of the major powers and some of the other traditional troop-contributing nations to deploy on African soil. It concludes that the real impact of the post-Cold War era is that the burden of resolving African conflicts rests more and more on Africans. African countries and organisations are accordingly compelled to take measures and develop strategies to address the peacekeeping requirements on the continent.

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