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Peacekeeping in Mali: A Mismatch Between a Prejudiced Mandate and the Capacity of the Force

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Technical Report

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Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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By so often measuring peacekeeping missions in terms of troop strength rather than their operational and tactical capability to protect civilians, peacekeeping studies have left a void in understanding the emerging challenges facing third generation peace operations. Furthermore, these studies may lead the United Nations to deploy peacekeeping missions which lack tactical and operational capabilities, even though the missions troop strength appears adequate based on parametric studies. Likewise, receiving a large amount of forces, the United Nations may stretch its mandate past the point of being an impartial actor. This paper argues the capacity of peacekeepers is a qualitative measure of their ability to fulfill their given mandate. The mandate of any United Nations peacekeeping force must match both the UNs peacekeeping principles as well as the capacity of the troops in the force.This paper will briefly describe the evolution of peacekeeping missions from their beginnings in 1950 to present day. It will then explain the concept of human security and the United States Institute of Peaces framework for creating a safe and secure environment, which protects civilians in conflict. Next, it recounts the operations and tactics from December 2014 to April 2015 of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali MINUSMA to create a safe and secure environment and also gives a sense of how these operations may change over the next two months. The paper then identifies operational and tactical challenges to MINUSMAs peacekeeping operation. These challenges demonstrate MINUSMA suffers from a lack in military capacity, which can not necessarily be remedied by increasing the number of forces within MINUSMA. Finally, the paper recommends steps for MINSUMA to match its mandate with both UN peacekeeping principles and the missions capacity.

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