The Perils of Peacekeeping in Unstabilized Environments

Stimson Spotlight

The Perils of Peacekeeping in Unstabilized Environments

In January, Head of UN Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous told the UN Security Council that the situation in northern Mali remains “extremely volatile” in light of the presence of terrorist groups and almost daily attacks on peacekeepers, including the latest rocket assault on a UN base on March 8. Since the initial deployment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a peacekeeper has been killed or wounded, on average, every four days, making northern Mali one of the deadliest settings for peacekeepers in recent history. The situation in Mali is illustrative of the complex and asymmetric environments in which peacekeeping missions have been deployed in recent years. How the UN addresses the dilemmas facing today’s peacekeeping missions will be critical in determining the future of peace operations and the tools available for the resolution of today’s most pressing global security challenges.

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Photo credit: United Nation Photo via flickr