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1.1       Background

As a corporate body, the military is the easiest tool employed by political leaders to achieve the success that may elude them through diplomatic means.

International peacekeeping operations refer to the use of the armed forces as a stopgap and part of an overall process of peacemaking (Ritke). It is the beginning of a new stage in the peaceful resolution of conflict and not a culmination of the conflict. It is an extra-ordinary military action because it calls for the use of soldiers not to fight and win, but to prevent fighting, to maintain cease-fires, and to provide order while negotiations are being conducted (Cox).

1.2       The United Nations

The concept of peacekeeping was developed by the United Nations Organization (UNO) as part of its mechanism for the resolution of international conflicts. It has increasingly found acceptance and use as a means of pursuing collective security goals.

Following the victory by the allied forces during the Second World War, the leaders of the alliance to establish a United Nations’ Organization to maintain international peace and security reached a decision. Chapter seven of the organization’s charter provides some comprehensive provisions on how to deal with actions vis-à-vis threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression. Article 41 empowers the security council to take measures not involving the use of armed force to give effect to its decision and Article 42 authorizes the council to ‘take such action by air, land, or sea forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security’ where measures taken under Article 41 would be inadequate.

Soon after the establishment of the U.N, the Cold War surfaced, limiting the capacity of the Security Council to employ force to maintain international security. Thus, with the exception of Korea, made possible by Soviet walk out from the council and Iraq in the post cold war era, the council had never agreed to enforce peace. It had to look for other measures short of direct use of force to maintain international security by resorting to non-enforcement military missions as part of its effort to maintain international security.

The UN Charter has provided a wide leverage for the Security Council to take whatever peaceful measures it considers necessary to maintain international peace and security providing the legal cover for peacekeeping operations as part of the mechanism for settlement of disputes.

In the U.N, the principle of peacekeeping dictates that enforcement plays no part (Ritke); the tool is persuasion. Once a soldier is deployed for peacekeeping operations, he becomes a diplomat using the gun solely in self-defense.

Other principles that have evolved with the UN peacekeeping operations include deployment with the consent of the host state; objectivity, neutrality, and nonalignment with negotiation as the main weapon. 

In addition, peacekeeping is to be an arrangement under which the peacekeepers are to withdraw as soon as an agreement is reached and implementation is completed or reaches an acceptable stage.

The U.N Charter has also recognized the need to encourage regional arrangements for the maintenance of peace and security as provided for in

Article 53 of the Charter. 

However, whereas the U.N peacekeeping operation evolved as a nonenforcement measure, regional arrangements depend on the initiators, ranging from peaceful operation to outright forcible enforcement.

In the American hemisphere, the Organization of American States (OAS) has managed conflicts between Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1948-1979), Honduras and El Salvador (1969), and the Dominican Republic (1965) basically along the lines of U.N arrangements. The Middle East experience has been that of using the arrangement by the Arab League to give cover to Syria, which invaded part of Lebanon. In the case of the O.A.U, the attempt at setting up a peacekeeping force for Chad in 1979 was largely a failure due to poor planning, logistics, and political direction (Pelcovits, 1983) 

1.3       The International Community

Under different circumstances the ‘international community’ refers to different subsets of the world population.

The international community could be regarded as the UN Security Council: when the Security Council debates an issue and passes a resolution, the

‘international community’ is said to have responded. 

However, the decisions are not necessarily representative of the opinions of many in the world, while the permanent members’ veto poers do not give the appearance of fairness to the decision-making.

The international community may also refer to members of the Organisation of

Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In certain cases international aid organizations, both non-governmental (e.g. Red Cross and the Save the Children Fund) and inter-governmental (e.g. UNICEF and UNHCR) are often seen as the international community in a war.

The media and International business organizations are also an important part of the international community.  The media because they pick up the stories and carry the news, the international business community because the nature, amount, timing, and location of their investments and related business decisions may be crucial factors in the start of a war, the funding of a war, and recovery after a war.

Thus, many different groups make up what is known as the international community and they play roles any major conflict around the world today.

1.4       ECOMOG

In August 1990, West African leaders (including the secretary general of the

OAU) met in Banjul, Gambia under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and under Nigeria’s political, economic, and military leadership, established the ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), which provided the military wherewithal to intercede between the warring factions in Liberia’s internecine civil war. 

The cease fire monitoring role was later expanded to include the enforcement of the many ephemeral peace accords signed by the armed factions and later still the ECOMOG mission was deployed to Sierra Leone which was engulfed in


Although the decision to deploy troops was political, ECOMOGs operations have been for the most part military.

Nigeria remains the largest contributor to ECOMOG’s troop and logistical requirements as well as the key player in the peace initiatives, which has frequently brought leaders of the warring factions together for a negotiated settlement of issues fuelling crises.

The events in Liberia and later Sierra Leone are enough evidence of the role of economic unions in peace keeping.

One of the most memorable achievements of ECOMOG is the restoration of peace and political stability in the war torn mineral rich country of Liberia which had been flung into seven years of bitter fighting exacting a huge toll on the entire country and its people with an average negative GDP drop of 8% per annum over the seven year period.

The peacekeeping initiatives developed and practiced in the form of ECOMOG are unique and show the seriousness of purpose to bring about collective security. Other regional organizations (except for the Warsaw Pact’s intervention in Eastern Europe) have not taken the bold step to enforce peace in their respective areas.

The idea to launch the ECOMOG operation in Liberia was an attempt by ECOWAS to employ peacekeeping operations as part of its approach to finding a peaceful solution to the Liberian crisis in line with the practice already established by the UN.

1.5       Justification for the study

Peacekeeping is an issue of immense national and international relevance especially in this age of globalization and successful peacekeeping operations ensures the security of lives and property as well as promoting the well being of the populace and the international community in general.

This study will provide an in-depthth picture of the situation vis-à-vis problems and peculiarities with a view to learning from past mistakes and aiding plans for future interventions.

1.6       Scope And Limitations of the study

The study made use of available materials including published works, magazines, the Internet and personal interviews with veterans; it may be limited by the non-accessibility of some relevant information as well as bias/prejudice in some source materials although all attempts were made to guard against this and maintain objectivity.

1.7       Methodology 

Both primary and secondary sources of information were utilized: interviews, books, documentary records, academic publications, and some non-academic publications such as newspapers, magazines, newsletters, circulars, journals, and official records (see literature review and bibliography).

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