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1st Quarter 2013 

ȣ! ujjjJ -PrujJi^u 

Volume 4, No. 1 

Regulating Group-Related Rivalries in Highly 
Polarized Communities 

Johan D. van der Vyver, PhD 

Sharpening Our Plowshares 

Applying the Lessons of Counterinsurgency to Development 
and Humanitarian Aid 

Solomon Major, PhD 

Human Security as Analytical Contexts of Humanitarian 
Intervention in Application and Practice 
War for Justice, War for State, or War for People 

Yu-tai Ts’ai, PhD 
Szu-Hsien Lee 




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The Tuareg Revolt and the Mali Coup 

Lt Col Rudolph Atallah, USAF, Retired 

Establishing a Marketplace of Women in Peacekeeping 
An Analysis of Gender Mainstreaming and Its Viability in United 
Nations Peacekeeping Operations 

Kerry Crawford 
Julia Macdonald 

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00-00-2013 to 00-00-2013 


Air & Space Power Journal (ASPJ) -Africa and Francophonie. Volume 4, 
Number 1.1st Quarter 2013 









Air Force Research Institute (AFRI),155 N. Twining Street,Maxwell 







Approved for public release; distribution unlimited 






18. NUMBER 19a. NAME OF 



unclassified unclassified unclassified Report (SAR) 


Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98) 

Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18 

Chief of Staff, US Air Force 

Gen Mark A. Welsh III 

Commander, Air Education and 
Training Command 

Gen Edward A. Rice Jr. 

Commander and President, Air University 

Lt Gen David S. Fadok 

Director, Air Force Research Institute 

Gen John A. Shaud, USAF, Retired 


Remy M. Mauduit 

Megan N. Ollendyke, Editorial Assistant 
Marvin Bassett, PhD, Contributing Editor 
Nedra O. Looney, Prepress Production Manager 
Daniel M. Armstrong, Illustrator 
L. Susan Fair, Illustrator 

The Air and Space Power Journal (ISSN 1931-728X), published 
quarterly, is the professional journal of the United States 
Air Force. It is designed to serve as an open forum for the 
presentation and stimulation of innovative thinking on 
military doctrine, strategy, force structure, readiness, and 
other matters of national defense. The views and opinions 
expressed or implied in the Journal are those of the authors 
and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction 
of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and 
Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or 
departments of the US government. 

Articles in this edition may be reproduced in whole or in part 
without permission. If they are reproduced, the Air & Space 
Power Journal requests a courtesy line. 

ASPJ-Africa and Francophonie 
155 N.Twining Street 
Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6026 

Telephone: 1 (334) 953-6739 

Visit Air and Space Power Journal online 

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Eight Years of ASPJ-A&F 

Air and Space Power Journal—Africa and Francophonie ( ASPJ-A&F) has reached 
another major milestone. In its eighth year of publication, your Journal is read 
in 185 countries/territories; 1,015 academic institutions; 292 think tanks in 42 
countries; 667 institutes (African and Francophone studies); government agencies; 
armed and security forces; and so forth. Budgetary constraints and increased 
demands, however, may force us to discontinue the printed edition of ASPJ- 
A&F. In such an event, we will continue to publish the electronic version, which 
already attracts as many readers as its hard-copy counterpart. Furthermore, our 
website—now undergoing a complete transformation—will feature more dyna¬ 
mic, interactive content. It will allow you, our readers, to discuss articles with 
other subscribers from around the world and view updated content. Free from 
the constraints of conventional printing, we will be able to publish more articles, 
add new sections, and quickly adapt the Journal to your needs. (You can sub¬ 
scribe via ASPJ-A&Fs, website at 
/aspj_a_f.asp or contact me directly at We will safeguard 
your e-mail address and send you quarterly messages announcing the posting of 
the new issue.) 

ASPJ-A&F intends to remain a forum for the dissemination of original, refe¬ 
reed research articles and review articles in numerous areas, published in both 
English and French. It will continue to explore significant issues and serve as a 
vehicle for your intellectual enrichment. We welcome submissions from researchers, 
scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and informed observers on such topics as 
international relations, regional security issues, civil-military relations, leader¬ 
ship, ethics/morality, women in society, economics, democracy, terrorism, human 
rights, and so forth. Articles should take existing theories and concepts in a new 
direction or bring a novel perspective to current literature. 

Rest assured that the Journal will retain both its founding editor and its original 
principles, which embody the spirit of democratic ideals; intellectual rigor; critical 
analysis; vigorous, scholarly research; proven methodologies; and the primacy of 


clarity and quality in its articles. Thus, ASPJ-A&F continues the Air Force tradi¬ 
tion of ensuring the intellectual and editorial independence of its publications. 

Remy M. Mauduit, Editor 

Air and Space Power Journal—Africa and Francophonie 
Maxwell AFB, Alabama 


Regulating Group-Related Rivalries in 
Highly Polarized Communities 

Johan D. van derVyver, PhD* 

I n May 2011,1 and 10 other so-called international experts accepted 
an invitation to Kathmandu to address problems encountered by the 
Constitutional Assembly of Nepal in the drafting of a new constitu¬ 
tion for that country Since its creation in 1768 as a unified state and 
until not so long ago, Nepal was proclaimed a Hindu state, constitutionally 
structured as a monarchy The country’s very first meaningful constitution, 
adopted in 1990, formally endorsed this state of affairs. Dissatisfaction with 
the constitution prompted a Maoist insurgency which plunged the country 
into a decade-long civil war that brought about approximately 17,500 casu¬ 
alties. The adversaries concluded a 12-point peace agreement in 2005, an 
interim constitution took effect, and the king abdicated in 2008 (he now 
lives in the country as an ordinary citizen, and his palace has become a 
museum). The first president, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, took office on 23 July 
2008 under the current interim constitution. A Constitutional Assembly 
was established to draft a final constitution that would address—and seek 
to overcome—the causes of unrest in the country. 

"The author is the I.T. Cohen Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the School of Law, 
Emory University. His current teaching obligations include Public International Law, International Human 
Rights, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Comparative Constitutional Law. 
He also serves as an Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Pretoria, 
South Africa. Before joining the faculty of law at Emory in 1995, he was a professor of law at the University 
of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. His academic qualifications include a Doctor of Laws 
(PhD) from the University of Pretoria (1974); Doctor of Laws (honoris causa ) from both the University of 
Zululand (1993) and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (2003) in South Africa; and 
the Diploma of the International and Comparative Law of Human Rights, International Institute of Human 
Rights in Strasbourg, France (1986). Professor van der Vyver has authored eight books and more than 200 
law review articles, chapters in books, and book reviews. 

This article is an updated version of the author’s special public lecture delivered in 2011 at North-West 
University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, published in PER/PEJL, that university’s electronic journal 



A major cause of concern in Nepal involves the polarization of its di¬ 
verse ethnic and religious population. Although the vast majority of the 
country is Hindu, influential Buddhist and Muslim minorities exist, and 
the ethnic composition of the population reflects no fewer than 91 different 
language groups. One of the issues that the assembly asked the “inter¬ 
national experts” to address was a proposal—one with wide support among 
politicians—to apply a federal system of government, based on the ethnic 
composition of the Nepalese population, as a means of securing internal 
peace in the years to come. It might be noted that the Maoists most recently 
proposed 10 federal states for the country while others favor 12 or 14. We 
cautioned against ethnically defined federal states as a proposed “solution” 
for the country’s group-related tensions. Complete territorial segregation of 
ethnic varieties in any political community is almost impossible to orches¬ 
trate, and consigning regional powers of government to cultural, religious, 
or linguistic factions could become a recipe for disaster. We know from the 
gruesome experiences in the former Yugoslavia that attempts to create reli¬ 
giously or ethnically homogeneous states could lead to profound animosity 
toward others in one’s midst and might culminate in a policy of “ethnic 
cleansing” that could include brutal acts of genocide. 

The territorial seclusion and political empowerment of rival ethnic 
groups are not confined to Nepal. Orthodox Judaism, for example, also favors 
the segregation of conflicting groups within a particular political domain. 
Orthodox Judaism does not believe in turning the other cheek—a decree to 
do that comes from the New Testament. Instead, the Talmud makes the 
maintenance of peace and security conditional upon the construction of a 
fence that would separate those who belong from their enemies. 

Of course, other constitutional devices have been proposed to maintain 
peace and security in highly polarized plural communities. Attempts to 
avoid group-related conflicts in group-conscious communities include a 
political strategy for the promotion of homogeneity within the body politic. 
As far as member states of the European community are concerned, one 
can single out France, Greece, and Turkey (an associate member of the 
European Union) as countries not favorably disposed to accommodating 
ethnic, religious, or linguistic diversity within their respective borders. On 
15 March 2004, French president Jacques Chirac signed into law an amend¬ 
ment to the French Code of Education that now prohibits, as a principle of 
the separation of church and state, “the wearing of symbols or garb which 
shows religious affiliation in public primary and secondary schools.” 1 A 
French law entered into force on 11 April 2011 banning the covering of 


ones face in public, clearly intended to outlaw the wearing of a burqa by 
Muslim women. Greece is particularly unaccommodating of the claim to a 
distinct identity by people of Macedonian extraction in Fiorina (northern 
Greece). A Turkish law banned the wearing of a (Muslim) head scarf in all 
universities and official government buildings, basing the proscription on 
the fact that Turkey is a secular state. The Grand Chamber of the European 
Court of Human Rights—the court of final instance in the European system 
of human rights protection—upheld the legality of the Turkish law since, in 
its opinion, the head scarf ban was based on the constitutional principles of 
secularism and equality; consequently, it did not constitute a violation of 
the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Funda¬ 
mental Freedoms. 2 

Article I5(3)(c) of the Nigerian constitution reflects a trend toward 
promoting homogeneity, placing an obligation on the state to encourage 
intermarriages between members of different religious and tribal commu¬ 
nities for the purpose of “promoting national integration. ” J The truth of the 
matter, though, is that the Nigerian people are as divided today as they ever 
were—perhaps even more so. 

In 2002 several predominantly Muslim states in northern Nigeria for¬ 
mally adopted Islamic law, including Islamic criminal law, as part of their 
legal system. As of 2012, nine states have instituted Sharia law (Zamfara, 
Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Yobe).The imposi¬ 
tion of Sharia penalties, which by international standards include cruel and 
inhuman punishments, attracted media attention (and condemnation) from 
many parts of the world when in March 2002, a Sharia court sentenced a 
30-year-old woman, Amina Lawal, to death by stoning because she was 
expecting a child out of wedlock. Indeed, in 2004 the Sharia Court of Appeal 
set aside the sentence, based on the rule against retroactive criminal sanc¬ 
tions because the law incorporating Islamic law was enacted after she be¬ 
came pregnant. However, the case generated wide publicity as a reminder of 
both unbecoming (and in Nigeria, in fact, unconstitutional) penalties and 
the sharp divide between the northern Islamic communities and the pre¬ 
dominantly Christian population of Nigeria. Religious violence orchestrated 
by a radical Muslim group, the Boko Haram, has disrupted the country for 
several months, costing several hundreds of Nigerians their lives and leaving 
more than 10,000 people displaced. The violence has also caused severe 
damage to (Christian) places of worship and government buildings. 

The postapartheid dispensation of South Africa represents a further 
constitutional strategy for coping with group-related tensions within a 


single state. The “new South Africa” abandoned territorial segregation as a 
supposed recipe for the peaceful coexistence of racial and ethnic groups and 
did not attempt to promote the homogeneity of its nation. It opted instead 
for a system designed to promote national unity on the basis of the inter¬ 
nationally acclaimed right to self-determination of peoples. 

Accordingly, the South African constitution of 1996 encourages main¬ 
tenance of and pride in the ethnic, religious, and linguistic group identities 
of the country’s diverse population. The constitutional preamble thus expresses 
the belief that all who live in South Africa are “united by our diversity.” 4 In 
its substantive provisions, the constitution proclaims 11 official languages, 
calls on the state “to take practical and positive measures to elevate the 
status and advance the use of... [the indigenous languages of our people,]” 
and affords to everyone “the right to use the language and to participate in 
the cultural life of their choice.” 5 The constitution expressly guarantees the 
right to self-determination of cultural, religious, and linguistic communities 
in accordance with international directives that apply in this regard. 6 

The Right to Self-Determination: Historical Perspective 

In the early twentieth century, proponents of socialism confronted a 
challenging problem. According to the teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich 
Engels, the entire world would in due course be subjected, through a revolu¬ 
tion of the proletariat, to a particular economic dispensation known as com¬ 
munism. The subjection of the entire world community to this economic 
dispensation would not be negotiable, but what status would nation-states 
have within the overarching and universal structures of communism? In 1913 
Joseph Stalin published a treatise on Marxism arid the National Question , fol¬ 
lowed in 1916 by Vladimir Lenin’s more elaborate theses on The Socialist 
Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination. Both authors pro¬ 
claimed that nation-states will retain the right to self-determination. Accord¬ 
ing to Antonio Cassese, Lenin’s Socialist Revolution constituted “the first 
compelling enunciation of the principle” of self-determination of peoples at 
the international level. 7 

The special prominence of the right to self-determination in inter¬ 
national law has been attributed to the American president Woodrow Wilson. 
Robert Friedlander thus accredited President Wilson’s “Fourteen Points 
Address” of 8 January 1918 as “transforming self-determination into a uni¬ 
versal right.” 8 Wilson included in those 14 points one that proclaimed a 
“free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial 


claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining 
all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the population concerned 
must have equal weight with the equitable claims of government whose 
title is to be determined.” 9 In the “Fourteen Points Address,” President 
Wilson never really used the word self-determination. It became part of his 
vocabulary only in an address to a joint session of the two houses of Con¬ 
gress delivered on 11 February 1918, when he proclaimed that “national 
aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed 
only by their own consent. ‘Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an 
imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at 
their peril.” 10 

The above citation from the “Fourteen Points Address” has come to be 
regarded as the basis of the League of Nations policy for dealing with the 
future dispensation of nation-states that were part of the world empires de¬ 
feated and dissolved through World War I. 11 The right to self-determination 
of those nation-states was conditioned by the so-called mandate system of 
the League of Nations, in terms of which a designated mandatory state would 
prepare the conquered nations for political independence—or in the case of 
Southwest Africa (Namibia), for eventual incorporation into the Union of 
South Africa as a fifth province of that country. 12 

In its infancy, when World War I was drawing to a close, the idea of 
self-determination emerged to legitimize the disintegration of the Ottoman, 
German, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian empires. 13 Within that context, 
self-determination vested in “ethnic communities, nations or nationalities 
primarily defined by language or culture” and afforded justification to such 
communities to disrupt existing states. 14 Self-determination here denoted 
the right of “peoples” in the sense of (territorially defined) nations to political 
independence. 13 But it did not end here. Over time, the concept acquired 
different shades of meaning, depending in each instance on the nature and 
disposition of the peoples claiming that right. 16 

Following World War II, the emphasis of the concept of self-determination 
shifted to the principle “of bringing all colonial situations to a speedy end.” 17 
The repositories of the concerned right in this sense were colonized peoples, 
and the substance of their right denoted the political independence “of 
peoples that do not govern themselves, particularly peoples dominated by 
geographically distant colonial powers.” 18 

In the 1960s, yet another category of “peoples” came to be identified as 
repositories of a right to self-determination—namely those subject to racist 
regimes. Here the concept substantively signified the right of such peoples 


to participate in the structures of government within the countries to which 
they belong. 19 The “self” in self-determination was no longer perceived as 
territorially defined sections of the population in multinational empires. It 
not only comprised peoples under colonial rule or foreign domination but 
also became identified with the entire community of a territory where the 
social, economic, and constitutional system was structured on institution¬ 
ally sanctioned racial discrimination. 20 

Finally, the right to self-determination has been extended to a political 
community’s national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities whose 
particular entitlements center upon a right to regulate their lives according 
to the traditions and customs of the concerned group. South Africa has 
come to accept this final meaning of a right to self-determination as a 
means for addressing sectional interests within the body politic. 

The Right to Self-Determination of 
Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Communities Defined 

One must not confuse the right to self-determination of ethnic, religious, 
and linguistic communities with the comparable right of colonized countries 
or of peoples subject to a racist regime. In terms of the International Covenant 
on Civil and Political Rights, the self-determination of ethnic, religious, and 
linguistic communities entails the following basic directive: “In those States 
in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to 
such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other 
members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice 
their own religion, or to use their own language.” 21 Similarly, the Declaration 
on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic 
Minorities speaks of “the right [of national or ethnic, religious, and linguistic 
minorities] to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own reli¬ 
gion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely and with¬ 
out interference or any form of discrimination.” 22 

But there is more to the self-determination of such communities. In 
giving practical effect to the right to self-determination, governments, 
through their respective constitutional and legal systems, must secure the 
interests of distinct sections of the population that constitute minorities in 
the above sense. The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National 
or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities clearly spells out that obliga¬ 
tion: protect and encourage the creation of conditions for the promotion of 
the group identities of minorities under the jurisdiction of the duty-bound 


state; afford to minorities the special competence to participate effectively 
in decisions pertinent to the group to which they belong; do not discrimi¬ 
nate in any way against any person on the basis of his/her group identity; 
and in fact take action to secure their equal treatment by and before the 
law. 23 The declaration further provides that “states shall take measures to 
create favourable conditions to enable persons belonging to minorities to 
express their characteristics and to develop their culture, language, religion, 
traditions and customs, except where specific practices are in violation of 
national law and contrary to international standards.” 24 

The Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of 
National Minorities specifies minority rights in much the same vein. It 
guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of the laws. 25 States 
parties promise to provide “the conditions necessary for persons belonging 
to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve 
the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, tradi¬ 
tions and cultural heritage.” 26 States parties recognize the right of a person 
belonging to a national minority “to manifest his or her religion or belief 
and to establish religious institutions, organisations and associations.” 27 
Finally, the framework convention guarantees the use of “minority 
language[s], in private and in public, orally and in writing.” 28 

The South African constitution is quite explicit in upholding these 
directives of international law. Section 31 provides that 

(1) Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic com¬ 
munity may not be denied the right, with other members of 
that community 

(a) to enjoy their culture, practise their religion and use their 
language; and 

(b) to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic 
associations and other organs of civil society. 

(2) The rights in subsection (1) may not be exercised in a man¬ 
ner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights. 29 

The drafters of the constitution were also sensitive to the duty of the 
state to promote cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity in South Africa. 
The constitution thus makes provision for a Commission for the Promotion 
and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Com¬ 
munities. 30 It also envisions the establishment, by means of national legisla¬ 
tion, of a Pan South African Language Board charged inter alia with promot- 


ing and ensuring respect for “Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages 
used for religious purposes in South Africa.” 31 One must note that the right 
of self-determination of ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups (a) is not an 
unlimited right and (b) does not include a right to political independence. 

Limitations of the Right to Self-Determination 

The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Reli¬ 
gious and Linguistic Minorities excluded from the right to self-determination 
specific practices of an ethnic, religious, or linguistic community that violate 
the national laws of a country and run contrary to international standards. 32 
The international-standards criterion conditions the national-law limitation, 
presupposing municipal regulation that remains within the confines of inter¬ 
national standards and does not place undue restrictions upon the group 
interests of minorities. 

Current state practice does not uphold to the letter the limitations in¬ 
herent in the right to self-determination of ethnic, religious, or linguistic 
communities dictated by the international-standards criterion. For example, 
almost all of the international human rights conventions and covenants 
condemn gender discrimination, yet religious institutions that discriminate 
against women on gender grounds have—thus far, successfully—claimed a 
sovereign right to conduct their affairs within the sphere of their internal 
household according to the dictates of their faith. And perhaps rightly so! 
Does one really want the state to compel the Roman Catholic Church, 
Greek Orthodox Church, Orthodox Judaism, and others to ordain women 
as priests or as part of their clergy? 

However, one cannot justify practices such as female genital mutilation 
on the basis of the right to self-determination of peoples. Such a practice 
amounts to sexually defined physical mutilation of extreme severity and 
with irreversible consequences. Almost exclusively inspired by male interests 
(the prolonged sexual pleasure of the male partner), it constitutes sex- and 
gender-based discrimination of the worst kind. Since this mutilation usually 
occurs while the victim is an infant, it also implicates the rights of the child. 
The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 
(1993) describes female genital mutilation as an instance of “violence 
against women.” 33 

This raises the question as to an appropriate criterion for separating 
those violations of “international standards” that do—and those that do 
not—exceed the limits of the right to self-determination of ethnic, reli- 


gious, or linguistic communities. There are no clear answers to this question. 
It would seem, though, that those customs and traditions that threaten the 
life or violate the physical integrity of members of an ethnic, religious, or 
linguistic group clearly exceed the permissible confines of the right to self- 
determination of the group. Applying these norms in a South African set¬ 
ting is particularly problematic since cultural or ethnic traditions in many 
African communities include practices incompatible with the human rights 
ideology of our time and are therefore intolerable. 

From a certain perspective, one can divide the systems of human rights 
protection in the world today into two main categories: those that have 
grown from the bottom up and those imposed from the top down. In coun¬ 
tries belonging to the former category, the values embodied in a Bill of 
Rights were based upon and kept track with an existing and evolving public 
ethos. Drafters and law-creating agencies simply endorsed moral percep¬ 
tions entertained by a cross section of the peoples comprising the nation. 
The American system of human rights protection offers an example of this 
state of affairs. 

South Africa, though, belongs to that category of political communi¬ 
ties that have imposed Bill of Rights decrees from the top down. That is to 
say, the rights and freedoms protected by the constitution have been dic¬ 
tated by internationally recognized norms of right and wrong, which in 
many instances do not conform with the moral perceptions and customary 
practices of large sections of the South African population. From time to 
time, some of the laws drafted to implement the principles of human rights 
provoke strong voices of protest from groups within the country whose 
age-old customs may fall prey to the particular legal-reform measures. In 
many instances, the lives they live and the customs they observe are far re¬ 
moved from the nice-sounding ideologies written into the constitution and 
specificities reflected in judgments of the courts. In one of the early judg¬ 
ments of the Constitutional Court, Justice Yvonne Mokgoro referred to the 
“delicate and complex” task of accommodating African customary law to 
the values embodied in the Bill of Rights, noting that “this harmonisation 
will demand a great deal of judicious care and sensitivity.” 34 

Effective implementation of the human-rights-based laws and judg¬ 
ments within the entire country will in the final analysis be conditioned by 
cultivation of a human-rights ethos as the stronghold of all of the peoples 
and in all of the tribal communities of South Africa. In this respect, that 
nation still has many more miles to run. 


Self-Determination and a Right to Secession 

The failure of national systems to provide protection to the sectional interests 
of the peoples within their area of jurisdiction—or merely the perception of 
being marginalized—represents an important contributing cause of the 
tireless aspirations toward the establishment of homogeneous states for 
sections of the political community with a strong group consciousness. 
These include the Muslim community of Kashmir and in Kosovo, the 
Basques in Northern Spain, the Hindu factions in Sri Lanka, the Catholic 
minority in Northern Ireland, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, people of 
Macedonian extraction in Fiorina (northern Greece), the peoples of So¬ 
maliland in Somalia, the northern provinces of Georgia, the Maoists in 
Nepal, and many others. 

One must emphasize, though, that the right of ethnic, religious, and 
linguistic communities to self-determination does not include a right to 
secession—not even in instances where the powers that be act in breach of 
a minority’s legitimate expectations/ 5 Three compelling arguments prove 
decisive in this regard: 

• The right to self-determination is almost invariably mentioned in conjunc¬ 
tion with the territorial integrity of states. 36 Reconciling the two principles 
in question necessarily means that one must take self-determination to 
denote something less than secession. 

• The right to self-determination vests in a people; essentially, a new state 
created through secession is territorially defined/ 7 A defined territory, 
not a people, secedes from an existing state. 38 

• The right to self-determination is the right of a collective group (members 
of the concerned group, either individually or collectively, can exercise 
entitlements included in that right), but a right to secede is a right of an 
institutional group (where permissible, a representative organ of the ter¬ 
ritorially defined group, acting on behalf of the group as a whole, must 
make a decision to secede). 

Therefore, one should not view general definitions of the right to self- 
determination as a general sanction of a right to political independence 
(one finds such a general definition in the Declaration on the Granting of 
Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples proclaiming the right of 
peoples to “freely determine their political status” and the right to “freely 
pursue their economic, social, and cultural development”). 39 Rather, they 
must be limited and understood in the context of the subject matter of the 


document from which they derive. Peoples subject to colonial rule or foreign 
domination do have a right to political independence—ethnic, religious, 
and linguistic minorities in an existing state do not. Similarly, the definition 
of self-determination in international instruments, including in that con¬ 
cept the right of peoples “freely [to] determine their political status and 
freely [to] pursue their economic, social and cultural development,” did not 
intend to undermine the rule of international law proclaiming the territo¬ 
rial integrity of states. 40 

The United Nations’ (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belong¬ 
ing to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities reiterated that 
one must not take its provisions to contradict the principles of the UN 
pertaining inter alia to “sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political 
independence of States.” 41 In the Framework Convention for the Protection 
of National Minorities , the Council of Europe also proclaimed that “nothing 
in the present framework Convention shall be interpreted as implying any 
right to engage in any activity or perform any act contrary to the funda¬ 
mental principles of international law and in particular of the sovereign 
equality, territorial integrity and political independence of States.” 42 

The UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007 also 
proclaims, somewhat inadvertently, that indigenous peoples are entitled to 
“freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, 
social and cultural development.” 43 Lest someone construe this as a right to 
political independence, the declaration goes on to emphasise that it must 
not be interpreted as “authorising or encouraging any action that would 
dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political 
unity of sovereign and independent States.” 44 

International law has quite adamantly proclaimed the sanctity of post- 
World War II national borders and has censured attempts at secession in 
instances such as Katanga, Biafra, and the Turkish Republic of Northern 
Cyprus. 45 As explained by Vernon van Dyke, “The United Nations would 
be in an extremely difficult position if it were to interpret the right to self- 
determination in such a way as to invite or justify attacks on the territorial 
integrity of its own members.” 46 The Organization of African Unity (now 
the African Union), sensitive to the chaotic situation that might emerge 
from any effort to redraw the (quite irrational) national borders established 
by colonial powers in Africa, played a leading role in emphasizing the 
salience of the existing frontiers. Its charter of 1963 prompted member 
states to “solemnly affirm and declare” their “respect for the sovereignty and 
territorial integrity of each State and for its inalienable right to independent 


existence.” 47 A resolution of the Assembly of Heads of State and Govern¬ 
ment adopted at its first ordinary session held in Cairo in 1964 called on all 
member states “to respect the borders existing on their achievement of 
national independence.” 48 

The Supreme Court of Canada issued a judgment pertaining to the 
legality of the province of Quebec’s seceding from Canada (should a majority 
of the residents of that province through a referendum seek to effect the 
severance of that territory from Canada?). It summarized as follows the 
distinction between self-determination (referred to in the judgment as 
“internal self-determination”) and secession (referred to in the judgment 
as “external self-determination”): 

The recognized sources of international law establish that the right to self-determination of 
a people is normally fulfilled through internal self-determination—a people’s pursuit of its 
political, economic, social and cultural development within the framework of an existing 
state. A right to external self-determination (which in this case potentially takes the form of 
a right to unilateral secession) arises in only the most extreme of cases and, even then, under 
carefully defined circumstances . 49 (emphases in original) 

Secession is indeed sanctioned by international law—not under the rubric 
of a right to self-determination but as a permissible political strategy in its 
own right. The restructuring of national borders is sanctioned by international 
law in two instances only: 

(a) If a decision to secede is “freely determined by a people”—that 
is, a cross section of the entire population of the state to be divided 
and not only inhabitants of the region wishing to secede. 50 

(b) If, following an armed conflict, national boundaries are 
redrawn as part of a peace treaty. 51 

The reunification of Germany, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the parting 
of the constitutional ways of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the re¬ 
cent secession of southern Sudan were in that sense “freely determined by 
the people.” 52 The secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia, though, was sanc¬ 
tioned by a peace accord. The disintegration of the former Yugoslavia rep¬ 
resents a complicated conglomeration of both principles. 53 

On 17 February 2008, a substantial majority of the Assembly of Kosovo 
adopted a unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The General 
Assembly responded by requesting an advisory opinion of the International 
Court of Justice. The court noted that the request did not call upon the 
court “to take a position on whether international law conferred a positive 
entitlement on Kosovo unilaterally to declare its independence or, a fortiori, 


on whether international law generally confers an entitlement on entities 
situated within a State unilaterally to break away from it.” 54 Instead, the 
court concluded that this declaration of independence was not precluded by 
the Security Council resolution that authorized the secretary-general to 
establish an interim administration for Kosovo with a view, inter alia, to 
oversee “the development of provisional self-governing institutions.” 55 It 
also concluded, somewhat obscurely, that the declaration of independence 
did not violate general international law. 56 

One body of opinion suggests that “remedial secession” might be per¬ 
missible under the rules of international law in instances where an ethnic, 
religious, or linguistic community within an existing state is subjected to 
unbecoming human rights violations. 57 Some years ago, the African Com¬ 
mission on Human and People’s Rights suggested by way of obiter dictum 
that Katanga would have been entitled to secede from Zaire if “concrete 
evidence [existed] of violations of human rights to the point that the ter¬ 
ritorial integrity of Zaire should be called to question and . . . that the 
people of Katanga are denied the right to participate in government as 
guaranteed by article 13(1) of the African Charter.” 58 In its declaration on 
self-determination, the UN World Conference on Human Rights of 1993 
reiterated that this right “shall not be construed as authorizing or encourag¬ 
ing any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the 
territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.” 
Seemingly it made this assertion applicable only to states “conducting 
themselves in compliance with the principles of equal rights and self- 
determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing 
the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any 
kind.” 59 The fallacy of this reasoning is that the right to self-determination 
belongs to a people while statehood is based on a territory foundation. In 
the final analysis, secession must be sanctioned by general agreement or a 
peace treaty. Of course it is quite possible that gross violations of human 
rights could culminate in a referendum or an armed conflict that would 
eventually constitute the basis for secession. However, the legality of seces¬ 
sion of a defined territory will depend on the referendum or peace treaty 
and not on the human rights violations per se—at least not within the 
current confines of international law and state sovereignty. 

For many compelling reasons, one should avoid at all costs the destruc¬ 
tion of existing political communities harboring a plural society: 


• A multiplicity of economically nonviable states will further contribute 
to a decline of living standards in the world community 

• The perception that people sharing a common culture, religion, or language 
would necessarily also enjoy political compatibility is clearly a myth, 
and disillusionment after the event might provoke profound resentment 
and further conflict. 

• The movement of people within plural societies across territorial di¬ 
vides has greatly destroyed ethnic, cultural, or religious homogeneity in 
regions where it might have existed in earlier times. Consequently the 
demarcation of borders that would include the sectional demography 
that secessionists seek to establish is in most cases quite impossible. 

• Affording political relevance to ethnic, cultural, or religious affiliation 
carries within itself the potential of the repression of minority groups 
within the nation. Moreover, it affords no political standing whatsoever 
to persons who, on account of mixed parentage or marriage, cannot be 
identified with any particular faction of the group-conscious commu¬ 
nity or to those who—for whatever reason—do not wish to be identi¬ 
fied under any particular ethnic, cultural, or religious label. 

• In consequence of the above, an ethnically, culturally, or religiously de¬ 
fined state will more often than not create its own “minorities problem.” 
Because of the ethnical, cultural, or religious incentive for the estab¬ 
lishment of the secession state, this “problem” would almost invariably 
result in profound discrimination against those who do not belong or, 
worse still, a strategy of ethnic cleansing. 

Concluding Observations 

South Africa comprises perhaps the most diverse plural composition 
in the entire world; furthermore, it is known for the polarization of factions 
of the population. 60 Group rivalries are still rife in South Africa as a feature 
of the country’s demographic divides. Dealing with such rivalries and or¬ 
chestrating reconciliation are central to social engineering within that 
troubled land. 

The drafters of the South African constitution rejected the segregation of 
rival ethnic, religious, and linguistic communities as well as the promotion of 
cultural, religious, or linguistic homogeneity within the nation as a means of 
counteracting group-related tensions in the country’s social construct. Instead, 


they opted for creating—in the celebrated words of Archbishop Desmond 
Tutu—“a rainbow nation.” Accordingly, the new constitutional dispensation 
seeks to promote pride in one’s group identities: Be proud of being an Afrikaner 
or being a member of any of the rich variety of “peoples” within the African, 
Indian, and colored communities. Be faithful to your membership in the Catholic, 
Methodist, Dutch Reformed, or Zion Christian Church—or to your member¬ 
ship in the Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist communities. Find comfort in speak¬ 
ing the language of your cultural extraction, whether Afrikaans, English, Greek, 
Portuguese, Tswana, Xhosa, or Zulu. The European Court of Human Rights 
has also singled out tolerance and broad-mindedness as indispensable compo¬ 
nents of a democratic society. 61 

Pride in one’s particular ethnic, religious, or linguistic identity does not 
elevate one to a superior status in the community. The respect of others for 
one’s cultural values, religious persuasions, or linguistic preferences demands 
full respect for the culture, religion, and language of others. The constitu¬ 
tional principle that applies in this regard has been reduced to perhaps the 
most basic moral directive for a “new South Africa,” one that finds expres¬ 
sion in the concept of ubuntu or botho (“an idea based on deep respect for 
the [inner] humanity of another”). 62 Ubuntu translates into “humaneness” 
and constitutes “part of our rainbow heritage.” 63 It stands in sharp contrast 
to “dehumanising and degrading the individual.” 64 Justice Albie Sachs on 
occasion referred to ubunthu-batho in the sense of “civility” as “a precondition 
for the good functioning of contemporary democratic societies.” He noted 
that “civility in a constitutional sense involves more than just courtesy and 
good manners. ... It presupposes tolerance for those with whom one dis¬ 
agrees and respect for the dignity of those with whom one is in dispute.” 65 

The constitution therefore subjects the freedom of expression to limi¬ 
tations, which include a prohibition of the “advocacy of hatred that is based 
on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to 
cause harm.” 66 Under the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair 
Discrimination Act, “no person may publish, propagate, advocate or com¬ 
municate words . .. against any person, that could reasonably be construed 
to demonstrate a clear intention to (a) be hurtful; (b) be harmful or to incite 
harm; (c) promote or propagate hatred.” 67 One must note that South African 
law does not uphold the almost incontestable sanctity of freedom of speech, 
as does the American constitutional system. In South African law, “certain 
expressions do not deserve constitutional protection because they have the 
potential to impinge adversely on the dignity of others and cause harm.” 68 
In South Africa, “the right to freedom of expression is not a pre-eminent 


freedom ranking above all others.” 69 In this respect, it “differs fundamen¬ 
tally from the balance struck in the United States,’’where freedom of speech 
constitutes the basic norm—a Grundnorm —of the entire rights regime. 70 

Instead, the “new South Africa” is founded on zero tolerance for words 
and conduct offensive to others. Depicting members of particular population 
groups as “hotnot,” “kaffir,” “rooinek,” “boer,” or “coolie” is therefore strictly 
forbidden since such names “have for decades been used to bring people of 
different races into contempt.” 71 Refusing to serve a Muslim client wearing a 
fez in a business enterprise open to the public constitutes unbecoming dis¬ 
crimination based on religion. 72 The media are under legal constraint not to 
publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist (as did 
those that first appeared in a Danish newspaper) because they “advocate hatred 
and stereotyping of Muslims.” 73 A newspaper report that likens homosexuality 
to bestiality cannot be tolerated under freedom of the press because it pro¬ 
motes hatred against the gay and lesbian communities. The chanting of a 
“freedom song” that includes the phrase dibulu iBhunu (shoot the Boer) is 
offensive to the Afrikaans-speaking section of the South African nation and 
as such violates the proscription of offensive language. 75 

As noted by Chief Justice Pius Lange in 2009, “The process of recon¬ 
ciliation is an ongoing one which requires give and take from all sides.” 76 
“Our democracy is still fragile,” said Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann, adding 
that “participants in the political and socio-political discourse must remain 
sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of other South Africans when 
words were used that were common during the struggle days, but may be 
experienced as harmful by fellow inhabitants of South Africa today.” 77 


1. Loi no. 2004-228 du IS mars 2004 (encadrant, en application du principe de lai'cite, le port de signes ou de 
tenues manifestant une appartenance religieuse dans les ecoles, colleges et lycees publics) [formulating, in application 
of the principle of secularism, the wearing of signs or dress manifesting a religious affiliation in schools and public 
primary and high schools]. 

2. Leyla §ahin v. Turkey (Application no. 44774/98), European Court ofHuman Rights (Judgments and Decisions) 
2005-XI (11 October 2005): 173. See also Kurtulmu^v. Turkey (Application no. 65500/01), European Court of Human 
Rights (Judgments and Decisions) 2006-11 (24 January 2006): 297; and Kose and Others v. Turkey (Application no. 
26625/02), European Court of Human Rights (Judgments and Decisions) 2006-11 (24January 2006): 339. 

3. Art. 15(3)(c), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. 

4. Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108,1996 (hereafter “1996 S. A. Const.”). 

5. Ibid., secs. 8(1), 8(2), and 30. 

6. Ibid., sec. 31; see also sec. 235. 

7. Antonio Cassese, Self-Determination of Peoples: A Legal Appraisal (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University 
Press, 1995), 15. 


8. Robert Friedlander, “Self-Determination: A Legal-Political Inquiry,” Detroit College of Law Review 1 
(1975): 71,73. 

9. “Fourteen Points Address Delivered on 8 January 1918 to a Joint Session of Congress by President 
Woodrow Wilson,” point 5, in R. S. Baker and W. E. Dodd, eds., Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 1, War 
and Peace (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1927), 155-59. 

10. Woodrow Wilson, “Address to Congress,” 11 February 1918, in A Compilation of Messages and Papers of the 
President, vol. 18 (New \ork: Bureau of National Literature, 1921), 8450. See also the address of President Wilson 
delivered in Baltimore,MD, on 6 April 1918 on the occasion of the first anniversary of America’s participation in the 
European War and the third inauguration of the Third Liberty Loan, in which he referred to “our ideals, the ideals of 
justice and humanity and liberty, the principle of the free self-determination of nations, upon which all the modern 
world insists.” Ibid., 8483. 

11. Vernon Van Dyke, Human Rights, the United States, and World Community (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1970), 86. 

12. The mandate system was the brainchild of Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950) of South Africa, a general in 
the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and a Cambridge graduate, invited by Great Britain to be part of its delegation 
to the Paris Peace Conference where the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919) was drafted. In December 1918, Smuts 
outlined the mandate system in a League of Nations plan under the heading “A Practical Suggestion,” which 
President Woodrow Wilson included in his second draft of the League of Nations Covenant. 

13. See Antonio Cassese, International Law in a Divided World (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1986), 131-34, 
par. 80; Rupert Emerson, “Self-Determination,” American Journal of International Law 66 (1971): 459, 463; and 
Friedlander, “Self-Determination,” 71. 

14. Nathaniel Berman, “Sovereignty in Abeyance: Self-Determination in International Law,” Wisconsin 
International Law Journal 7 (1988): 51, 86-87. 

15. One should note, though, that even then, secession from existing empires was not a right in itself. The 
advisory opinion of the International Committee of Jurists in the Aaland Islands Case pointed out that “the right 
of disposing of national territory is essentially an attribute of the sovereignty of every State. Positive International 
Law does not recognise the right of national groups, as such, to separate themselves from the State of which they 
form part by the simple expression of a wish, any more than it recognises the right of other States to claim such a 
separation.” “Report of the International Committee of Jurists Entrusted by the Council of the League of Nations 
with the Task of Giving an Advisory Opinion upon the Legal Aspects of the Aaland Islands Question,” League of 
Nations OfficialJournal, supp.3 (October 1920): [3], It 
was only when “the formation, transformation and dismemberment of States as a result of revolutions and wars 
create situations of fact which, to a large extent, cannot be met by the application of the normal rules of positive 
law” that “peoples” may either decide to form an independent state or choose between two existing ones (ibid., [4]). 
In such circumstances, when sovereignty has been disrupted, “the principle of self-determination of peoples may 
be called into play. New aspirations of certain sections of a nation, which are sometimes based on old traditions or 
on a common language and civilisation, may come to the surface and produce effects which must be taken into 
account in the interests of the internal and external peace of nations” (ibid.). 

16. See Johan D. van der Vyver, “Sovereignty and Human Rights in Constitutional and International Law,” 
Emory International Law Review 5 (1991): 321, 395-416; van der Vyver, “Self-Determination and the Peoples of 
Quebec under International Caw,” Journal of Transnational Law and Policy 10, no. 1 (2000): 14-19; van der Vyver, 
“Self-Determination and the Right to Secession of Religious Minorities under International Law,” in Protecting the 
Human Rights of Religious Minorities in Eastern Europe, ed. Peter G. Danchin and Elizabeth A. Cole (New Ytrk: 
Columbia University Press, 2002), 251,258-61; and van der Vyver, ‘Cultural Identity as a Constitutional Right in 
South Africa,” Stellenbosch Law Review 14 (2003): 51,53-56,58. 

17. Western Sahara (Advisory Opinion of 22 May 1975), International Court of Justice (1975), 1,31. See also 
Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in N amibia (South West Africa) N otwith- 
standing Security Council Resolution 276 (1970) (Advisory Opinion of 21 June 1971) International Court of Justice 
(1971), 16,31. (The court held that the right to self-determination was applicable to “territories under colonial rule” 
and that it “embraces all peoples and territories which ‘have not yet attained independence.’”) 


18. Berman, “Sovereignty in Abeyance,” 54. See also Cassese, International Law in a Divided World, lb, par. 43; 
Van Dyke, Human Rights, 87; L. Berat, “The Evolution of Self-Determination in International Law: South Africa 
and Namibia, and the Case of Walvis Bay,” Emory International Law Review 4 (1990): 251,283 (referring to self- 
determination and the equal right of peoples as “twin aspects of decolonization”); Emerson, “Self-Determination,” 
463; O. Schachter, “The United Nations and Internal Conflict,” in Law and Civil War in the Modem World, z d.John 
Norton Moore (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974), 401, 406-7; and Gebre Tesfagiorgis, “Self- 
Determination: Its Evolution and Practice by the United Nations and Its Application in the Case of Eritrea,” 
Wisconsin International Law Journal 6 (1987): 75,78-80. 

19. The link within the confines of the right to self-determination of systems of institutionalized racism and 
colonialism or foreign domination may be traced to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s Declaration on 
the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs ofStates and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty 
of 1965, in which the UN demanded that all states respect “the right to self-determination and independence of 
peoples and nations, to be freely exercised without any foreign pressure, and with absolute respect for human rights 
and fundamental freedoms.”To this end, it proclaimed that “all States shall contribute to the complete elimination 
of racial discrimination and colonialism in all its forms and manifestations” (par. 6). 

20. This development was probably prompted by the claim of South Africa that the establishment of independent 
tribal homelands as part of the apartheid policy constituted a manifestation of the right to self-determination of 
the different ethnic groups within the country’s African population. Not so, responded the international com¬ 
munity. The tribal homelands were a creation of the minority (white) regime and did not emerge from the wishes 
or political self-determination of the denationalized peoples themselves. 

21. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 1, General Assembly Resolution 2200 (XXI), 16 
December 1966,21 UN GAOR Supp. (no. 16), 27, UN Doc. A/6316, 999 UN Treaty Series 171. See in general 
Felix Ermacora, “The Protection of Minorities before the United Nations,” Recueil des Cours 4 (1983): 246. 

22. Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, art. 
2.1, General Assembly Resolution 47/136, 18 December 1992, 47 UN General Assembly Official Records 
Supp. (no. 49), 210, UN Doc. A/Res/47/135,1992. 

23. Ibid., arts. 1.1 and 4.2,2.3, 3, and 4.1. 

24. Ibid., art. 4.2. 

25. European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, art. 4.1., European Treaty 
Series 1995,157 (reprinted in International Legal Materials 34 [1995]: 35). 

26. Ibid., art. 5.1. 

27. Ibid., art. 8. 

28. Ibid., art. 10.1. See also the European Charter for Regional Minority Languages, Strasbourg, 1992, 

29. 1996 S. A. Const., sec. 31. 

30. Ibid., secs. 181(l)(c) and 185-86. See also the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights 
of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities, Act 19,2002. 

31. 1996 S. A. Const., sec. 6(5)(b)(ii). 

32. See the text associated with note 24. 

33. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, art. 2(a), General Assembly Resolution 48/104, 
20 December 1993, UN General Assembly Official Records, 48th sess., Supp. (no. 49), vol. 1, 217, UN Doc. 

34. Du Plessis v. De Klerk, 1996 (5) S.A. 658 (CC) (South Africa). 

35. See Van Dyke, Human Rights, 88; Berman, “Sovereignty in Abeyance,” 87; and Emerson, “Self- 
Determination,” 464-65. 

36. See FinalAct ofthe Conference on Security and Co-operation inEurope, for example, par. IV (territorial integrity) 
and par. VIII (equal rights and self-determination of peoples), International Legal Materials 14 (1975): 1292. 

37. According to Hermann Mosler, “States are constituted by a people, living in a territory and organized 
by a government which exercises territorial and personal jurisdiction.” Mosler, “Subjects of International 
Law,” in Encyclopedia of Public International Law, vol. 7, ed. Rudolph Bernhardt (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 


1984), 442,449. Karl Doehring defines a state in international law as “an entity having exclusive jurisdiction 
with regard to its territory and personal jurisdiction in view of its nationals.” Doehring, “State,” in Bernhardt, 
Encyclopedia of Public International Law, vol. 10 (1987), 423. Herman Dooyeweerd defined the foundational 
function of a state in terms of “an internal monopolistic organization of the power of the sword over a particular 
cultural area within territorial boundaries.” Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, vol. 3, trans. 
David H. Freeman (Ontario: Paideia Press, 1969), 414. He further maintained that the leading or qualifying 
function of the state finds expression in a public, legal relationship that unifies the government, the people, 
and the territory constituting the political community into a politico-juridical whole (ibid., 433ff). 

38. See\oram Dinstein, “Collective Human Rights ofPeoples and Minorities f International and Comparative 
Law Quarterly 25, no. 1 (January 1976): 102,109. He notes that peoples seeking secession must be located in a 
well-defined territorial area in which they form a majority. 

39. Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, General Assembly Resolution 
1514,14 December 1960,15 UN General Assembly Official Records Supp. (no. 16) 66, UN Doc. A/4684,1960. 

40. See International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, art. 1(1), General Assembly Resolution 
2200A (XXI), 16 December 1966, 21 UN General Assembly Official Records Supp. (no. 16), 49, UN Doc. 
A/6316 (1966), 993 UN Treaty Series 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 1(1); and Declara¬ 
tion on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, art. 2. See also the first paragraph under the 
heading “The Principle of Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples,” in the Declaration on Principles of 
International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the 
United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 2625,24 October 1970,25 UN General Assembly Official Records 
Supp. (no. 28), 121, UN Doc. A/8028 (1970); Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention into the Domestic 
Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty,par. 5, General Assembly Resolution 2131,21 
December 1965,20 UN General Assembly Official Records Supp. (no. 14), 11-12, UN Doc. A/6014 (1965); and 
Final Act ofthe Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, par. VIII. 

41. Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, art 8.4. 

42. European Framework Convention, art. 21. 

43. General Assembly Resolution 61/295, 13 September 2007. The declaration was adopted with only 
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States opposing. 

44. Ibid., art. 46(1). 

45. Regarding the sanctity of national borders, see Rosalyn Higgins, The Development of Inter¬ 
national Law through the Political Organs of the United Nations (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), 104-5; 
and, for example, Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, par. III. Regarding attempts 
at secession, see van der Vyver, “Sovereignty and Human Rights,” 403-7; and in greater detail, James Crawford, 
The Creation of States in International Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 235-36 (Katanga) and 265 (Biafra); 
John Dugard, Recognition and the United Nations (Cambridge: Grotius, 1987), 86-90 (Katanga), 84-85 (Biafra), 
and 108-11 (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus); and Johan D. van der Vyver, “Statehood in International 
Law,” Emory International Law Review 5, no. 9 (1991): 35-37 (Katanga) and 42-44 (Turkish Republic of 
Northern Cyprus). 

46. Van Dyke, Human Rights, 102. 

47. Charter ofthe Organization of African Unity, 1963, art. III.3, reprinted in International Legal Materials 
2 (1963): 766. 

48. AHG/Res. 16(1), par. 2, Organization of African Unity, Resolutions Adopted by the First Ordinary Ses¬ 
sion of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government Held in Cairo, United Arab Republic, 17-21 July 1964. 

49. Reference Re Secession of Quebec, 1998, 2 S.C.R. 217, par. 126, 
/doc/1998/1998canlii793/1998canlii793.pdf. See also van der Vyver, “Peoples of Quebec,” 14-19. 

50. Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States. 
Under the heading “The Principle of Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples,” the declaration provides 
“the establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent 
State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of imple¬ 
menting the right to self-determination by that people.” 


51. See Cassese, International Law in a Divided World, 359-63. 

52. One should specially note that Article 72 of the Konstitutsiya SSSR (USSR constitution) expressly guaran¬ 
teed the right of each republic to secede from the union. Accordance with International Law ofthe Unilateral Decla¬ 
ration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, International Court of Justice General List no. 141,22 July 2010. The 
referendum that sanctioned the secession of southern Sudan was confined to residents of that region but sanc¬ 
tioned by legislation of Sudan that authorized the referendum. Regarding elements for legitimizing secession in 
any given case, Lee Buchheit specifies that the section of a community seeking partition should possess a distinct 
group identity with reference, for example, to cultural, racial, linguistic, historical, or religious considerations. Those 
making a separatist claim must be capable of an independent existence, including economic viability (but bearing 
in mind international aid programs that might help a newly established political entity over its teething problems). 
Further, the secession must serve to promote general international harmony or at least not be disruptive of inter¬ 
national harmony or disrupt it more than the status quo is likely to do. Buchheit, Secession: The Legitimacy of Self- 
Determination (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978), 228-38. 

53. Art. 1 of the Constitution of the Federal People’s Republic ofYugoslavia (1946) authorized secession of 
its constituent republics. See also the Constitution of the Federal People’s Republic ofYugoslavia (1963), par. I 
of the Introductory Part (Basic Principles) (depicting Yugoslavia as “a federal republic of free and equal peoples 
and nationalities” united “on the basis of the right to self-determination, including the right of secession”), as 
well as art. 1; and the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic ofYugoslavia (1974), par. I of the Introductory 
Part (Basic Principles) (referring to “the right of every nation to self-determination” and “the brotherhood and 
unity of nations and nationalities”). However, the disintegration of the federation did not occur in accordance 
with the procedures prescribed for the exercise of the constitutional right to secession and furthermore included 
territorial gains through conquest and ethnic cleansing. 

54. Accordance with International Law ofthe Unilateral Declaration oflndependence in Respect ofKosovo, Inter¬ 
national Court of Justice General List no. 141, par. 56,22 July 2010 (hereafter “Kosovo Case”). 

55. Ibid., pars. 114,119. Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), 10 June 1999, par. 10. 

56. Kosovo Case, par. 122. 

57. See Ernest Duga Titanji, “The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Self-Determination versus Secession: One 
Coin,Two Faces 1" African Human Rights Law Journal 9, no. 1 (2009): 52,68-72,73-74. 

58. Katangese People’s Congress v. Zaire, 2000, African Human Rights Law Report 72, par. 6 (African 
Commission on Human and People’s Rights, 1995). 

59. “This [definition of self-determination] shall not be construed as authorising or encouraging any action 
which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and 
independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principles of equal rights and self-determination 
of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without 
distinction of any kind.” World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 25 
June 1993, art. 1.2, UN Doc. A/Conf. 157/24,25 June 1993, reprinted in International Legal Materials 32 (1993): 

60. See S v. Makwanyane and Another, 1995 (3) SA 391, par. 308 (CC) (South Africa) (Justice Mokgoro 
referring to South Africans having “a history of deep division characterised by strife and conflict”); and Du Toit 
v. Minister for Safety and Security and Another, 2009 (6) SA 128, 2009 12 Butterworths Constitutional Law 
Reports 1171, par. 17 (CC) (South Africa) (Chief Justice Lange stating that “the South African nation was for 
decades a deeply divided society characterised by gross violations of fundamental human rights”). 

61. Handyside v. the United Kingdom [1976] 1 European Court of Human Rights 737,754. See Islamic Unity 
Convention v. Independent Broadcasting Authority and Others, 2002 (4) SA 295, par. 28 (CC) (South Africa). 

62. Dikoko v. Mokhatla, 2006 (6) SA 235, 2007 1 Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports 1, par. 68 
(CC) (South Africa). See also ibid., par. 69. 

63. S v. Makwanyane, 1995 (3) SA 391, par. 308 (CC) (South Africa) (per Justice Mokgoro). 

64. Ibid., par. 250 (per Justice Lange). 

65. Masetlha v. President of the RSA and Another, 2008 (1) SA 566,2008 1 Butterworths Constitutional Law 
Reports 1, par. 238 (CC) (South Africa). 


66. 1996 S. A. Const, sec. 16(2)(c). 

67. Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4,2000, sec. 10(1). 

68. Du Toit v. Minister for Safety and Security, 2009 (6) SA 128, par. 32 (CC) (South Africa). 

69. S v. Mamabolo (E TV Seven Others Intervening), 2001 (3) SA 409,2001 5 Butterworths Constitutional 
Law Reports 449, par. 41 (CC) (South Africa). 

70. Ibid., par. 40; Johan D. van der Vyver, “Constitutional Protection of Children and \oung Persons,” in The 
Law of Children andYoung Persons in South Africa, ed.J. A. Robinson (Durban, South Africa: Butterworths, 1997), 
265, 282; and van der Vyver, “Limitations of Freedom of Religion or Belief: International Law Perspectives,” 
Emory International Law Review 19 (2005): 499,508. 

71. Decision of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission in P Johnson v. 94.7 Highveld Stereo, case no. 
07/2002,14 February 2002 (South Africa). 

72. Woodways CC v. Moosa Vallie, case no. A251/05 (H. C. Western Cape), 31 August 2009 (South Africa). 

73. Jamait-Ul-Ulama of Transvaal v. Johncom Media Investment Ltd. and Others, case no. 1127/06 
(W.L.D.), 3 February 2006 (South Africa). 

74. In South African Human Rights Commission v. Jon Qwulane, case no. 44/EQJHB (31 May 2011) 
(South Africa), the Equality Court at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court demanded an unqualified public 
apology to the gay and lesbian community from—and imposed a fine of R 100,000 to be paid by—Jon 
Qwulane (currently the South African ambassador in Uganda) for a newspaper article he wrote under the 
heading “Call Me Names, but Gay Is NOT OK,” in which he compared homosexuality with bestiality. 

75. Agriforum and Another v. Malema and Another, 2011 (6) SA240 (EqC) (South Africa). The matter was 
taken on appeal by Malema and the African National Conference but was settled on the basis of the appellants 
agreeing “that certain words in certain freedom songs may be experienced as hurtful by members of minority 
communities” and “to act with restraint to avoid the experience of such hurt.”The settlement was made an order of 
court. Malema JS and Another v. Agriforum and Others, Case no. 20968/10 (2 November 2012). 

76. Du Toit v. Minister of Safety and Security, 2009 (6) SA 128, par. 28 (CC) (South Africa). See also 
Agriforum and Another v. Malema and Another, par. 11. 

77. Agriforum v. Malema, 2010 (5) SA 235 (GNP) (South Africa). 

Sharpening Our Plowshares 

Applying the Lessons of Counterinsurgency 
to Development and Humanitarian Aid 

Solomon Major, PhD* 

S ince the 1980s, encouraging social, political, and economic develop¬ 
ment and dispensing humanitarian assistance have become high- 
priority missions for both national policy makers and international 
and nongovernmental organizations (NGO). During the Cold 
War, donor nations often competed among themselves for influence and 
reputational rewards or from a simple desire to do good in the developing 
world. This focus on dispensing developmental and humanitarian aid has 
only accelerated since the fall of the Berlin Wall. 1 

In 2005 President George W. Bush promulgated National Security 
Presidential Directive 44, Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning 
Reconstruction and Stabilization, which underscored America’s commit¬ 
ment to providing humanitarian assistance and reconstruction aid to popu¬ 
lations in need. 2 Later, during the Obama administration, Secretary of 
Defense Robert Gates argued that “where possible, U.S. strategy is to employ 
indirect approaches—primarily through building the capacity of partner 
governments and their security forces—to prevent festering problems from 
turning into crises that require costly and controversial direct military 
intervention.” 3 More recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued that 
the United States must “elevate development as a core pillar of American 
power” as part of a strategy of exercising “smart power” internationally. 4 

*The author is a research analyst in the Strategic Research Department of the US Naval War College. He 
completed a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in inter¬ 
national relations from Stanford University. Dr. Major has published several articles on humanitarian non¬ 
governmental organizations, international economic sanctions, and ethnic conflict. He continues to conduct 
research on economic sanctions, counterinsurgency, humanitarianism, and development. 

The author especially thanks COL R. J. Lillibridge, USA, for his invaluable insights from the field; this 
article would not have been possible without his input and collaboration. Prof. Richard Norton and CAPT 
Mike Haunter, USN, read earlier versions of the article and provided excellent feedback. Any oversights, 
misstatements, or mistakes that remain, of course, are the fault of the author. 



Humanitarian relief and successful development, however, are not the 
sole preserve of international organizations and American foreign policy 
organizations. National militaries, particularly America’s, have become 
more directly involved in “engagement” and humanitarian assistance. 5 Al¬ 
though the US Army, which will likely take the lead in future humanitarian 
operations, has been most proactive in integrating humanitarian assistance / 
disaster relief missions into its tactical tasks, the other forces have followed 
suit. 6 For example, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower —the 
principal joint strategic document of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast 
Guard—has broken with tradition by designating humanitarian assistance 
and disaster relief as a core maritime competency. 7 

Similarly, the nongovernmental sector—long engaged on these issues— 
has redoubled its humanitarian and developmental efforts. 8 Although less 
concerned with the ties that bind humanitarian assistance and defense, 
NGOs unsurprisingly hold many concerns in common with those articu¬ 
lated by official aid givers. For example, World Vision—the largest American 
humanitarian NGO—claims that it is “dedicated to working with children, 
families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice . . . [and to] 
working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, 
seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.” 9 

In spite of this renewed commitment to development and stability, 
whether multilateral intergovernmental organizations (IGO) (e.g., the 
United Nations), humanitarian NGOs (e.g., Oxfam) or organs of the 
United States or other governments (e.g., the US Agency for International 
Development [USAID] or the military) have distributed the aid, the results 
have been disappointing. 10 Individual projects have sometimes flourished 
and some “colors” or types of aid monies have proved relatively less ineffec¬ 
tive than others, but the overall development program has generally foun¬ 
dered. 11 In light of development aid’s inability to realize its promise for 
whatever reasons, many IGOs and NGOs have recently and aggressively 
expanded their portfolios to include operations in humanitarian aid. 12 

Unfortunately, humanitarian operations have experienced similarly 
disappointing results. Although humanitarian organizations have often 
shifted much of the responsibility for these failures onto the fecklessness of 
their donors (primarily nation-states and IGOs), some of the blame must 
still rest with the humanitarians themselves. lj In most of these cases of 


failure, a certain lack of proficiency on behalf of the aid givers often lies at 
or near the center of these problems. As argued by Peter Hoffman and 
Thomas Weiss, 

for too long humanitarians have talked about becoming more professional but have 
been unwilling to accept the discipline and costs that necessarily would accompany such 
changes. Far too much [stabilization and development] work is still driven by anecdote 
and angst, not evidence and strategy. Although humanitarians will undoubtedly bristle 
at the comparison , professional militaries—unlike professional humanitarians—have a cul¬ 
ture that values learning ; and they invest substantial sums in the institutional infrastructure 
to assemble and act on lessons. Military academies epitomize how this works; previous and 
ongoing operations are analyzed, new procedures are tried and tested, and student sol¬ 
diers are educated about best practices and adapting tactics to field specifics . 14 (em¬ 
phasis added) 

This article follows on a small but growing literature that seeks to take 
up Hoffman and Weiss’s challenge: to begin to lay the intellectual founda¬ 
tion for a better “human-capital infrastructure” for proactive civilian, NGO, 
and IGO development, peacekeeping, peace building, and stabilization. 15 
Given the increasing stabilization and peace consolidation role undertaken 
by American combatant commands, these lessons may be equally applied to 
militaries fighting the wars of the new century. 

Beyond emphasizing the process of “learning” writ large, we might 
further mine military doctrine and practice to conceptualize how aid givers 
can confront an amorphous enemy as well as incapacitated host-country 
clients and partners in conditions of great strategic and tactical ambiguity. 
In fact the US Army has confronted similar problems (and opportunities) 
in a counterinsurgency (COIN) environment in Iraq and Afghanistan for 
the past several years—experiences and lessons learned now codified in 
Army Field Manual 3-24 / Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5, 
Counterinsurgency (FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5). 16 This article thus takes a 
novel approach to aid giving, whether by civilians or their military counter¬ 
parts, by explicitly considering the parallels between COIN and civilian- 
and military-led stability operations—and the lessons that the former 
might take from the latter. 

One must appreciate that asking humanitarians to draw lessons from 
their military opposites will prove controversial, a point addressed below. 
Consequently, one must note at the onset that this article does not advocate 
the militarization of aid or aid givers—an ongoing strategic concern for 


many members of the aid community. 17 Rather, it seeks to encourage aid 
givers to draw upon those military lessons learned when—and to the extent 
to which—they assist humanitarians and development specialists in most 
effectively and efficiently dispensing with the tactical and operational aspects 
of their important work. 

Toward that end, the article first considers why humanitarian and 
stabilization efforts are so central to America’s and the developed world’s 
foreign policies that they merit our considering a “war” against instability. It 
then addresses the challenges of foreign development and humanitarian aid 
as well as the poor record of success that they have experienced thus far. 
Next, it turns to developing a COIN-inspired strategy for development 
assistance and stabilization operations, explicitly drawing, again, on FM 
3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 in doing so. The article concludes by considering the 
lessons that we thus might learn and avenues for future research and practice. 

A New Kind ofWar:Why Development,Why Now? 

We have fought wars against drugs, poverty, cancer, and terror. In those 
actions, in which military force remained secondary to social, financial, in¬ 
formational, and diplomatic instruments, the term war conveyed the gravity 
of the challenge and the totality of power and resources employed in the 
pursuit of victory. 18 The war metaphor unintentionally illuminates one ad¬ 
ditional aspect of these contests—they can be lost. Indeed, the history of 
warfare instructs us that even great powers’ efforts may falter when employed 
without a comprehensive strategy for victory. The war metaphor serves as a 
reminder that wars are won (and lost) not only by the quantity and quality 
of the forces deployed but also by the skill with which they are employed. 

Although America’s military and civilian leadership has principally 
directed its attention to the prosecution of the two kinetic wars in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, as those conflicts wind down, forward-thinking leaders have 
begun to consider a new, metaphorical war that entails shaping the global¬ 
ized environment in ways that will avoid future shooting wars before they 
start. 19 This strategy is predicated on the idea that preempting and avoiding 
prospective crises will prove less costly than resolving them by force of arms 
or dint of diplomacy after they have become manifest. 

The principal axes of conflict in this new war on global instability are 
the fronts of economic and social development, democratization, and the 


development of civil society. Development strategy has been informed by 
the belief that poverty and the disintegration of traditional social, cultural, 
and familial networks are real and daunting adversaries. A dawning con¬ 
sensus among students of development aid, however, holds that some of the 
greatest impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid, stability, and 
long-term peace often reside in the very governments of the recipient coun¬ 
tries themselves. 20 

Although partner governments’ failings often concern an inability to 
perform their obligations to their constituents, such weakness enables others 
to undermine the peace or legitimacy of those governments, even without 
the commission of violent or disruptive acts. Rather, corruption, simple in¬ 
competence, or a lack of administrative capacity proves that, like a cancer, 
an “enemy” need not be malicious to be malignant. Against such a foe, we 
must bring to bear new and unconventional tools with which to fight an 
unconventional war—one in which effective local partnerships, proactive 
diplomacy, and, most importantly, capacity building stand in for ever-greater 
aid budgets, larger peacekeeping forces, or more military advisers. 

Development and Humanitarian Aid Thus Far: Promises Unfulfilled 

The United States, other wealthy nations, IGOs, and private actors like 
NGOs and “superempowered” individuals such as Bill and Melinda Gates 
have long sought to redress the extreme poverty and other depredations 
believed to contribute to instability in the developing world. 21 Unfortu¬ 
nately, in spite of this commitment to development and relief, the record for 
economic assistance has been disappointing. A number of empirical studies 
have shown that higher gross quantities of aid have failed to improve the 
performance of recipient countries. 22 As David Rieff notes, “bureaucratic 
ineptitude, poor planning, paternalism, financial mismanagement, a lack of 
any system of accountability, and a smug, self-regarding, and self-perpetuating 
culture [have] . . . become the hallmarks of the development enterprise in 
the poor world.” 23 

Yet, even though greater quantities of aid giving may not be a panacea, 
a better quality of aid, given to well-governed countries or capable and 
robust local development organizations, may improve the prospects for 
economic development and humanitarian relief. 24 One humanitarian aid 
giver, for instance, has advocated an overtly “social or political contract 


dedicated to famine prevention [that] constitutes an attempt to infuse 
social and economic rights into civil liberties,” an approach to aid that 
stresses the bond between a competent and democratic government and 
those it seeks to represent. 25 

These insights have directed more attention to the importance of the 
quality of the recipient (and donor) governments as opposed to ever-larger 
aid budgets or ambitious humanitarianism. 26 Governments and international- 
development NGOs have articulated an increased willingness to shape 
their aid policies to better reflect more efficient and safer practice as well as 
the recipient countries’ actual needs (even if, unfortunately, donors’ practice 
has often lagged their public commitments). 27 Furthermore, as shown by 
the charter of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, for example, 
donors too are showing a parallel interest in partnering with well-run and 
well-governed recipients. 28 This new political perspective is consistent 
with (some) members of the NGO community who have, in effect, argued 
that “there are no humanitarian [or development] solutions to humani¬ 
tarian problems.” 29 

Two Communities, Common Lessons 

The development community has not been alone in learning the very 
costly lesson about the importance of effective local partnerships to stabili¬ 
zation and development. Since 2006 the US military has also experienced a 
sea change in its operational and tactical doctrine: the foundation of the 
Army’s COIN doctrine, applied with success in Iraq in 2007, and the more 
recent “surge” in Afghanistan both emphasize the central importance of 
setting up and working with effective local partners. 

Indeed, the importance of local politics and partners has as yet failed 
to fully gain purchase with the development community, but military “buy-in” 
for the new COIN strategies has proved significant—particularly given the 
difficulty of reorienting large bureaucracies like the US Department of 
Defense and the military services. 30 Perhaps this has proceeded from the 
modern American military’s demonstrated willingness to institutionalize 
lessons-learned processes. 


Lessons of Domestic Partnerships from Army Counterinsurgency 

It is true that COIN operations in the distant past may have relied on 
overwhelming force and civilian reprisals, perhaps best exemplified by the 
British Army’s long and difficult—but ultimately successful—campaign in 
South Africa during the Boer War. However, in the 24-hour news cycle, 
one of the lessons that one must take from more recent COIN operations 
is that even though outside powers cannot ultimately win such operations 
(without Boer-like civilian depredations), they can establish and support 
local partners and proxies that will. As noted in a perceptive paper by Nori 
Katagiri, the “gold standard” of COIN operations to date—Great Britain’s 
successful suppression of the communist insurgency during the Malayan 
Emergency (1948-60)—held a hidden cost. That is, although the British 
“won” the war, they did so only after they established a credible local 
Malaysian government partner domestically strong enough that, after the 
emergency had passed, the Malaysians successfully wrested control of the 
country from their former colonial masters. 31 

Although the United States did not hold similar colonial aspirations in 
Iraq, it is notable that in spite of its great material advantages, America’s 
COIN strategy and surge bore fruit only after it produced a reasonably 
competent set of local partners and only after they had become sufficiently 
committed to denying safe haven to and, ultimately, defeating the insur¬ 
gency. Without the Sunni Awakening and that population’s direct action 
against al-Qaeda and the maturation of Iraqi governance from the nahiya 
(city), to province, to national level, the surge may have failed. It is a most 
significant but often overlooked fact that the Mahdi army and Shiite mili¬ 
tias were cleared from Basra and other southern strongholds by the Iraqi 
army, as ordered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki—not by the more 
materially capable US armed forces. 

Lessons Learned: FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency 

One finds many of these lessons on successful COIN, civil-military, and 
military/host-nation (HN) partnerships codified in FM 3-24/M CWP 3-33.5. 
Many of the lessons learned by Gen David Petraeus and the other authors 
of this document should have great resonance with the humanitarian and 
development communities. By drawing upon FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 
and the collective lessons of Army and Marine units, NGOs, IGOs, and 


national organizations (civilian and military) will be better able to realize 
their worthy goals and to develop, shape, and stabilize heretofore restive 
developing regions. The following examines and expands upon a number of 
such lessons. 

Of necessity, stabilization efforts must stress “unity of effort” and 
interagency operations. Many organizations involved in the development 
and distribution of aid—particularly humanitarian NGOs—are inimical to 
working with governmental organizations generally and the military in 
particular, for several reasons. 32 On the one hand, humanitarian organiza¬ 
tions assert that associating with ongoing military organizations reduces 
their perceived neutrality in these conflicts, thus increasing the likelihood 
that combatants will target them, which reduces their capacity to reach 
people who need assistance. For example, one of the most outspokenly in¬ 
dependent humanitarian organizations—Doctors without Borders / Medecins 
Sans Frontieres—has argued that “the US government’s strategy of com¬ 
bining relief and military operations increased the vulnerability of humani¬ 
tarian aid workers, whose work was perceived as a component of the mili¬ 
tary effort,” while the director of CARE “deplores the increasing trend . . . 
to ‘use and co-opt humanitarian assistance as an integral part of warfighting.’” 33 

On the other hand, the military has had less of a problem with the 
“nexus” between military adventurism and humanitarianism. FM 3-24/ 
MCWP 3-33.5 stresses that 

NGOs often play an important role at the local level. Many such agencies resist being 
overtly involved with military forces; however, efforts to establish some kind of liaison 
are needed. The most important connections are those with joint, interagency, multi¬ 
national, and [HN] organizations. The goal of these connections is to ensure that, as 
much as possible, objectives are shared and actions and messages synchronized. 
Achieving this synergy is essential. 

Almost everything in COIN is interagency. Everything from policing to intelligence 
to civil-military operations ... to trash collection involves working with interagency 
and host-nation ... partners. These agencies are not under military control, but their 
success is essential to accomplishing the mission . 34 

The US government’s perspective is echoed in a recent study on the 
intersection of humanitarianism and military operations: “Neutrality is an 
ideal, not a reality. When aid workers operate in close proximity to Western 
military forces, all sides will inevitably view the aid workers as political 
actors.” 45 Similarly, a recent World Bank study urges us to “use a conflict 


lens” since “all choices in governance affect power relationships.” 36 Each 
case underscores an appreciation for the necessity of whole-of-government 
and whole-o£-nation approaches, as reflected in National Security Presi¬ 
dential Directive 44 and more recent US government documents. 

This stands in stark contrast to the perspectives of aid givers—particularly 
NGOs, which are quick to reassert their independence and impartiality, in 
keeping with the principles of humanitarianism. 37 Yet, as long as certain 
subject populations remain of interest to US government organs, as well as 
humanitarian and development NGOs, this overlap is inevitable. Thus, al¬ 
though arguing in favor of a perfectly neutral “humanitarian space” and a 
purity of purpose may suit the NGOs’ and development agencies’ desire to 
emphasize the “intrinsic worth” and “dignity” of those they serve, it is 
unrealistic in practice. In fact, developing frontiers remain dangerous places 
for aid workers, no matter their neutrality or provenance. 38 Idealism dictates 
further separation from entangling military operations, but events on the 
ground argue in favor of greater cooperation and integration between the 
two. 39 As argued by Sarah Lischer, development cannot stand in for security; 
rather, security, which militaries and nation-states have a comparative advan¬ 
tage in providing, is essential for development to succeed. 40 This element of 
security, as outlined in FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 and as practiced in Iraq and 
Afghanistan, is the first element necessary for the successful prosecution of 
COIN and the resulting opportunities for sustained development. 

On the one hand, as long as developmental and humanitarian organi¬ 
zations wish to fulfill their mission of bringing assistance and development 
to those in need, they will be best served by working with governments, 
professionalizing and recognizing the inevitability of military interaction. 
Indeed, whether they approve or not, this has been an ongoing process 
within the humanitarian field for the past decade. 41 On the other hand, 
military and government organizations must become more fully aware of 
the additional stresses and dangers that the “securitization” of humanitarian 
and development relief brings to those who have long operated in this field. 
FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 recognizes these realities, asserting that 

there is no such thing as impartial humanitarian assistance. . .. Whenever someone is 
helped, someone else is hurt, not least the insurgents. So civil and humanitarian assis¬ 
tance personnel often become targets. Protecting them is a matter not only of providing 
a close-in defense, but also of creating a secure environment by co-opting local benefi¬ 
ciaries of aid and their leaders . 42 


Do more than deliver (security or humanitarian) goods: Build capacity. 

It is crucial that providers of development assistance not become overly 
concerned with the narrow, technical aspects of aid (although technical com¬ 
petence, clearly, is also important). 43 FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 argues that 
a stabilization “effort cannot achieve lasting success without the HN govern¬ 
ment achieving legitimacy. . .. [Therefore,] the primary objective of any . .. 
[stabilization/development] operation is to foster development of effective 
governance by a legitimate government.... [International custodians must] 
achieve this objective by the balanced application of both military and non¬ 
military means.” 44 

Indeed, in the end, host government capacity , rather than the availability of 
large quantities of aid material, is crucial for long-term stability and develop¬ 
ment. Thus, although substantial aid budgets are surely important for win¬ 
ning wars against underdevelopment, just as adequate surge forces are for 
winning COINs, neither is as important as the means by which they are 
employed. Flooding aid into recipient countries without proper consider¬ 
ation of the ends it should achieve is the development equivalent of the 
military’s previous unhealthy focus on body counts and destruction of the 
enemy’s force during COIN operations. 45 

To this end, attempting to do too much can impede HN capacity build¬ 
ing. This can take place in a number of ways. The aid literature, for example, 
has argued that in their rush to acquire high-quality local workers, aid organi¬ 
zations have often “bought up” the best local talent for their own field offices 
at wages against which local institutions cannot compete. In so doing, these 
organizations leave the HN government with a shallow talent pool with 
which to undertake the very difficult task of building up its own operations— 
often from scratch. 

Beyond personnel issues, another problem outlined in FM 3-24/ 
MCWP 3-33.5 deals with the conduct of operations that may be of con¬ 
cern to aid givers. It maintains that in order for development and stabiliza¬ 
tion efforts to not just succeed but take hold for the long term, 

the host nation has to win on its own... . U.S. forces and agencies can help, but HN 
elements must accept responsibilities to achieve real victory. While it maybe easier for 
U.S. military units to conduct operations themselves, it is better to work to strengthen 
local forces and institutions and then assist them.... 


. . . T. E. Lawrence [observed] while leading the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman 
Empire in 1917: “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs 
do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly.” 46 

FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 notes, however, that building capacity is not the 
same thing as having a capacity built. Until a genuine HN capacity exists, a 
premature turnover of responsibility in the name of forging that capacity 
may prove highly counterproductive. The manual thus continues by arguing 
that “a keyword in Lawrence’s advice is ‘tolerably.’If the host nation cannot 
perform tolerably, counterinsurgents supporting it may have to act. Experi¬ 
ence, knowledge of the AO [area of operations], and cultural sensitivity are 
essential to deciding when such action is necessary.” 47 

As noted above, it is therefore crucial for custodians (governmental, 
military, IGO, and NGO alike) to remember that it is not enough to simply 
ensure that local institutions have the competent talent necessary to “win 
on their own”—they must have the opportunity to do so. Again, though, 
this occurs only after prior institution building by foreign partners has 
facilitated their success. 

A focus on institutions. Relatedly, FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 argues 
in favor of standing up and building capacity in the institutions having the 
potential for lasting stability and development: “U.S. forces committed to ... 
[development and stabilization] effort[s] are there to assist an HN govern¬ 
ment. The long-term goal is to leave a government able to stand by itself.” 
To that end, “Soldiers and Marines help establish HN institutions that 
sustain ... [a] legal regime, including police forces, court systems, and penal 
facilities.” 48 In a separate article on COIN operations, General Petraeus 
emphasizes this point, writing that custodians must ultimately “help to 
build institutions, not just units.” 49 

Likewise, one can best realize development goals with a similar com¬ 
mitment to institution building. Too often, humanitarian and development 
organizations see the giving of aid or the individual project upon which 
they are working as the end toward which their efforts draw. In so doing, 
they fail to appreciate the fundamentally social and political aspects of 
successful aid and development strategies. 50 Worse, a desire for expediency— 
getting things done with the easiest partners at hand rather than the best — 
can have counterproductive effects if it ultimately undermines critical HN 
institutions. Although ad hoc and informal partners can sometimes be 


effective, as was the case with the Sons of Iraq / Sunni militias in Iraq, one 
must be particularly cautious when allying with such actors. Thus, some 
argue that “helping to build the capacity of the informal/non-state gover¬ 
nance institutions to complement formal/state functions” can be an effec¬ 
tive shortcut when state institutions are incapacitated, corrupt, or nonex¬ 
istent. 51 However, one must take care not to undermine nascent national 
institutions and should act only with considerable understanding of the 
local context. 

Fortunately, interest in capacity building has increased, at least in the 
military and security dimensions. 52 One hopes that civilian and civil society 
programs will follow this good example. Perhaps the largely successful de¬ 
mocratization programs undertaken in Eastern Europe after the end of the 
Cold War might prove a further, helpful template for these sorts of pro¬ 
grams. Ultimately, military and civilian organizations alike will likely be 
best served by making self-sustaining local organizational capacity a key 
aspect of future aid efforts. In the end, a successful exit strategy for both aid 
and COIN operations will depend upon the ability of these organizations 
to succeed in building local institutions up to the point at which they can 
stand on their own. 

Attain buy-in from the HN and, most importantly, its people. Ac¬ 
cording to FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, “Killing insurgents—while necessary, 
especially with respect to extremists—by itself cannot defeat an insur¬ 
gency. ” 5j Similarly, as noted by Clark Gibson, Krister Anderson, Elinor 
Ostrom, and Sujai Shivakumar, the distribution of aid, while necessary, can¬ 
not catalyze development by itself. 54 In both cases, it is fundamentally im¬ 
portant that one build peace, stability, and development upon the solid 
foundation of the local populace—and not on the efforts of foreign aid or 
military personnel who, ultimately, will depart. 

Buy-in has two aspects: the populace must support the operations of 
custodians in the immediate term and then must grant legitimacy to the 
HN s civil, legal, and security institutions over the long term. Unsurprisingly, 
FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 considers how custodians might realize these 
goals from a purely military perspective: 

Gaining and retaining the initiative requires counterinsurgents to address the insur¬ 
gency’s causes through stability operations as well. This initially involves securing and 
controlling the local populace and providing for essential services. As security im¬ 
proves, military resources contribute to supporting government reforms and recon- 


struction projects. As counterinsurgents gain the initiative, offensive operations focus 
on eliminating the insurgent cadre, while defensive operations focus on protecting the 
populace and infrastructure from direct attacks. As counterinsurgents establish mili¬ 
tary ascendancy, stability operations expand across the area of operations (AO) and 
eventually predominate. 55 

Notwithstanding the focus on the martial aspect of security, such observa¬ 
tions still offer a useful guide for aid givers, particularly the comment that 
“victory is achieved when the populace consents to the governments legitimacy 
and stops actively and passively supporting” spoilers of any type that con¬ 
tinue to sow instability and pursue rent seeking for their own narrow ends. 56 

This goal is consistent with the argument—prevalent in the aid and 
stabilization literatures—that international actors must be accountable to 
those they serve. 57 Yet, even when one undertakes to be held locally ac¬ 
countable, the assumption is that it represents “an opportunity to widen the 
conversation about the politics, power, and ethics that define humanitarian 
space.” 58 However, accountability has received far too little consideration to 
the degree that one sees it as a vehicle for building the sort of local buy-in 
that ultimately makes these programs self-sustaining and, if successful, be¬ 
stow valuable legitimacy on the HN government. 

Again, the guidance from counterinsurgents, who explicitly seek to 
empower local agents as part of their war-fighting and exit strategies, 
might serve as a model for governmental aid givers in their own aid strate¬ 
gies. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 observes that 

as the HN government increases its legitimacy, the populace begins to assist it more 
actively. Eventually, the people marginalize and stigmatize insurgents [e.g., man-made 
and circumstantial threats to peace, stability and development in the case of aid].. .. 
However, victory is gained not when this isolation is achieved, but when the victory is 
permanently maintained by and with the people’s active support. 59 

To the extent that aid givers’ goals coincide with the counterinsurgents’ on 
these points, these observations on success will serve them in good stead as 
they seek to design more effective stabilization and development programs. 

When developing these programs, both the counterinsurgent and the 
aid giver want to shoot for the moon—to design, in the words of former 
secretary of defense Gates, “exquisite” programs. 60 Although clearly desir¬ 
able, such programs are difficult to see through to success in the face of 
donors’ limited resources. They are harder still for even more resource- 
constrained local governments in desperate need of quick legitimacy-building 


successes. Exquisiteness demands that ever more of the onus be put on 
foreign custodians, forgetting T. E. Lawrence’s advice that it is better that 
the locals “do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly” 

Thus, when designing programs with local input , FM 3-24/MCWP 
3-33.5 notes that custodians “do not try to crack the hardest nut first. . . . 
Instead, start from secure areas and work gradually outwards. Extend influ¬ 
ence through the local people’s networks. Go with, not against, the grain of 
the local populace.” 61 Army units in Iraq during the summer of 2003 had 
significant early successes with their local Iraqi populations, often through 
the simple repair of mechanical wells or irrigation pumps or canal-cleaning 
projects, all of which had suffered through over a decade of sanctions fol¬ 
lowing Operation Desert Storm. Later, efforts during and after the Iraqi 
surge of 2007 were more ambitiously tied to the improved efficiency and 
effectiveness of Iraqi government institutions. For example, during 2007-8, 
local farmers’ co-ops were nested in the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, and 
medical efforts were synchronized with the Ministry of Health and usually 
focused on inoculations. 

Local knowledge is key. If counterinsurgents wish to battle guerilla 
forces effectively, then they must have local knowledge—and of all that 
knowledge to master, intelligence about the people, among whom both the 
insurgent and counterinsurgent must move, remains the most fundamental. 
Indeed, “cultural awareness is a force multiplier.... The people are, in many 
respects, the decisive terrain, and we must study that terrain in the same 
way that we have always studied the geographic terrain.” 62 Further, if the 
aid giver wishes to promote stability safely and successfully or even distribute 
triage humanitarian aid effectively, similar local knowledge is of the highest 
possible importance. 63 With this simple but often overlooked reality in 
mind, FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 maintains that “an effective counterinsur¬ 
gent force is a learning organization.” 64 General Petraeus writes that “my 
own pen and notebook were always handy when soldiering in Iraq.” 65 

The proximate objectives of COIN as well as development and stabili¬ 
zation programs are not the same, but their long-term goals are much in 
parallel. It may thus be instructive for the aid giver to consider FM 3-24/ 
MCWP 3-33.5’s advice to the company commander (the effective equiva¬ 
lent of an NGO/IGO program manager): “Intelligence and operations are 
always complementary, especially in COIN operations. COIN operations 


are intelligence driven, and units often develop much of their own intelligence. 
Commanders must organize their assets to do that. Each company may 
require an intelligence section, including analysts and an individual desig¬ 
nated as the ‘S-2’ [intelligence officer].” 66 

This local area knowledge, essential for both COIN s and aid programs’ 
success, can be as simple as talking with local civilians or as detailed as 
conducting polling efforts in metropolitan areas. In either case, it can facili¬ 
tate early successes/victories for the Soldier or aid giver. For example, expe¬ 
rience from Afghanistan and Iraq has led US COIN forces to seek to avoid 
the trap of dictating civil affairs projects to local groups—a trap that, unfor¬ 
tunately, affects Western militaries and aid workers alike. Coalition COIN 
forces in Iraq found that their greatest successes came only after they sought 
local Iraqis’ perspectives—such as asking them where children went to 
school or what sort of medical care had been available in 2003, before the 
invasion. This intelligence gave counterinsurgents a crucial benchmark to¬ 
ward which they could strive—as well as local insights into expectations 
and how they might best be met. Only after having achieved preconflict 
levels of development and stability did the COIN forces attempt further 
development efforts, in accordance with local Iraqi priorities and in concert 
with the Iraqi ministries’ efforts. 67 

Although the last example comes from the perspective of the counter¬ 
insurgent, the extent to which it applies to the aid giver is clear. Indeed, as 
noted by Oxfam’s Tony Vaux, “one of the main lessons from the 1980s ha[s] 
been that Oxfam’s best emergency work transpired when it acted in a devel¬ 
opmental way, consulting local people and concentrating on the longer- 
term issue of rehabilitation.” 68 

One should also note that although local knowledge is important to the 
individual operator, it is invaluable to the organization and to the projects/ 
operations it runs. Compiling a collective pool of this knowledge is almost 
as essential as its initial collection. Indeed, FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 advises 
that “it is unlikely the insurgency [aid program] will end during a troop’s 
tour ... and the relieving unit will need as much knowledge as can be passed 
to them.” 69 One of the benefits of corporate organizations—whether the 
military, Department of State, IGOs or NGOs—is that they need not limit 
their local knowledge to a particular individual. “Corporate knowledge,” a 


reserve of lessons learned and best practices, is among the benefits of oper¬ 
ating large organizations. 

Although members of the Department of State or NGO project managers 
may have the luxury of longer tour lengths than Soldiers in a COIN theater, 
their terms in-country are similarly time-constrained. Like their COIN 
counterpart, they should realize that the benefits of corporate knowledge 
are neither inevitable nor automatic and that they must begin getting ready 
for their handover from day one. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 advises that 
field units start 

handover folders ... immediately upon arrival, if they are not available from the unit 
being relieved ... [and that these] folders should include lessons learned, details about 
the populace, village and patrol reports, updated maps, and photographs—anything 
that will help newcomers master the environment.... Keeping this information cur¬ 
rent is boring, tedious work. But it is essential to both short- and long-term success. 70 

Strategic communication is key. Ultimately, all aid organizations must 
have access to the resources that allow them to carry out their mandates. 
American governmental organizations like the Department of State and 
USAID must maintain the support of Congress, which controls their purse 
strings. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 points out that “gaining and maintaining 
U.S. public support for a protracted deployment is critical. Only the most 
senior military officers are involved in this process at all ... [because this] is 
properly a political activity. However, military leaders typically take care to 
ensure ... that the conduct of operations neither makes it harder for elected 
leaders to maintain public support nor undermines public confidence.” 71 

Moreover, aid givers must keep the support of their constituent and 
donor countries. NGO fund raising is sometimes controversial; cynics 
often claim that these organizations raise funds on behalf of the needy and 
media-friendly for their own selfish purposes. 72 They too have no option 
other than raising funds aggressively (whether from private parties and 
foundations or, increasingly, governments) in order to continue their work 
abroad. 73 In addition to currying favor with home-country and global 
audiences, however, it is at least as important that aid givers manage their 
message to the recipients of this aid. They must do so to create the buy-in 
necessary for the success of their own programs as well as to enhance the 
legitimacy of their HN and local partners—essential to the long-term 
prospects for stability and development. 


To appeal to these diverse audiences, one must master the information 
environment. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to overcome biases against 
Western intervention (although, clearly, the problems faced by the military 
in this regard are significantly greater than those for civilian NGOs). As 
noted by FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, which relays the experiences of a par¬ 
ticular unit in Iraq, “decades of Arab media mischaracterization of U.S. ac¬ 
tions had instilled distrust of American motives. The magnitude of that 
cynicism and distrust highlighted the critical importance of using informa¬ 
tion operations to influence every situation.” 74 

Just as these informational aspects of humanitarian and development 
assistance as well as stabilization and capacity-building operations must 
draw from and remain sensitive to local communities, so can they shape 
those communities. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 notes that a highly beneficial 
aspect of strategic communications, both for foreign custodians and the 
local government institutions to which they will ultimately have to hand 
off, involves managing expectations: “To limit discontent and build support, 
the HN government and any counterinsurgents assisting it create and 
maintain a realistic set of expectations among the populace, friendly mili¬ 
tary forces, and the international community.” 75 For example, the American 
military’s humanitarian efforts in Iraq in 2003-4 often highlighted the sin¬ 
gular efforts of US units, but any ground-breaking or opening ceremonies 
after 2007 have emphasized the importance and significance of Iraqi leader¬ 
ship and participation, reinforcing the sovereignty of the young government. 

This is not to propose a manipulative or propagandistic campaign on 
behalf of aid givers but to urge that they manage the message for their 
activities. As their interactions and cooperation with state governments 
and even militaries grow, this essential task likely will become increas¬ 
ingly important. 

NGOs in particular have proved (controversially) adept at managing 
their brand and image for the consumption of their donors at home, a les¬ 
son that the US military would do well to learn. Indeed, as noted by one 
observer, “better branding and commercial skill bee[o]me essential for in¬ 
stitutional survival and renewal.... The parameters to brand recognition— 
ethically acceptable partners and practices—are just as crucial for firms such 
as Borders or Apple or Nike” as they are to aid organizations. 76 However, 
strategic communications with the target government, institutions, and 


people must be foremost in mind as this represents both a threat and an 
opportunity for aid givers. Managing expectations, building buy-in by local 
partners and people, and limiting push-back by local and foreign forces that 
might seek to undermine development and stabilization operations make 
this aspect of development assistance and humanitarian relief essential. 
But in the end, actions (aid) speak louder than words or web pages to 
local constituents. 

Realize that, like counterinsurgency, development is for the long 
term. State building is a long-term vocation that can cause at least two sorts 
of problems for the aid giver. Firstly, it means that valuable individual and 
corporate knowledge may be lost due to the passage of time. Additionally, 
valuable forward momentum enjoyed by successful projects may disappear, 
or prospectively successful projects will not live long enough to get a chance 
to get off the ground. 

For these reasons, FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 stresses the importance of 
knowledge diffusion and long-term planning by headquarters echelons. 
Secondly, individuals’ or organizations’ desire to realize “wins” during their 
relatively short term of service in the field on a particular project may over¬ 
shadow longer-term goals sought by the organizations’leaders. This temporal 
mismatch and the lack of persistence that underlies it infect both civilian 
and military stabilization operations. We consider each of these problems 
in turn. 

The emphasis that the military places on passing on and diffusing cor¬ 
porate knowledge is driven, in part, by the high pace at which COIN op¬ 
erators rotate through their area of operations (the average length of a 
combat tour in Iraq was 12-15 months for Army personnel and seven 
months for Marines). In principle, personnel with the Department of State 
and USAID are not limited by fixed rotations and tours, but in practice in 
Iraq and Afghanistan, they have served tours similar in duration to those of 
their Marine and Army counterparts—indeed, “hardship” assignments for 
State employees (e.g., those in unstable countries are limited to about two 
years). NGO personnel, however, can stay as long as necessary. That said, 
given the length of both COIN and state-building operations—many last¬ 
ing decades—even the most persistent humanitarians may lose focus (either 
their own or that of their donors). This is unfortunate because many pro- 


grams may pay off if one manages expectations and makes preparations for 
the long haul. 

FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 again underscores duration and persistence 
operations. Although the manual emphasizes COIN operations, its obser¬ 
vations once again offer great insights for aid-giving operations as well: 

Insurgencies are protracted by nature. Thus, COIN operations always demand consider¬ 
able expenditures of time and resources.... People do not actively support a government 
unless they are convinced that the counterinsurgents have the means, ability, stamina, 

and will to win_U.S. support [and that of other foreign custodians] can be crucial to 

building public faith in that government’s viability. The populace must have confidence 
in the staying power of both the counterinsurgents and the HN government.... Constant 
reaffirmations of commitment, backed by deeds, can overcome ... [suspicion] and bolster 
faith in the steadfastness of U.S. support. But even the strongest U.S. commitment will not 
succeed if the populace does not perceive the HN government as having similar will and 
stamina. U.S. forces must help create that capacity and sustain that impression. 77 

This process, which can take a substantial amount of time, must be planned 
and budgeted at the onset of an operation, rather than after the aid-giving 
agencies’ resources and/or will begins to flag under the unforeseen weight 
of a long and ambitious deployment. 

Operationally, FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5 carries this theme forward as 
it advises detailers and budget planners to prepare 

for a protracted COIN effort [which] requires establishing headquarters and support 
structures designed for long-term operations. Planning and commitments should be 
based on sustainable operating tempo and personnel tempo limits for the various 
components of the force. . . . Even in situations where the U.S. goal is reducing its 
military force levels as quickly as possible, some support for HN institutions usually 
remains for a long time. 78 

These observations on the importance of persistence strongly serve to under¬ 
score that aid givers and international custodians, like their military counter¬ 
parts, must be committed to their respective development and stabilization 
programs for the long term. Although the triage function played by emer¬ 
gency operations does, in some special cases, dictate a certain benign myopia, 
it remains important to recognize that addressing the fundamental political 
problems which create these crises can take a very long time. 

Individual aid-givers’ desire for tangible wins with which to burnish 
their resume; lobby for more and future donations, contracts, and budgets; 
and validate their self-sacrifice can have a deleterious effect on development 
and stabilization projects—particularly those designed to last into the dis- 


tant term. Unfortunately, these organizations and programs are often judged 
by measures of performance such as tons of food delivered, wells dug, refu¬ 
gees housed, and the like—none of which address the less pressing but more 
fundamental problems that are engaged by measures of effectiveness, such as 
those that concern the building of self-sufficiency into recipient populations. 79 


This article does not advocate making aid “go military”—indeed, it 
advocates sharpening one’s plowshares rather than turning them back into 
swords. Aid givers, whether from the nongovernmental, intergovernmental, 
or military services, play a vital role in shaping a more equitable and stable 
world—a role that the force of arms cannot play. That said, as argued above, 
aid givers can learn certain lessons and draw upon a pool of experience from 
those who conduct military actions—especially COIN operations. 

This is particularly true when the lessons concern standing up and 
working with local partners (e.g., capacity building) and when corporate 
knowledge is at a premium. The author hopes that this article is a first step 
in a process toward a useful cross-fertilization of lessons, ideas, and experi¬ 
ences between two groups that rarely speak but that, ironically, increasingly 
face overlapping problems within each of their traditional areas of expertise 
and operations. One hopes that as these groups gain more experience in the 
difficult environments in which they function—and as the two communities 
have more opportunities to work with and talk to one another while they 
are there—there will be more opportunities for an exchange of ideas for best 
practices, useful measures and metrics of success, and effective means by which 
the aid giver and the war fighter can share the burden more efficiently. 


1. On the proliferation of official aid, see Michael Barnett and Jack Snyder, “The Grand Strategies of 
Humanitarianism,” in Flumanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power, Ethics, ed. Michael Barnett and Thomas 
G. Weiss (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 143-71; Michael Barnett, “Humanitarianism Trans¬ 
formed,” Perspectives on Politics, December 2005, 723-40; Peter J. Schraeder, Steven W. Hook, and Bruce 
Taylor, “Clarifying the Foreign Aid Puzzle: A Comparison of American, Japanese, French, and Swedish Aid 
Flows,” World Politics, January 1998,294-323; and David H. Lumsdaine, Moral Vision in International Politics: 
The Foreign Aid Regime, 1949-1989 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993). On the grand strategy 
of American aid, see, for example, US Department of State and the US Agency for International Develop¬ 
ment, Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007—2012 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 7 May 2007), http:// 

SHARPENING OUR PLO WSHARES 45, which seeks to ensure “a more democratic, secure, and 
prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce wide¬ 
spread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system” (9). In terms of intergovernmental orga¬ 
nizations’ commitment to aid, see the mission statement of the United Nations Development Programme, 
which maintains that its broad and ambitious goals encompass “helping countries build and share solutions 
to the challenges of: Poverty Reduction and Achievement of the [Millennium Development Goals], Demo¬ 
cratic Governance, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, [and] Environment and Energy for Sustainable Develop- 
ment.”“A World of Development Experience,’’United Nations Development Programme, accessed 27 November 

2. George W. Bush, “National Security Presidential Directive / NSPD-44: Management of Interagency 
Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization” (Washington, DC: White House, 7 December 2005), See also Department of Defense, Military Support to In¬ 
direct Security and Stability Surge Operations (MISSS): A Study (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 
October 2007), 

3. Robert M. Gates, “A Balanced Strategy: Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Ag e.," Foreign Affairs 
88, no. 1 (January/February 2009): 29-30. 

4. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Foreign Policy Address at the Council on Foreign Relations,” 
Washington, DC, 15 July 2009, 

5. On American military efforts for political and developmental engagement, see Anthony Zinni and 
Tom Clancy, “CENTCOM,” in Tom Clancy with Anthony Zinni and Tony Koltz, Battle Ready (New York: 
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004). See also US Africa Command, United States Africa Command2009 Posture State¬ 
ment (Stuttgart, Germany: US Africa Command Staff and US Africa Command Public Affairs Office, 
March 2009), 4, 

6. Thomas S. Szayna, Derek Eaton, and Amy Richardson, Preparing the Army for Stability Operations: 
Doctrinal and Interagency Issues (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2007), 3ff, 

7. GEN James T. Conway, ADM Gary Roughead, and ADM Thad W. Allen, A Cooperative Strategy for 
21st Century Seapower (Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Office of the Commandant 
of the US Marine Corps, Office of the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, October 2007), 

8. James D. Fearon, “The Rise of Emergency Relief Aid,” in Barnett and Weiss, Humanitarianism in 
Question, 67-68; and William Easterly, “Foreign Aid Goes Military!, "New York Review of Books, 4 December 

9. “Our Mission,” World Vision, accessed 4 December 2009, 

10. Clark C. Gibson et al., 7he Samaritans Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid (London: 
Oxford University Press, 2005); and William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures 
and Misadventures in the Tropics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001). 

11. Within the context of official aid, multilateral aid is considered more effective—and less politicized— 
than bilateral aid; there is still a great deal of uncertainty with respect to the relative effectiveness of NGOs 
against government-to-government aid. On the virtues of multilateral aid, see Lumsdaine, Moral Vision in 
International Politics. 

12. See Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss, “Humanitarianism: A Brief History of the Present,” in 
Barnett and Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question, 1-48. 

13. See, for example, Michael Barnett, Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism (Ithaca, NY: 
Cornell University Press, 2011); and Sarah Kenyon Lischer, “Collateral Damage: Humanitarian Assistance 
as a Cause of Conflict,” International Security 28, no. 1 (Summer 2003): 79-109. 

14. Peter J. Hoffman and Thomas G. Weiss, “Humanitarianism and Practitioners: Social Science Matters,” 
in Barnett and Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question, 285. Although the general argument is true, some pre¬ 
liminary efforts at comprehensive lessons learned have occurred within the aid community, particularly in 


terms of humanitarian security. See, for example, the InterAction-Based Security Advisory Group and the 
Minimum Operating Security Standards protocols promulgated by the United Nations Security Coordinator. 

15. See the United States Institute for Peace, Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction , ed. 
Beth Cole and Emily Hsu (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2009). See also Mary 
B. Anderson, Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace—or War (Boulder, CO: Lynne-Rienner Publishers, 
1999); and Alex de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics & the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa (Oxford, UK, and 
Bloomington, IN: James Currey and Indiana University Press, 1997). 

16. Field Manual (FM) 3-24 / Marine Corps Warfighting Publication (MCWP) 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 
December 2006, 

17. Nicolas de Torrente, “Humanitarian NGOs Must Not Ally with Military,” European Affairs, Spring/ 
Summer 2006, 2; Easterly, “Foreign Aid Goes Military!”; and Hugo Slim, “A Call to Arms: Humanitarian 
Action and the Art of War,” Opinion, February 2004,1-17. 

18. Some argue that the war metaphor is overused to the point that its significance has diminished. It can 
be useful in the ways described here: as a marshaling of resources against a known objective or enemy. For the 
opposed view, however, see Ralph Peters, “Wishful Thinking and Indecisive ^Ntecs’’ Journal of International 
Security Affairs, no. 16 (Spring 2009), 

19. See, for example, Cole and Hsu, Guiding Principles', The Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth 
and Inclusive Development (Washington, DC: World Bank on Behalf of the Commission on Growth and 
Development, 2008); and Conway, Roughead, and Allen, Cooperative Strategy. 

20. Sarah L. Henderson, “Selling Civil Society: Western Aid and the Nongovernmental Organization 
Sector in Russia,” Comparative Political Studies 35, no. 2 (2002): 139-67; Steven Knack, “Aid Dependence 
and Quality of Governance: A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis,” Southern Economic Journal, October 
2001,310-29; Jakob Svensson, “Foreign Aid and Rent Seeking JJournal ofInternational Economics 51 (2000): 
437-61; Craig Burnside and David Dollar, “Aid, the Incentive Regime, and Poverty Reduction,” Policy Re¬ 
search Working Paper no. WPS 1937 (Washington, DC: World Bank, 1998); Tarhan Feyzioglu, Vinaya 
Swaroop, and Min Zhu, “A Panel Data Analysis of the Fungibility of Foreign Aid,” World Bank Economic 
Review 12, no. 1 (1998): 29-58; and Michael Maren, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and 
International Charity (New York: Free Press, 1997). 

21. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) includes the world’s 30 
richest countries, which collectively delivered about $12.5 billion in gross official, government-to-government 
development assistance in 2008. Total gross overseas development assistance (ODA) from all countries 
amounted to just under $120 billion in 2004. Total private aid distributed by NGOs came to about $4 billion 
in 2004, discounting the activities of organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For data 
on the OECD, see Development Co-operation Directorate, Gross Official Development Assistance 2008, ac¬ 
cessed 28 November 2012, For data for ODA and 
private aid, see Fearon, “Rise of Emergency Relief Aid.” On the historical commitment to global wealth 
distribution, see Lumsdaine, Moral Vision in International Politics. For an interesting discussion on the role of 
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in development aid, see Barnett and Weiss, “Humanitarianism: A 
Brief History,” 14. 

22. See, for example, David Dollar and Paul Collier, Allocation and Poverty Reduction (Washington, 
DC: World Bank, 1998); and Peter Boone, Politics and the Effectiveness of Foreign Aid, NBER Working Paper 
no. 5308 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, October 1995), 
/papers/w5308 .pdf ?new_windo w= 1. 

23. David Rieff, A Bedfor the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 102. 

24. Craig Burnside and David Dollar, “Aid, Policies, and Growth,” American Economic Review, September 
2000, 847-68; and Jakob Svensson, “Aid, Growth, and Democracy,” Economics and Politics, November 1999, 
275-97. See, however, Boone, Effectiveness of Foreign Aid', and William Easterly, Ross Levine, and David 
Roodman, “Aid, Policies, and Growth: Comment, "American Economic Review, June 2004, 774-80. 


25. De Waal, Famine Crimes, 11. De Waal differs in his perspective from more mainstream analysts who 
advocate political solutions to aid problems, arguing that “a ‘right’ [not to starve] ... is less real than one that 
is won through popular struggle” (ibid., 44). 

26. For better targeted development aid, see Cole and Hsu, Guiding Principles', and Growth Report. On 
the promise and pitfalls of remote management for humanitarian operations, see Abby Stoddard, Adele 
Harmer, and Katherine Haver, Providing Aid in Insecure Environments: Trends in Policy and Operations, Hu¬ 
manitarian Policy Group Report 23 (London: Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, 

27. See, for example, Sphere Project, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response 
(Geneva, Switzerland: Sphere Project, 2004), 18, 

28. “Selection Indicators,” Millennium Challenge Corporation, accessed 28 November 2012, http:// 

29. Sadako Ogata, The Turbulent Decade: Confronting the Refugee Crises of the 1990s (New York: W. W. 
Norton, 2005), 25. 

30. Alex de Waal admonishes that “the humanitarian international appears to have an extraordinary capacity 
to absorb criticism, not reform itself, and yet emerge strengthened.” De Waal, Famine Crimes, xvi. See also 
Barry Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany between the World Wars (Ithaca, 
NY: Cornell University Press, 1984); Stephen Van Evera, “The Cult of the Offensive and the Origins of the 
First World War,” International Security, Summer 1984, 58-107; and Jack Snyder, “Civil-Military Relations 
and the Cult of the Offensive, 1914 and 1984,” International Security, Summer 1984,108-46. 

31. Nori Katagiri, “Winning Hearts and Minds to Lose Control: Exploring Various Consequences of 
Popular Support in Counterinsurgency Missions,” Small Wars & Insurgencies 22,no. 1 (March 2011): 170-95. 

32. See, for example, Easterly, “Foreign Aid Goes Military!”; Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty (New York: 
Penguin Press, 2005); and de Torrente, “Humanitarian NGOs.” 

33. “MSF in Afghanistan,” Doctors without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres, 2012, http://doctor; and Sarah Kenyon Lischer, “Mili¬ 
tary Intervention and the Humanitarian ‘Force Multiplier,”’ Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism 
and International Organizations 13, no. 1 (January-March 2007): 100. 

34. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-22, A-2. 

35. Overseas Development Institute, quoted in Lischer, “Military Intervention,” 99. 

36. Growth Report, 101. 

37. The principles of humanitarianism, as articulated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 
are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. See Barnett and 
Weiss, “Humanitarianism: A Brief History,” 3. 

38. Stoddard, Harmer, and Haver {Providing Aid in Insecure Environments, llff) show a sharp and secular 
increase in attacks against aid workers with incidents increasing by a factor of 10 from 1997 to 2005. Al¬ 
though on a per capita basis, the increase has been far less severe (as the number of aid personnel in the field 
has also grown significantly during that period), NGO workers and other civilians have borne a larger share 
of these attacks. 

39. On the existential dangers to aid workers in marginal areas of responsibility, see Laura Hammond, 
“The Power of Holding Humanitarianism Hostage and the Myth of Protective Principles,” in Barnett and 
Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question, 172-95. 

40. Lischer, “Military Intervention,” 99. 

41. Barnett and Weiss, “Humanitarianism: A Brief History.” 

42. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, A-7. Further, we urge the interested reader to closely 
read Stoddard, Harmer, and Haver, ProvidingAid in Insecure Environments, for a thoroughgoing review of the 
past and present efforts undertaken by aid givers to see to their own protection in unstable environments as 
well as the compromises and difficulties that these strategies have inevitably entailed. 

43. See de Waal, Famine Crimes. 


44. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-22,1-21. 

45. Ibid., A-8; and Lewis < c>or\ey,A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s 
Last Years in Vietnam (Boston: Mariner Books, 2007). On the dangers of too much aid, see Thomas W. 
Dichter, Despite Good Intentions: Why Development Assistance to the Third World Has Failed (Amherst: University 
of Massachusetts Press, 2003); Maren, Road to Hell, and Bruce Wallace, “The Trouble with Aid,” Macleans, 16 
December 1996,34-37. 

46. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-26,1-28. 

47. Ibid., 1-28. 

48. Ibid., 1-26,1-24. 

49. Lt Gen David H. Petraeus, “Learning Counterinsurgency: Observations from Soldiering in Iraq,” 
Military Review, January-February 2006, 50, 
/MilitaryRe vie w_2006C R103 l_art010. pdf. 

50. See de Waal, Famine Crimes, 4; and Gibson et al., Samaritan’s Dilemma, 14. 

51. Growth Report, 99. 

52. For example, in military-to-military exchanges in US Africa Command’s area of responsibility and in 
successful counterdrug programs, such as Plan Colombia. 

53. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-3. 

54. Gibson et al., Samaritans Dilemma, 4. 

55. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-3. 

56. Ibid. On “spoilers,” see Steven J. Stedman, “Spoiler Problems in the Peace Process,’’International 
Security, Spring 1997, 5-53; and Kelly Greenhill and Solomon Major, “The Perils of Profiling: Civil War 
Spoilers and the Collapse of Intrastate Peace Accords,” International Security, Winter 2006/2007, 7-40. 

57. Janice Gross Stein, “Humanitarian Organizations: Accountable—Why, to Whom, for What, and 
How?,” in Barnett and Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question, 124-42; Sphere Project, The Sphere Project: Hu¬ 
manitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, Growth Report, Devesh Kapur, “The IMF: 
A Cure or a Curse?,” Foreign Policy, Summer 1998,114-29; Zanny Minton-Beddoes, “Why the IMF Needs 
Reform,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 1995, 123-33; Strom C. Thacker, “The High Politics of IMF Lending,” 
World Politics, October 1999, 38-75; and Michael Ziirn, “Global Governance and Legitimacy Problems,” 
Government and Opposition, March 2004, 260-87. Note, however, that even when aid givers seek to make 
their projects more closely related to the concerns of the locals whom they wish to help, in practice their ef¬ 
forts on the ground have fallen short. Barnett and Weiss note that “most relief agencies now sheepishly 
confess that they have largely proceeded without much input from those who are supposed to benefit from 
their concern.” Barnett and Weiss, “Humanitarianism: A Brief History,” 47. 

58. Stein, “Humanitarian Organizations,” 142. 

59. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-23. 

60. Jim Garamone, “Gates Says People Take Top Priority in Budget Decisions,” US Army, 7 April 2009, 

61. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, A-5. As with the Sons of Iraq case mentioned above, 
this might have been a case in which the gamble to work with unofficial partners would have proved worth¬ 
while. Though of equal importance, after 2007 multinational efforts were aggressively pushed through official 
Iraqi government institutions. 

62. Petraeus, “Learning Counterinsurgency,” 51. See also the US Army’s Human Terrain System Project, 
catalyzed by much the same appreciation for the decisive impact of the populace in a COIN environment. 

63. Stoddard et al., Providing Aid in Insecure Environments, 38-39. 

64. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-26. 

65. Petraeus, “Learning Counterinsurgency,” 45. 

66. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, A-2. 

67. These accounts draw extensively on the experience of COL R. J. Lillibridge, who has had experience 
in commanding COIN forces at both the company and battalion levels in the Iraq and Afghan theaters. 


68. Tony Vaux, The Selfish Altruist: Relief Work in Famine and War (London: Earthscan Publications, 
2001), 148. 

69. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, A-8. 

70. Ibid. 

71. Ibid., 1-24. 

72. See, for example, Maren, Road to Hell\ Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Activists beyond Borders: 

Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), 2; Robyn Eversole, 
ed., Here to Help: NGOs Combating Poverty in Latin America ( Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2003); and Graham 
Hancock, Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business (New York: 
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989), 15ff. 

73. Fearon, “Rise of Emergency Relief Aid,’’ 68. Blithe, Major, and Souza note that the goals of self¬ 
funding and altruism are not necessarily at odds, given that no overseas operations would be possible at all 
without first meeting administrative costs. The degree to which administration should claim a share of the 
organization’s budget remains a topic of hot debate, however. See Tim Blithe, Solomon Major, and Andre de 
Mello e Souza, “The Politics of Private Development Aid” (paper presented at the Second Annual Meeting 
of the International Political Economy Society, Stanford, CA, 9 November 2007), 2. 

74. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 4-8. 

75. Ibid., 1-24. 

76. Stephen Hopgood, “Saying ‘No’ to Wal-Mart?,” in Barnett and Weiss, Humanitarianism in Question, 

77. FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, Counterinsurgency, 1-24. 

78. Ibid. 

79. Stein, “Humanitarian Organizations,” 124-42 

Human Security as Analytical 
Contexts of Humanitarian 
Intervention in Application and 

War for Justice, War for State, or War for People 

Yu-tai Ts’ai, PhD* 

Szu-Hsien Lee 

D uring the twentieth century, 35 million people died in all civil 
and international wars, but 150 million were killed by their own 
governments. 1 After 1945, inspired by the tragedy of the Holo¬ 
caust, international society greatly expanded its rules on human 
rights, and the United Nations (UN) codified an increasing number of 
norms on international society However, millions still perished at the hands 
of their own governments, and actions taken to halt atrocities proved incon¬ 
sistent. In fact, in the late twentieth century, the emergence of international 
humanitarian intervention reflected a new value in international society. 
The traditional key criteria—including just cause, right authority, last resort, 
and proportional means—have been challenged by both proponents and 
opponents of intervention. 2 

*Dr. Yu-tai Ts’ai is an associate professor at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs, National 
Chung Cheng University, Taiwan, where he teaches international relations and security studies to graduate 
students. He has published several journal articles and books on human security, security studies, and the 
theory of international relations. His current research focuses on human security, nontraditional security, and 
international law. A Young Fellow at the Office of the President (Taiwan) in 2003 and a project assistant at 
the Office of the President (Taiwan) in 2004-5, Prof. Yu-tai Ts’ai earned his PhD in 2008 from the Depart¬ 
ment of Diplomacy at National Cheng Chi University (Taiwan). In 2010 he received the Study of the United 
States Institutes fellowship on US foreign policy from the US State Department and served as a visiting 
professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Florida. 

Szu-Hsien Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Diplomacy, National Cheng Chi University, 
Taiwan. She has published several journal articles and book reviews on China studies, security studies, and 
the theory of international relations. Her current research addresses Sino-US relations, relations between the 
People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan, and foreign policy of the PRC. 



The North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO) intervention in 
Kosovo in 1999 brought the controversy to its boiling point. 3 Humanitarian 
intervention would not be considered a violation of the principle of noninter¬ 
vention but an act directed towards upholding the nonintervention norm of 
civil society, which protects the freedom of individuals. Indeed, the contem¬ 
porary controversy surrounding humanitarian intervention (i.e., the question 
of when the use of force is right or just) has become one of the more frequent, 
divisive, and heated discussions in international relations. 4 

To address this debate, the report of the International Commission on 
Intervention and State Sovereignty, the latter formed in response to Kofi 
Annans question of when the international community must intervene for 
purposes of human protection, introduced the term responsibility to protect 
(R2P) in December 2001. 5 R2P stresses that states have the primary obliga¬ 
tion to protect their populations. Further, it emphasizes the responsibility of 
the international community to take timely, decisive action to prevent and 
halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity 
when a state manifestly fails to protect its population. 6 Humanitarian inter¬ 
vention as advocated by R2P, however, has rightly threatened the traditional 
rights of sovereigns. A conflict exists between R2P and other norms in the 
institution of sovereignty, such as noninterference and sovereign equality. 7 

Therefore, this article discusses the normative status of the concept of 
human security in international law, examining R2P against the backdrop 
of a wider discourse about the transformation of sovereignty, norms, and 
the legality of using force. It explains that R2P has become an accepted 
norm constitutive of the institution of sovereignty. To demonstrate the 
justifiability of regarding R2P as an emerging norm of international law, 
the article also examines whether one can regard the concept of human 
security as analytical contexts of humanitarian intervention in application 
and practice: war for justice, war for state, or war for people. 

Human Security and International Law 

The end of the Cold War and the accelerating pace of globalization 
have given rise to fundamental changes in many of the paradigms employed 
in the social sciences. Among the various new ideas that have emerged, 
human security has become something of a buzzword. 8 In the mid-1990s, 
the concept of human security began to visibly influence and challenge 


global politics, institutions, and governance. 9 Security threats and the security 
environment in this post-Cold War period of globalization and technological 
advance have clearly changed. 10 

Obviously, the current approach is quite flawed, reflecting the inade¬ 
quacy of traditional research tools employed in the field of international 
relations in the post-Cold War era. The belief that power remains the sole 
determinant of national interests, preferences, and actions is no longer a 
tenable approach to international politics. 11 Therefore, unlike current poli¬ 
cies that emphasize the means of control, the human security approach 
concentrates on the safety and protection of individuals and communities, 
in addition to the traditional security concerns of the state. A comprehen¬ 
sive human security strategy would have to address competition over natural 
resources and improve the capacity of communities and governments to 
address the root causes of poverty and economic disparity by investing in 
education, health care, and basic infrastructure. 12 In other words, rather 
than a top-down approach, a bottom-up type of security becomes necessary— 
that is, only by ensuring the security of the individual can the state guarantee its 
own security. 

As a matter of fact, in 1994 the United Nations Development Pro¬ 
gramme’s Human Development Report presented a new way of thinking 
about the integration of security issues and globalization, defining human 
security according to seven dimensions: personal, environmental, economic, 
political, community, health, and food. 13 Moreover, it adopted a “people¬ 
centric” security concept as its focus instead of the traditional state-centered 
concept. 14 This new emphasis on human security supplements the traditional 
notion of security and represents the emergence of a new paradigm. Human 
security accentuates the individuals rights and interests, often ignored by the 
international community. Real security entails the protection of individuals 
from such threats as disease, hunger, unemployment, political oppression, 
and environmental degradation. 15 As a multilevel, wide-ranging concept, it 
includes both the traditional and nontraditional elements of security, not 
only serving as a blueprint for solving human problems but also offering 
solutions that midlevel powers can put into practice. 16 Moreover, human 
security has been used to define a foreign policy agenda promoted by Japan 
as freedom from want and by Canada, Norway, and members of the Human 
Security Network as freedom from fear. 17 Annan has pointed out the three 


pillars of this wider concept of human security: freedom from want, free¬ 
dom from fear, and freedom to live in dignity. 18 

The value of human security was adopted by the International Com¬ 
mission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, whose report noted the 
context of this concept in international relations and international law. 19 
The commission’s position on human security became part of the founda¬ 
tion of R2P and the new framework for debates on humanitarian inter¬ 
vention. 20 Even though humanitarian intervention prompts much debate, 
international law plays an important and beneficial role as a means of 
human security. 21 One way of approaching the relationship between human 
security and international law involves examining the use of law as an 
instrument to further this agenda—establishment of the International 
Criminal Court, for example. Others can be discerned in several areas of 
international law—most obviously refugee law, humanitarian law, and 
human rights. 22 

In terms of human security, the individual has gained greater promi¬ 
nence within the field of international law since the 1990s. Now encounter¬ 
ing challenges, the traditional state-centered model of international law is 
giving way to a more people-centered orientation. In traditional studies, 
international law has primarily concerned itself with regulating relation¬ 
ships among states and their rights and duties, seemingly to the exclusion 
of the individual. 23 Only states (and possibly international organizations) 
are subjects of the law. 24 Therefore, the individual is an “object,” not a “sub¬ 
ject.” International law operates on the individual indirectly, through the 
state, which has international responsibility. Thus, any rights granted by or 
obligations imposed by international law proceed through exercise of a 
right held by the state of which the individual is a national. 25 

With the end of the Cold War, though, international society recognized 
that the individual should be adopted as a juristic entity. In the absence of 
citizenship, the individual has no legal significance in the international 
arena. For instance, both the Permanent Court of Justice and the Inter¬ 
national Court of Justice have adopted this position. 26 Obviously, the 
cases of humanitarian intervention promote a direct link between indi¬ 
viduals and international law. 27 This article argues that although the 
neorealist/statist view of security insists that “the idea of security is easier 
to apply to things than to people,” ultimately the key argument holds that 


state security is for individual security. 28 In the conception of human 
security, the primary referent of security is the individual. 29 Similarly, 
international law reflects acknowledgement of the worth of a person as 
the essence of all law. 30 

Although it seems that human security reflects the conflict between 
state sovereignty and the principle of nonintervention, one can best ap¬ 
proach it as analytical contexts of humanitarian intervention in application 
and in practice. Further, it provides us with a coherent framework to rethink 
the impasse of the current state-centric strategies for preventive conflict 
through its relevance to people, the state, and war. 

The Evolution of Humanitarian Intervention 

Since the sixteenth century, the international community has generally 
practiced humanitarian intervention. In the first half of the twentieth cen¬ 
tury, human rights and state sovereignty collided, the latter usually winning 
the confrontation. After the Cold War, however, a number of humanitarian 
interventions occurred, including the war in Kosovo, ostensibly fought for 
humanitarian reasons. Evidently, the contest between individual rights and 
state sovereignty seems poised to take a new form. 31 UN peacekeeping op¬ 
erations have since occurred in such diverse places as Afghanistan, East 
Timor, the former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Rwanda, and Somalia. On the one 
hand, proponents of humanitarian intervention suggest that a new norm of 
humanitatiran intervention is evolving, sometimes attributed to a change in 
the general consciousness of individuals. On the other hand, opponents and 
critics argue that humanitarian intervention is subject to political manipu¬ 
lation and that the use of force is always a poor way of promoting long- 
lasting peace and justice. They assert that states must avoid overintervention 
with the use of force against the territorial integrity or political indepen¬ 
dence of any state. 32 

Over the past three centuries, these norms have become clearer and 
have generated discussion in two areas of international law: a general and 
consistent practice of states and states of similar international acts over 
time. Table 1 depicts the evolution of humanitarian intervention. 


Table 1. Key concepts in the evolution of humanitarian intervention 

Evolution of 

Just War 

War for State 



War for People 


















Call for/Fight for 


National Interests 


Responsibility to 
Prevent/React/ Re¬ 

Core Values 



Human Rights 

Human Security 


Justice Punishing/ 
Prevention of 

Balance of Power 




Against Genocide 
and Ethnic 






Collective Security 

Human Security 

Way to Intervene 


Depend on Powers 

Authorizing All 
Necessary Means 
to Protect Civilians 
and Civilian- 
Populated Areas 


Referent Objects 

Catholic Security 

National Security 

People's Security 

Human Security 

Right to 




In the Name of the 

Depend on Powers 

Authorization from 
the Security Council 

Authorization from 
the Security Council 

Source of 
Normative Power 

Moral Constraints 




International Legal 



Greek War of 



Northern Iraq 
Operation (1991), 
Somalia Operation 

NATO Air Strikes 
against Yugoslavia 
(1999), Libya 
Operation (2011) 

Humanitarian Intervention-War for Justice 

One can trace the source of humanitarian intervention to the work of the 
Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero (106-43 BC), who offered the 
theory of just war, affirming that government is ordained by God to preserve 
peace and maintain justice. 33 He, along with philosophers Saint Augustine, 
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Franciscus de Victoria, and Hugo Grotius, insisted 
that the just war tradition represented a moral and just instrument consisting 


of two categories of criteria: jus ad helium and jus in bello? A Humanitarian 
intervention serves as a way to prevent atrocities and punish unjust states. 
Collective action is the most important feature of the traditional just war. 35 
Only recognized public authorities have the right to authorize the use of 
force. 36 Natural law and Catholic thought have strongly influenced the tradi¬ 
tion, which describes the collected consensus of Western Christian culture on 
natural rights empowered in the name of the Lord/ 7 

After the holy wars of the seventeenth century (1618-48), Grotius— 
often referred to as the father of international law—sought to establish 
secular natural law as a basis for the medieval codes of chivalry. He incor¬ 
porated jus in hello restrictions into just war criteria, believing that natural 
law undergirded the law of a nation. 38 With the development of the modern 
state system (1648), the nature of just war embedded a definite state bias, 
and national interest became increasingly prominent in the concept of justice. 39 

Humanitarian Intervention-War for State 

John Mearsheimer argues that states do not act in accordance with moral 
concerns, such as humanitarian violations abroad, and that inter¬ 
national institutions do not exert significant influence on state behavior. 40 
In other words, states emphasize the influence of the international system 
rather than human nature, claiming that this compels states to adopt a selfish 
attitude which curtails altruistic action, such as humanitarian interven¬ 
tion. 41 Hence, Hans Morgenthau asserts that one cannot apply universal 
moral principles to the actions of states because humanitarian operations 
taken to halt or prevent violations against humans will create difficulties 
with a state’s pursuit of national interests 42 

Obviously, it follows that a state has the authority to wage war only in 
pursuit of those interests. Former US secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger 
stresses that interests, not ethics, should serve as the key motivation behind 
Western intervention. 43 The cardinal tenets of US force employment are 
the existence of specific national interests and Cori E. Dauber’s so-called 
threshold test of vital interest or zero casualties. 44 Citizens usually expect 
their state to act in the national interest and are reluctant to accept military 
casualties when national interests are not involved. 45 


Humanitarian Intervention-War for People 

Of the 111 conflicts that occurred between the end of the Cold War and 
the beginning of the twenty-first century, 104 were intrastate wars (95 
purely civil wars and nine with foreign intervention); they involved more 
than 80 states and 200 nongovernmental organizations, as well as two re¬ 
gional organizations. 46 Martha Finnemore insists that since the end of the 
Cold War, states have felt pressure to intervene and protect their citizens 
rather than their own interests. Humanitarian action could take place for a 
variety of reasons. Compared to traditional just war, intervention could be 
considered a moral factor, but with the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth 
century and decolonization in the twentieth century, a new set of norms— 
“humanism”—emerged as a universal value. 47 

The end of the twentieth century marked a shift in the nature of con¬ 
flict. Large interstate wars were replaced by internal conflicts that produced 
huge civilian casualties. For example, the genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia, and 
Cambodia demonstrated colossal failures by the international community 
to prevent mass atrocities. Thus, near the end of the 1990s, one perceived a 
recognizable need to shift the debate to crisis prevention and response: the 
security of the community and the individual, not just the state, must be¬ 
come a priority for national and international policies. 48 

Case study of war for people: NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia 
( 1999 ). The most controversial intervention to date involved NATO air 
strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999. 49 UN Security Council Resolution 1160, 
adopted on 31 March 1998 in reference to Kosovo and acting under chapter 
7 of the UN Charter, imposed an arms embargo on the Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia (FRY). The Security Council deplored the violence that the 
Serbian police force used against peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo as well 
as terrorist acts of the Kosovo Liberation Army. 50 Six months later, Security 
Council Resolution 1199, adopted on 23 September 1998 after the recall of 
Resolution 1160, demanded that the Kosovar and Yugoslav parties end 
hostilities in Kosovo and observe a cease-fire. In the meantime, the Security 
Council decided that, should the parties not comply with the concrete measures 
demanded by this resolution and its predecessor, it would consider further 
action and additional measures to maintain or restore peace and stability in 
the region. Additionally, Security Council Resolution 1203, adopted on 24 
October 1998 after the recall of resolutions 1160 and 1199, demanded that 


the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) comply with previous resolutions and 
cooperate with NATO’s and the Organization for Security and Co-operation 
in Europe’s verification missions in Kosovo. Resolution 1203—affirming 
the possibility of taking action in the event of an emergency to ensure safety 
and freedom of movement—passed by a margin of 13 to one. 51 China and 
Russia abstained, neither of them favoring the use of force. China also opposed 
a resolution that would pressure the internal affairs of the FRY, and Russia 
noted that the resolution had not taken into account favorable develop¬ 
ments in Belgrade. 

Afterward, the United States, Canada, and France stressed that the 
FRY was in violation of legal obligations imposed by Resolutions 1199 and 
1203. From 24 March to 10 June 1999, NATO attacked Yugoslavia. In the 
interim action, at the 3,989th meeting of the Security Council on 26 March 
1999, the Russian Federation submitted a draft resolution, demanding that 
the council reject any insistence on the immediate cessation of the use of 
force against the FRY and called for the urgent resumption of negotiations. 
Rather than adopt this draft resolution, the Security Council passed Resolu¬ 
tion 1244 on 10 June 1999, after recalling resolutions 1160,1199,1203, and 
1239. In other words, the council authorized an international civil and 
military presence in Kosovo (then part of the FRY) and established the UN 
Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. 52 

Significantly, NATO’s use of force against Yugoslavia in March 1999 
marked the first time since the founding of the UN that a group of states 
had explicitly justified bombing another state in the name of protecting a 
minority within that state (table 2). Moreover, the action lacked explicit 
authorization from the Security Council and was condemned by some 
council members as a legislative flaw and flagrant breach of international 
law. 53 However, at that time, other members such as Malaysia and Bahrain 
publicly supported NATO’s intervention. Evidently, NATO used the terms 
morality and genocide to justify an illegal initiative because the illegal act 
produced results more in keeping with the intent of the law and morality 
than no action at all. 54 This view opens up the possibility that action might 
be warranted but illegal, a position that has been directly invoked to describe 
NATO’s action in Kosovo. 55 With regard to the case of Kosovo, Bruno 
Simma observes that 


“humanitarian interventions” involving the threat or use of armed force and undertaken 
without the mandate of the authorization of the Security Council will, as a matter of principle, 
remain in breach of international law. But such a general statement cannot be the last word. 
Rather, in any instance of humanitarian intervention a careful assessment will have to be 
made of how heavily such illegality weighs against all the circumstances of a particular 
concrete case, and of the efforts, if any, undertaken by the parties involved to get “as close to 
the law” as possible. Such analyses will influence not only the moral but also the legal judg¬ 
ment in such cases . 56 

Table 2. A new norm of intervention authorized by the Security Council in the 1990s 


NATO Air Strikes against Yugoslavia (1999) 

UN Security Council Resolution 

Resolution 1244 adopted on 10 June 1999 after recalling Resolutions 
1160, 1199, 1203, and 1239. NATO used Resolution 1199 to advance 
its internal planning for air strikes. 

Debate of the Security Council 

The United States, Canada, and France stressed that the FRY was in 
violation of legal obligations imposed by Resolutions 1199 and 1203. 


The council did not adopt Russia’s draft resolution to end the use 
of force against the FRY. 

Significance for New Norm 

The first time since the founding of the UN that a group of states 
explicitly justified bombing another state in the name of protecting a 
minority within that state. 

Significance for Humanitarianism 

The Kosovo event proves that if a country cannot make an effective 
defense for its ill behavior—which will lessen its international legiti¬ 
macy, even in light of the principle of sovereignty—the international 
community will find it difficult to avoid intervention. 

With respect to NATO’s intervention in Kosovo, Simma argues that 
the alliance made every effort to remain “close to the law” by scrupulously 
following and linking its efforts to the resolutions of the Security Council 
and by stating that the action taken was an urgent measure to prevent a 
larger humanitarian crisis. 57 Therefore, humanitarian intervention was neither 
a customary law nor legal norm at the time of NATO’s intervention in 
Kosovo. Yet, the significant international support afforded to NATO in 
1999 suggests that the operation was “a potential harbinger of future legality” 
or that “norms had clearly changed.” 58 

Case study ofwar for people: Libya operation (2011). Recent practice 
reflects the international community’s success in preventing atrocities by 
advocating R2P (table 3). On 26 February 2011, the Security Council put 
its overwhelming power behind protecting the Libyan people from the 
murderous regime of Muammar Gadhafi. Resolution 1970, adopted by a 
15-0 vote, condemned the use of force against civilians; deplored the gross, 


Table 3. A new norm of intervention authorized by the Security Council in 2011 


Libya Operation (2011) 

Libya Operation (2011) 

UN Security 

Council Resolution 

Resolution 1970, 26 February 

Resolution 1973, 17 March 2011 


The Security Council empha¬ 
sized the Libyan authorities' 
responsibility to protect its pop¬ 

The Security Council authorized member states 
to take all necessary measures, notwithstand¬ 
ing paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970, to protect 
civilians under threat of attack in Libya. 

Significance for 

New Norm 

The first time that the Security 
Council used the term R2P to 
intervene by changing the lan¬ 
guage of intervention from right 

The first time that the Security Council autho¬ 
rized member states to take all necessary 
measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of 
Resolution 1970, to protect civilians under 
threat of attack in Libya. 

Significance for 

Again, the Libya event proves 
that if a country cannot make 
an effective defense for its ill 
behavior—which will lessen its 
international legitimacy, even in 
light of the principle of sover¬ 
eignty—the international com¬ 
munity will find it difficult to 
avoid intervention 

A new interpretation for the relevance of sov¬ 
ereignty and human rights 

systematic violations of human rights; and expressed deep concern at the 
deaths of civilians and the incitement to hostility by the Libyan govern¬ 
ment. 59 Thus, for the first time the Security Council used the term R2P to 
intervene by changing the language of intervention from right authority. 60 
On 17 March 2011, the council adopted a new resolution—1973—this 
time with a 10-0 vote and abstentions by Brazil, China, Germany, India, 
and the Russian Federation, authorizing member states to take all necessary 
measures (notwithstanding paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970) to protect 
civilians under threat of attack in Libya. 61 This vote proved much more 
problematic because the abstentions included two permanent council 
members and three strong candidates for permanent membership. Again, 
however, the Libya event reflects a new norm: a country’s failure to make an 
effective defense for its ill behavior will lessen that nation’s international 
legitimacy, even in light of the principle of sovereignty. 62 


Thus, we see that states do not have an unqualified right to noninter¬ 
vention by other states; rather, the right is conditioned by the state’s meet¬ 
ing its own responsibility to protect its citizens. Failure to do so opens states 


to the possibility of intervention; therefore, sovereignty is contingent upon 
the promotion and protection of human rights and can be suspended. 63 
R2P reveals that matters of human rights in the UN system have usually 
been regarded as the concern of the UN Economic and Social Council, 
specialized agencies, and subsidiary organs such as the Human Rights 
Commission. The UN Charter affirms a principle of noninterference in the 
domestic affairs of a sovereign state; it also offers international cooperation 
in promoting human rights. 64 But the charter offers no guidance regarding 
when sovereignty must yield to protection against violations, genocide, ethnic 
cleansing, and massive abuses of human rights. However, current practice re¬ 
garding R2P suggests that the Security Council has begun to play an important 
role in issues dealing with the international protection of human rights. 65 

Considered a “bottom up” approach, human security is more applicable 
to the security problems we face today. 66 It has become a well-used tool in 
policy documentation and papers referring to the commitment of govern¬ 
ments and organizations to conflict zones and developing countries. 67 
Consequently, our central claim runs contrary to the stereotype of human 
security’s application and practice. This article has briefly charted the evolu¬ 
tion of humanitarian intervention from the causes of war: just war, war for 
state, and war for people. It shows that although the state remains the fun¬ 
damental purveyor of security, it still fails to fulfill its security obligations— 
and that is why the international community must shift the referent of 
security from the state to the individual (human security). 68 Therefore, we 
can regard the Kosovo and Libya interventions as cases of human security 
winning out over sovereignty and traditional security. The article has also 
hinted at a normative change that recognizes human beings as subjects of 
international law. Further, it suggests that international relations, in some 
measure, were a response to the changing quality of threats to individual 
human beings and to the evolving quality of the relationship between the 
state and the individual. 69 


1. Catherine Lu, Just and Unjust Interventions in World Politics: Public and Private (Basingstoke, 
England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 54. 

2. Mervyn Frost, “The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention: Protecting Civilians to Make 
Democratic Citizenship Possible,”in Ethics and Foreign Policy, ed. Karen E. Smith and Margot Light 


(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 51; and Aidan Hehir, Humanitaria?i Interven¬ 
tion: An Introduction (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 110—11. 

3. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention, 1. 

4. S. Neil MacFarlane and Yuen Foong Khong, Human Security and the UN: A Critical History 
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 165-68; and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “The Emergence of Human 
Security: A Constructivist View,” International Journal of Peace Studies 14, no. 2 (Autumn/Winter 
2009): 15, http ://www.gmu .edu/programs/icar/ij ps/voll 4_2/TS AI%20-%2014n2%20IJP S.pdf. 

5. Kofi Annan, “Two Concepts of Sovereignty,” Eco?iomist 352, no. 8137 (1999): 49. One can 
trace the development of the notion back to the Genocide Convention of 1948. In that same year, 
the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the 
Crime of Genocide. For more detailed information, see Luke Glanville, “The International Com¬ 
munity’s Responsibility to Protect,” Global Responsibility to Protect 2, no. 3 (June 2010): 287-306. 

6. For a more extended discussion, see the International Coalition for the Responsibility to 
Protect,, or the R2P Coalition,, com_frontpage/Itemid. 

7. Alex Chiang and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “A New Interpretation for the Relevance of Sovereignty and 
Human Rights: The Case of Responsibility to Protect,” TamkangJournal of InternationalAff,airs 15, 
no. 3 (2012): 42-43; and Glanville, “Responsibility to Protect,”287-306. 

8. Yu-tai Ts’ai, “Emergence of Human Security,” 19-33. 

9. Gerd Oberleitner, “Human Security: A Challenge to International Law?,” Global Governance 
11, no. 2 (2005): 186, 

10. Sabina Alkir e,A Conceptual Frameworkfor Human Security, Working Paper 2 (Oxford, UK: 
Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, Queen Elizabeth House, Uni¬ 
versity of Oxford, 2003), 10, 

11. Yu-tai Ts’ai, “Emergence of Human Security,” 19-33. 

12. For more information, see 3P Human Security, “Policy Brief: Defining Human Security” (Wash¬ 
ington, DC: 3P Human Security, 2011), 

13. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1994 (Oxford, UK: 
Oxford University Press, 1994), 24-25, 

14. Ibid., 24-33. 

15. See notes 7 and 8. 

16. Roland Paris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?,” International Security 26, no. 
2 (Fall 2001): 88, 

17. The Human Security Network is a group of like-minded countries from all regions of the 
world that, at the level of foreign ministers, maintains a dialogue on questions pertaining to human 
security. It was founded in 1999 on the initiative of Canada and Norway. Members of the network 
include Austria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, Norway, 
Switzerland, Slovenia, and Thailand, with South Africa as an observer. See Hideaki Shinoda, “Hu¬ 
man Security Initiatives of Japan,” in Facing Global Environmental Change: Environmental, Human, 
Energy, Food, Health and Water Security Concepts, ed. Oswald Spring et al. (New York: Springer- 
Verlag, 2007); and Jurgen Dedring, “Human Security and the UN Security Council,” in Globaliza¬ 
tion and Environmental Challenges: Reconceptualizing Security in the 21st Century, ed. Oswald Spring 
et al. (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2008), 605-20. 


18. Kofi Annan, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All 
(New York: United Nations, 2005), 5-6, 

19. Barbara von Tigerstrom, Human Security and International Law (Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 
2007), 23. 

20. Ibid., 97; and International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsi¬ 
bility to Protect (Ottawa: International Development Research Center of the International Commission 
on Intervention and State Sovereignty, December 2001), 12-15, 

21. Von Tigerstrom, Human Security and International Law, 59. 

22. Ibid., 60-65. 

23. Chiang and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “New Interpretation,” 61-62. 

24. P. O’Connell, International Law (London: Stevens, 1970), 106-7; and Malcolm N. Shaw, 
International Law (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 222. 

25. Julie Cassidy, “Emergence of the Individual as an International Juristic Entity: Enforce¬ 
ment of International Human Rights Deakin Law Review 9, no. 2 (2004): 539-40; and Chiang 
and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “New Interpretation,” 62. 

26. Some conventions regard the individual as a subject of international law: American Declara¬ 
tion of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948), Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and 
Fundamental Freedoms (1950), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimi¬ 
nation (1963), American Convention on Human Rights (1969), Convention on the Elimination of 
All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), African Charter on Human and People’s 
Rights (1981), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment (1984), and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). 

27. One can regard the Kosovo intervention as a case of human security winning out over sovereignty. 

28. Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the 
Post—Cold War Era (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1991), 35. 

29. Kanti Bajpai, Human Security: Concept and Measurement, Kroc Institute Occasional Paper, 
no. 9 (South Bend, IN: Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, 2000), 37. 

30. H. J. Steiner and P. Alston, International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals (Ox¬ 
ford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000), 147-48. 

31. Chris Brown, Sovereignty, Rights, and Justice: International Political Theory Today (Cambridge, 
UK: Polity Press, 2002), 135. 

32. For more information, see Robert F. Gorman, “Introduction: Refugee Aid and Development in 
a Global Context,” in Refugee Aid and Development: Theory and Practice, ed. Robert F. Gorman (West- 
port, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993), 1-11; Peter Macalister-Smith, International Humanitarian Assis¬ 
tance: Disaster Relief Actions in International Law and Organization (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus 
Nijoft, 1985), 15—18; John Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy: Humanitarian Aid and Conflict in Africa 
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1996), 4—5; John J. Merriam, “Kosovo and the Law of Humanitarian 
Intervention,” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 33, no. 1 (2001): 111-54; and Steve G. 
Simon, “The Contemporary Legality of Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention,” California Western 
International Law Journal2A (1993): 117—53. 

33. Paul Christopher, The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction to Legal and Moral Issues, 2nd 
ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 1999), 37. 


34. V irgil Hawkins, The Silence of the UN Security Council: Conflict and Peace Enforcement in the 
1990s (Firenze, Italy: European Press Academic Publishing, 2004), 98-99. Jus ad helium pertains 
to governing the resort to force and jus in hello has to do with governing conduct during war. 

35. Joseph Boyle, “Traditional Just War Theory and Humanitarian Intervention,” in Humani¬ 
tarian Intervention , ed. Terry Nardin and Melissa S. Williams (New York: New York University 
Press, 2006), 31-38. 

36. Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (New 
York: Basic Books, 1977), 90-100. 

37. Anthony Coates, “Humanitarian Intervention: A Conflict of Traditions,” in Nardin and 
Williams, Humanitarian Intervention , 62—71. 

38. Grotius’s criteria for a just war were self-defense, the punishment of wrongdoers, the en¬ 
forcement of legal rights, reparation of injuries, and situations without any possibility of valid arbi¬ 
tration. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention , 31. See also Eileen P. Flynn, How Just Is the War on 
Terror? A Question of Morality (New York: Paulist Press, 2007), 12; and Larry May, Eric Rovie, and 
Steve Vine, eds., The Morality of War (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005), 77. 

39. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention , 31—32; and M. Evans, Just War Theory: A Reappraisal 
(Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 4. 

40. JohnJ. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Secu¬ 
rity 19, no. 3 (1994/1995): 5-49. 

41. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention , 61. 

42. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 6th ed. (New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1985), 9. 

43. Nicholas J. Wheeler, “Introduction: The Political and Moral Limits of Western Military 
Intervention to Protect Civilians in Danger,” in Dimensions of Western Military Intervention, ed. 
Colin Mclnnes and Nicholas J. Wheeler (London: Frank Cass, 2002), 10. 

44. Ibid., 11. 

45. For example, regarding the US intervention in Somalia in 1992, people have demonstrated a 
pronounced unwillingness to accept a military operation when national interests are not involved. 
David Hendrickson, “In Defense of Realism: A Commentary on Just and Unjust Wars,” Ethics and 
International Affairs 11 (1997): 19—55. 

46. Joseph S. Nye, Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History 
(New York: Longman, 2007), 157-58. 

47. Martha Finnemore, “Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention,” in The Culture of 
National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, ed. Peter Katzenstein (New York: Columbia 
University Press), 153-85. 

48. “An Introduction to the Responsibility to Protect,”International Coalition for the Respon¬ 
sibility to Protect, accessed 7 January 2013, 

49. Chiang and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “New Interpretation,” 49. 

50. See Security Council Resolution 1160. 

51. See Security Council Resolution 1203, par. 9. 

52. See Security Council Resolution 1244. 

53. Nicholas J. Wheeler, “The Humanitarian Responsibilities of Sovereignty: Explaining the 
Development of a New Norm of Military Intervention for Humanitarian Purposes in Inter- 


national Society,” in Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations , ed. Jennifer M. Welsh 
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003), 41-45. 

54. Jun Matsukuma, “Emerging Norms of the Responsibility to Protect,” Seinan Law Review 
38, no. 2 (2005): 106-18, 
.pdf; and Thomas M. Franck, “Interpretation and Change in the Law of Humanitarian Interven¬ 
tion,” in Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas, ed. J. L. Holzgrefe and 
Robert O. Keohane (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 226. 

55. Wheeler, “Humanitarian Responsibilities of Sovereignty,” 41-47. 

56. Bruno Simma, “NATO, the UN and the Use of Force: Legal Aspects,” European Journal of 
International Law 10, no. 1 (1999): 6, http://ejil.oxfordjournals.Org/content/10/l/l.full.pdf. 

57. Ibid. See also A. P. V. Rogers, “Humanitarian Intervention and International Law,” Har¬ 
vard Journal of Law and Public Policy 27 (2004): 725—36. 

58. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention, 93; N. Rodley and B. Cah, “Kosovo Revisited: Humani¬ 
tarian Intervention on the Fault Lines of International Law,” Human Rights Law Review 7, no. 2 
(2007): 278; and Nicholas J. Wheeler, Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in Inter¬ 
national Society (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000), 286. 

59. See Security Council Resolution 1970. 

60. Chiang and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “New Interpretation,” 59. 

61. These measures include demanding an immediate cease-fire, ending violence and all attacks, 
creating a no-fly zone over Libya, authorizing all necessary means to protect civilians and civilian- 
populated areas, strengthening the arms embargo, imposing a freeze on assets owned by the Libyan 
authorities, and establishing a panel of experts to monitor and promote the implementation of sanc¬ 
tions. See Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. 

62. Chiang and Yu-tai Ts’ai, “New Interpretation,” 58-59. 

63. Aidan Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention after Kosovo: Iraq, Darfur and the Record of Global 
Civil Society (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 48-52. 

64. See Charter of the United Nations, art. 2.7, preamble. 

65. Matsukuma, “Emerging Norms,” 106-18. 

66. This so-called bottom up (“people-centric”) approach implies a redirection of traditional secu¬ 
rity policies. Monica den Boer and Jaap de Wilde, eds., The Viability of Human Security (Amsterdam: 
Amsterdam University Press, 2008), 11. 

67. Oliver P. Richmond, “Western Intellectual Roots of Human Security,” in Huma?i Security 
in East Asia, ed. Sorpong Peou (London: Routledge, 2009), 39. 

68. Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now (New York: Commission on Human 
Security, 2003), 2, 

69. Yu-tai Ts’ai, “The Study of Diffusion and Practice of International Norms through the ‘Human 
Security’: The Case of‘Responsibility to Protect,’ ” Asiaji Social Science 6, no. 2 (February 2010): 18, 

The Tuareg Revolt and the Mali Coup 

Lt Col Rudolph Atallah, USAF, Retired* 

Contextualizing the Current Tuareg Uprising 

T he latest (2012) Tuareg uprising is not new. One should consider 
this conflagration a continuation of a half century of conflict-promoting 
dynamics that, historically, have sullied relations between Tuaregs 
and various states which attempted to subjugate or delimit their 
social, political, and economic practices. Understanding the current rebellion 
necessitates coming to terms with this history, which started long before Mali’s 
independence in 1960. 

The following testimony—a snapshot of a rapidly evolving and complex 
problem set—provides this historical context while shedding light on con¬ 
temporary Tuareg social, political, and economic dynamics that critically affect 
security in the Saharan and Sahelian regions of Africa. Of particular interest 
to US policy making is the complicated relationship between the Tuaregs and 
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda’s North African 
affiliate—a relationship driven by a convergence of interests, not ideology. In 
the end, it will become evident that those seeking to promote stability in the 
region and confront violent extremism, including AQIM, should not ignore the 
Tuaregs, who play an integral role in regional security and economic growth. 

"This article is based on the author’s congressional testimony in 2012 (see House, Prepared Statement of 
LtCol (ret) Rudolph Atallah, Senior Fellow, Michael S. Ansari Center, Atlantic Council, and Chief Executive 
Officer, White Mountain Research LLC, before the United State House of Representatives Committee on Foreign 
Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Huma7i Rights on “The Tuareg Revolt and the Mali Coup, ” 
Friday, June 29, 2012, 12th Cong., 2nd sess., 
-WState-AtallahR-20120629.pdf). Between 2001 and 2003, the author spent extensive time with the 
Tuaregs in northern Mali, especially in Kidal, Tessalit, Timbuktu, Gao, and several other locations across 
the Sahara. During this period, the first kidnapping of European tourists by an extremist named Abdel 
Rezak A1 Para took place, and in Kidal, Pakistani activists—allegedly from Jamaat al Tabligh—attempted 
to recruit young Tuaregs for activities abroad, possibly including militancy. A native Arabic speaker, the 
author had several opportunities to interview Tuareg leaders and local imams about these issues and their 
perspectives on the attacks of 11 September 2001, terrorism, and tribal beliefs. Subsequent work in the 
region through the author’s company, White Mountain Research, afforded him many contemporary in¬ 
sights into the rapidly evolving security dynamics in this region. 



The Tuaregs and Decolonization 

The Tuaregs, a seminomadic people who live in the Saharan and Sahelian 
regions of southern Algeria, western Libya, northern Mali, northern Niger, 
and northeast Burkina Faso, number approximately 1.5 million today al¬ 
though actual census data is unavailable. Their worldview is constructed 
from a combination of Islam and traditional tribal practices inseparable 
from their culture. They believe in both Allah and spirits, thus differing 
from adherents of pure Islam, which teaches belief in a monotheistic God. 
All Tuaregs belong to one of three classes: the nobles (camel herders), vassals 
(goat herders), and black African slaves originally from southern ethnic 
groups (the French outlawed slavery in the early part of the last century). 

When decolonization took root across Africa in the 1950s, the people 
of the Sahara (mainly the Tuaregs) pushed for political autonomy, often 
sparking conflict. 1 During the colonial era, Tuareg regions were peripheral 
to, and thus isolated from, influence within the capitals. Over time, colonial 
powers imposed a series of conventions regulating and limiting nomadic 
movements to specific territories for each federation, further restricting 
Tuareg movements and increasing their isolation from centers of power. 2 
Tuaregs clashed with French colonialists over these issues but were subdued 
by French military superiority and tactics of divide and conquer, which 
turned Tuareg tribes against each another. 

The first Tuareg uprising began in 1962, in the postindependence period. 
Initially, this conflict featured small hit-and-run raids, but these escalated 
in subsequent years to include sophisticated attacks. However, the overall 
Tuareg effort lacked unified leadership and a coherent strategy Neverthe¬ 
less, the Tuaregs’ grievances were poignant enough to encourage some to 
take up arms. The sum of their concerns involved three main issues: 

1. Discrimination from southern ethnic groups, which governed 
Mali following independence. 

2. Fear that land reform would threaten their privileged access to 

3. Concern that national elites would destroy Tuareg culture 
under the guise of “modernization.” 


By 1964 Mali had crushed the rebellion, and the northeastern part of the 
country became a no-go area ruled by martial law. The fledgling govern¬ 
ment’s heavy-handed approach alienated many Tuaregs who did not sup¬ 
port the insurgents. 3 

The 1970s and 1980s, decades of extreme drought and suffering in the 
region, saw many Tuaregs flee Mali and take refuge in Algeria, Libya, Niger, 
Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Overgrazing, combined with drought and a 
lack of response by the Malian government, caused further, deepening re¬ 
sentment among many Tuaregs. Younger Tuaregs were also lured by jobs in 
Algeria’s and Libya’s oil industries and moved there to earn a living. How¬ 
ever, the collapse of oil prices in the mid-1980s sent many Tuaregs back to 
their homes in Mali. Algeria expelled over 10,000, and Libya, which had 
created specialized military regiments composed of Tuareg recruits, dis¬ 
banded most of them. These events set the stage for the second Tuareg 
rebellion, which started in June 1990 and lasted until 1992. Iyad Ag Ghaly, 
current leader of Ansar Al-Din (“Defenders of the Faith,” a violent regional 
Salafist group linked to AQIM), led the second rebellion. 4 As in the 1960s, 
the Tuaregs were not united as one insurgent group; this time, however, 
they enjoyed better organization and equipment. 

To his credit, Moussa Traore, president of Mali at the time, recognized 
very early after the rebellion began that a military solution was untenable 
and accepted Algeria’s offer of mediation. In 1991, after serious discussions 
between the government and Tuareg leaders, the principals signed the 
Accords of Tamanrasset. Unfortunately, not all Tuaregs were represented at 
the table—especially those from Gao and Timbuktu, who felt betrayed and 
left out of the deal. The Traore regime refused to publicize the terms of the 
accords, fearing that the south would interpret it as a surrender, and even 
denied on national radio that there would be any “Statut particulier” for the 
north. 5 This action reflected a chronic lack of trust that remains the impetus 
behind today’s continuing conflict. Key provisions from the accord included 
the following: 

1. A cease-fire and exchange of prisoners. 

2. Withdrawal of insurgent forces to cantonments. 

3. Reduction of the army presence in the north, especially Kidal. 


4. Disengagement of the army from civil administration in the 

5. Elimination of selected military posts (considered threatening 
by the Tuareg communities). 

6. Integration of insurgent combatants into the Malian army at 
ranks to be determined. 

7. Acceleration of ongoing processes of administrative decentral¬ 
ization in Mali. 

8. A guarantee that a fixed proportion of Mali’s national infra¬ 
structural investment funding (47.3 percent) would be devoted 
to the north. 6 

As a whole, Tuaregs felt that Mali never fully met most of these provisions, 
giving them a reason for independence. Two months after the Tamanrasset 
agreement, a coup abruptly ended President Traore’s 23-year rule. In 1992 
national elections took place, and leaders from all of the communities signed 
a national pact that addressed a wide range of issues, from integration of 
former insurgents into the Mahan military to the allocation of resources for 
national development. 

Significantly, the Tamanrasset Accords prompted the formation of tem¬ 
porary security forces to garrison the north. These forces contained a mixed 
percentage of Mahan army and rebel combatants—both a confidence-building 
measure and a way to reduce the problem of unemployed, armed Tuareg youths. 7 
The government also made promises of material benefits without having the 
resources in place to fulfill them, resulting in a painfully slow application of the 
national pact. 8 

Ibrahim Ag Bahanga led the third Tuareg rebellion, which took place 
in 2006 and lasted until 2009. Algeria once again stepped in to broker peace 
by restating demands made in the national pact; however, the lack of trust 
exhibited by all parties kept northeast Mali in a state of uneasy peace. In 
2009 Mali dispatched troops to stop Bahanga and exiled him to Libya, 
where he remained until his return in the summer of 2011. Bahanga’s Libyan 
exile proved an important milestone in the recent Tuareg insurgency. 

During his time in Libya, Bahanga contacted Tuaregs from his tribe 
who served in Muammar Gadhafi’s military. One of these was Mohammed 


Ag Najm, commander of Gadhafi’s elite desert units. In an interview with 
the newspaper Al Watan in 2011, Bahanga said that “Al-Qadhafi’s disap¬ 
pearance is good news for all the region’s Tuareg. . . . His departure from 
Libya opens the way to a better future and will make it possible to move 
forward with our political demands.. . . Now that he is gone, we can forge 
ahead with our struggle.” 9 Although Bahanga died in a mysterious car 
accident that summer, his desire to spark another uprising and gain con¬ 
trol of northern Mali took root among many Tuaregs. 

His vision unfolded later that autumn. In September 2011, when it be¬ 
came evident that Gadhafi’s regime would collapse, Tuareg fighters began to 
cross into Mali after emptying several Libyan arms depots. 10 In October 
2011, in the oasis settlement of Zakak, Mali, near the border of Algeria, Tuareg 
youth, intellectuals, Malian army deserters, and Libyan-trained Tuareg soldiers 
merged two movements—the Mouvement national de l’Azawad and the 
Mouvement Touareg du Nord Mali—to form the Movement National Pour 
La Liberation de l’Azawad (MNLA) (Azawad is the name of the Tuareg 
homeland). The France-based spokesman for the new organization, Hama 
Ag Sid’ Ahmed (Bahanga’s father-in-law), elaborated on the significance of 
this new, more organized approach to Tuareg aspirations: “This year we have 
all the generations together.” 11 He elaborated on this novel Tuareg approach 
in a subsequent statement on the MNLA’s formation: 

We talked about where things had gone wrong and tried to agree on a plan and on 
some common objectives. We created a ruling council, a military etat majeur, com¬ 
manded and coordinated by Mohammed Ag Najm and other senior officers.There are 
about 40 of them. And we also created a political bureau, which set about analysing 
and considering all the political aspects including how to raise awareness among the 
international community, especially the regional powers. 12 

Although this new Tuareg approach strengthened military strategy, en¬ 
hanced tactical war-fighting capabilities, and generally augmented the Tuaregs’ 
political thought, disunity remained their biggest obstacle. 

Recent Developments Contextualizing the Current Tuareg Uprising 

From mid-January until early April 2012, the MNLA took control of 
an area greater than the size of France, calling it Azawad, an Arabic corrup¬ 
tion of the Berber word Azawagh. n Geographically, this region straddles 
Mali, Niger, and Algeria, but in the open press, MNLA carefully defines it 


as northern Mali to let neighboring states know that expansion was not in 
the cards and thus prevent a unified backlash from those states. Unlike the 
combatants in other tribal conflicts, the Tuaregs are not fighting for re¬ 
sources, fertile land, or geographical expansion of territory but for culture, 
pride, and self-determination. 

When Tuareg youth saw the world rally behind south Sudan’s struggle 
for independence, they hoped the same would happen for their people. 
However, history shows that the world did not react that way. To de-escalate 
potential retaliation against its newly formed organization and galvanize 
support, the MNLA publicly stated that it was not an extremist organiza¬ 
tion but a secular representation of northern ethnic groups. 14 The executive 
committee of the MNLA then asked the international community to “rec¬ 
ognise, in a spirit of justice and peace, the independent state of Azawad.” 15 
This plea for support was overshadowed by the coup in Bamako and a list 
of plaguing questions, not the least of which were, Why now? and How did 
this happen? 

Despite recent successes, the MNLA faces many challenges, primarily 
the threat of militant Islamist dominance. This threat, however, originates 
perhaps more from the ultrapragmatic Tuareg desire to play for the “win¬ 
ning team” than it does from a worldview predisposed to violent extremism. 
According to reports from Timbuktu, some Tuaregs have sons who joined 
both Ansar Al-Din and the MNLA in hopes of having a family member on 
a winning side. As one Tuareg said to a colleague, “They are two arms of the 
same body,” a comment representative of wider confusion over these orga¬ 
nizational dynamics. However, without Ansar Al-Din putting a Tuareg face 
on AQIM, there would be more Tuareg resistance to the Salafist presence 
and broader support for MNLA. 

Nevertheless,Tuaregs see flirtation with militant Islamism as temporary. 
Tuareg society, for example, broadly resents Salafist conceptions of a Sharia 
ban on soccer, smoking, and unveiled women. Further, even though Timbuktu 
has a long tradition as a devout Muslim city, residents feel that no one 
should tell them how to act or practice their faith. Regardless, the griev¬ 
ances that comprise the latest backbone of Tuareg insurgency push some 
people into Tuareg Islamist factions, which share the same grievances and 
hatred for regional governments, especially those in Niger and Mali, but tap 
into a deeper Islamic frame to promote activism. 


One contact who met with several Tuareg army officers last summer in 
Timbuktu described these grievances, which sparked the flow of Tuareg 
fighters coming in from Libya, and predicted a new rebellion. These officers 
said that the lack of jobs, economic and infrastructure development, and 
decent paved roads in northern Mali topped their list. All had family members 
connected to trade and tourism, and according to most of them, the fact 
that the only paved road to the north ends in Mopti embodies the govern¬ 
ment’s betrayal of the people. Whether secular pragmatists or Islamists, 
Tuaregs do not trust the Malian government, which in their eyes has more 
than once sent forces to “cleanse” them. Tuaregs are quick to point out that 
since Mali’s independence, the outside world has never conducted a full, 
independent investigation of the atrocities committed against them. 

Despite these grievances, Tuaregs in general do not broadly support 
the Salafists.They see them first as foreign interlopers and second as Arabs 
or Moors, both of whom have long been their ethnic rivals for supremacy 
in the Sahara. 

lyad Ag Ghaly and Militant Islam 

The uprising in 2012 saw the return of lyad Ag Ghaly, a Tuareg leader 
who led the first rebellion in the early 1990s and started the second three- 
year rebellion from 2006 to 2009. A seasoned 57-year-old warrior who 
embraced militant Salafism, the unpredictable and manipulating Ag Ghaly 
plays a key role in promoting conflict in the Sahel. His manipulative, radical 
approach—not to mention his Rolodex and connectivity to AQIM—is 
worthy of serious examination. Ag Ghaly’s biography as a militant reflects 
a clear desire to play for the winners. In 2007, during the middle of the 
second rebellion, he switched sides, leaving his cause (fighting for Tuareg 
autonomy) to help negotiate settlements between the Tuaregs and the 
government of Mali. This move still causes resentment among his tribesmen, 
many of whom no longer trust him. In 2008 President Amadou Toumani 
Toure appointed Ag Ghaly consul and sent him to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 
but the Saudi government declared him persona non grata for his associa¬ 
tion with extremist elements tied to al-Qaeda. In October 2011, President 
Toure asked him to head a delegation and bring Tuareg soldiers returning 
from the conflict in Libya back into the fold of Malian society. 16 He re¬ 
turned to the north to resume his old role as leader of the Tuaregs, but the 


MNLA rejected him. He then formed his own group, Ansar Al-Din, and 
fought alongside his people until they took the territory of Azawad. 

Afterward, Ag Ghaly began to show his cards, agreeing to work with 
the MNLA but on the condition that Azawad would follow strict Sharia. 
On 16 June 2012, he rejected MNLA independence and publicly an¬ 
nounced that “Ansar Dine wants the unity of all brothers and sisters in Mali 
around Islam, which is the foundation of our life.” 17 For now, he appears 
resolute in his long-term goals to capture the Tuareg leadership and insti¬ 
tute rigid Salafism as the Tuaregs’ brand of Islam. The MNLA leadership 
rejected Ag Ghaly’s pronouncement of 16 June and held its claim to secu¬ 
larism. Despite the impasse over the fate of Azawad, some members of the 
MNLA favorably consider Ag Ghaly and his Ansar Al-Din members 
Azawadis, a perception not shared about AQIM. 

Ag Ghaly has a long history of successfully playing all sides of the Tuareg 
conflicts. In previous years, he was easily influenced by Algeria and Libya, 
which successfully “managed” him. However, his patrons, if any, are unknown 
at this point. In this current stalemate over the fate of Azawad, Ag Ghaly 
seems to be methodically undermining his MNLA tribesmen—but why? 
Many unanswered questions remain, especially about the source(s) of his 
funding. Further, did Ag Ghaly know about the rebellion and plan to under¬ 
mine it? Is a state, organization, or individual behind his success? Indeed, the 
MNLA has no money or outside support, other than Tuaregs living abroad 
who want an independent Azawad. Ansar Al-Din, on the other hand, has 
funds and equipment, as well as the ethnic and tribal makeup necessary for 
success. Ag Ghaly, no stranger to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat 
(GSPC)/AQIM because of his initial involvement with the group in 2003, 
also seems to have the full support of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, one of AQIM’s 
leaders in northern Mali. 18 Taken together, Ag Ghaly’s streamlined success 
does not square. 

In sum, against the backdrop of the current crisis, Ag Ghaly has posi¬ 
tioned himself very well. He managed to provoke bickering in MNLA and 
now formally has AQIM’s southern fighters and resources under his com¬ 
mand. 19 His approach to undermining Tuareg leaders opposed to his rule 
began in April, after MNLA declared the independence of Azawad. Loot¬ 
ing, rape, and abductions in Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu broke out, and ac¬ 
cording to Human Rights Watch reports, MNLA rebels were responsible 


for the crimes. However, the organization denied those accusations, blam¬ 
ing escaped prisoners and criminals. Eyewitnesses said that Ansar Al-Din 
responded by taking protective measures to insulate the population and 
curb crime. Since then, it has been proselytizing door-to-door and imple¬ 
menting Sharia on the population. Overall, Tuaregs are confused about 
Ansar Al-Din, but are quickly learning the truth about the organization. 
On 26 June, a friend conveyed a report from a Tuareg family in Timbuktu: 

Ansar Al-Din is recruiting local boys as young as 11-12 years old with promises to 
give them food and cash if they work in their camp at Fort Bekaye, the old Malian 
base inside the city. The boys are being told to do odd jobs. One Tuareg man found out 
that his 13-year-old son had gone to the camp to work, so he went there to talk to his 
son at the base. He asked him why he had joined Ansar Al-Din, and the boy told his 
father that he was only supposed to work for one month. So the man went to the 
Ansar Al-Din leader in charge of the base and said respectfully that he would like his 
son to leave with him, that he was needed at home. The head of the base told the father 
that his boy couldn’t leave, that he was now permanently part of Ansar Al-Din and 
that the family could have his body back after he had fulfilled his duty to Allah and 
that he should be proud of him for bringing Muslim honor to his name. 

Evidently this is not an isolated case. Two other families have relayed 
similar stories. People without money rely on handouts from Ansar Al-Din, 
which in return demands that they send their sons to newly militarized 
madrasas (Islamic schools). One man described how his old mosque is now 
home to one such madrasa where all the boys are forced to dress exactly 
alike, learn to fire Kalashnikovs, and undergo indoctrination in a harsh in¬ 
terpretation of Islam. In sum, Ag Ghaly’s determination seems to be slowly 
forcing the population to submit to his rule, leaving the future of northern 
Mali in the hands of extremists and the fate of the Tuaregs in question. 

AQIM in Northern Mali 

AQIM remains active in northern Mali, despite a tenuous relationship 
with the Tuaregs. Algerian nationals run the organization, but its fighter 
composition includes Mauritanian, Moroccan, Libyan, Malian, and Nige¬ 
rian nationals. From 2003 until the present, AQIM gradually took advan¬ 
tage of Mali’s weak security infrastructure to establish itself in the northern 
part of the country. This created an economic-development shift in which 
tribal elements (particularly the Arab tribes and, to a lesser degree, the Tuareg) 
had no alternative other than do business or join the organization since it is 


flush with cash (estimates vary from 70 to 150 million euros in total). This 
money originates from ransoms paid for the release of kidnapped Westerners. 20 
Over the years, the local Arab-Tuareg population has slowly learned to 
tolerate its presence, in part due to AQIM’s ability to develop the local 
economy and provide basic services in an impoverished region that felt 
abandoned by its host government. Local leaders forged mutually beneficial 
business relationships with the organization—relationships cemented 
through marriages to local women. For example, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an 
influential AQIM leader from the southern zone katiba (battalion), took a 
Tuareg wife from Timbuktu. 

Although AQIM seems to affect the local population for the better 
with respect to quality of life, over the long term it exerts a negative influ¬ 
ence on the economic development of the region and promotes the growth 
of organized crime, especially among the Tuareg and Arab people. AQIM 
is responsible for spreading violent extremism to countries like Nigeria, 
where the radical organization Boko Haram dramatically stepped up its 
attacks in 2011 against Christians and government targets. Over the years, 
the government of Mali’s feeble response to AQIM’s attacks and kidnap¬ 
pings decimated even the smallest economic developments in the poorest 
region of a country where 77 percent of the population lives on less than 
two dollars per day. 21 Violence and insecurity deterred nongovernmental 
organizations, outside investors, and tourism in critical areas plagued by 
chronic underdevelopment, drought, and extreme poverty. 

Despite AQIM’s gains, the Tuaregs remain traditionally moderate, not 
lured by the Salafist brand of Islam. Their identity lies with their Tamashek 
language rather than in religion. The autumn of 2006 saw multiple clashes 
between Tuareg and AQIM fighters, resulting in distrust and animosity 
between the two sides. Some MNLA members continue to discuss the idea 
of driving AQIM out of the region because it is considered an outside in¬ 
fluence that corrupts the Tuaregs’traditions and way of life. For this reason, 
Ag Ghaly took center stage and now has AQIM’s undivided attention and 
support. His ethnic makeup as a Tuareg allows AQIM to operate while he 
manages the negative Tuareg rhetoric. Despite significant differences and a 
history of animosity towards radical Islam, Tuaregs are opportunists. The 
allure of money, which would keep them relevant in the region, is their sole 
attraction to AQIM. 


Because of the Tuaregs’vehement opposition to Salafism and the desire 
to win popular support, Abdelmalek Droukdal, the emir of AQIM, told his 
followers to gradually impose Sharia on the people of northern Mali and 
create the first Islamic state in the region. 22 Like Ag Ghaly, he does not 
want to lose control of the situation. Maintaining a strong grip on northern 
Mali provides AQIM the resources it needs to remain effective and expand. 

Conclusion and Recommendations: 

Implications for the United States 

Although the international community likely would never entertain 
the idea of Azawadian independence, it should make an effort to support 
MNLA and Tuaregs who oppose militant Salafists in the region, including 
AQIM. Tuaregs are masters of their environment; they can play a key role 
in stabilizing the Sahel by driving out violent extremist groups. They have 
the will to do so—but not without assistance. 

Unfortunately, the present situation in the region is bleak. Time is not on 
the Tuaregs’ side, and northern Mali is becoming a magnet for foreign Islamist 
fighters who now help train recruits. Further, violent extremists have an ideal 
environment in which to move weapons, bring in more foreign fighters, and 
make money from drugs and other contraband, given the large quantities of 
Gadhafi’s arsenal in their possession and control over airstrips near the towns 
of Gao, Timbuktu, Tessalit, and Kidal. This region is becoming a strategic 
nightmare for the United States and its European allies. 

What is the end game for Ansar Al-Din and AQIM? According to 
regional experts, Ag Ghaly wants to become the leader of the Tuaregs, and 
he will use any means necessary to obtain this position. AQIM’s long-term 
goals, though, are different and more in line with al-Qaeda’s plans for North 
Africa. Analysis by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center of the de¬ 
classified Abbottabad letters shows that al-Qaeda’s leadership desires to 
take advantage of the “Arab Spring” to convert jihadi activities into mis¬ 
sionary activities, with the primary objective of regrouping and coming after 
the United States. 23 To attain this goal, it has to rely on AQIM, its regional 
affiliate. AQIM, however, has suffered significant setbacks over the last few 
years and has seen its ability to recruit from North African countries disappear. 
Internal ideological disagreements that started in 2006 when it swore allegiance 
to al-Qaeda continue to vex the organization. Furthermore, effective counter- 


terrorism measures taken by the United States and its allies have proven very 
damaging. To survive and remain effective, AQIM needs money and soldiers. 
The Sahel has become an ideal ground for both, and the Tuaregs function as 
collateral. In a way, AQIM has hijacked the heart of the great Sahara trade 
routes—the indispensible lifeblood of economic growth in a vast 3,400-mile 
region, where goods and commodities move between Europe, the Middle 
East, and the subcontinent. Left unchallenged, terrorists and drug dealers 
will exploit these routes for their long-term gains, using the only people who 
know how to navigate the harsh terrain—the Tuaregs. 

Until now, Mali’s military has been ineffective—unable to control the 
north and drive out AQIM. The international community and Mali’s 
neighbors should not support any plan by the current Bamako regime to 
conduct a military intervention in the north, which would prove counter¬ 
productive and alienate local support against Ansar Al-Din and AQIM. 
Instead, regional governments need to work together to address economic 
and social needs across the Sahel, thereby protecting livelihoods and creating 
opportunities that will keep Sahelian communities from falling victim to 
Salafist groups—especially the Tuaregs. 

The best approach to counter the present crisis in northern Mali in¬ 
volves creating a buffer zone around the areas where the Salafists operate. 
This zone should restrict movement by air or ground of illegal goods entering 
the area. On a larger scale, a systematic regional approach aimed at target¬ 
ing illegal drug trafficking, tobacco, and weapons should be addressed to 
curb terrorists’ access to money. A diminishing cash flow will dry up funds 
to recruit and expand. 

Moreover, an effective information operations campaign is indispens¬ 
able to discrediting AQIM and Ansar Al-Din and to reinforcing local dis¬ 
trust of their motives. Such a campaign should include not only northern 
Mali but also the Sahel as a whole, disparaging all militant Salafist groups 
and activities. But direct intervention by Western states will only reinforce 
the extremists’raison d’etre and exacerbate the crisis; consequently, regional 
actors must broker a solution, and regional experts must guide it. 

Border control and counterterrorism programs for Niger, Mauritania, 
Libya,Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria also require greater support.These states 
still lack sustainable, effective coordination on these matters, and regional 
intelligence collection and sharing need significant improvement. Further, 


because Sahelian states cannot respond to security threats in remote areas 
distant from the capitals, Mali’s efforts to maintain control of the north have 
proven ineffective. Although AQIM s southern-zone katiba is no more than 
300 strong, the absence of regional state collaboration makes it very difficult 
to find and target individuals in the vast operational area. 

The international community must also address poor governance, cor¬ 
ruption, and poverty issues, especially among the Tuaregs and people of the 
Sahel. Initiatives that improve food and water security, health care, educa¬ 
tion, and employment will give the population incentive to resist militant 
Salafist groups and refrain from working with them. In the case of the Tuaregs 
in northern Mali, better infrastructure and effective security remain at the 
heart of their grievances. If the international community wishes to support 
their economy and preserve their way of life—a culture at odds with mili¬ 
tant Islam—it must deal with these issues directly. Finally, the community 
must make a top priority of effective Western and local intelligence sharing 
and regional coordination to root out Salafist activities and thereby reverse 
the threat that plagues this region. 


1. “Global Insider: Tuareg Rebel Groups,” World Politics Review, 31 October 2011, http://www 

2. “Prayer Profile: The Tuareg; a Cluster of 8 Distinct Groups in 5 Different Countries,” 
Bethany World Prayer Center, 1997, 

3. Lt Col Kalifa Keita, Army of the Republic of Mali, Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the 
Sahel: The Tuareg Insurgency in Mali (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War Col¬ 
lege, 1998), 10-11, 

4. Andy Morgan, “The Causes of the Uprising in Northern Mali,” Think Africa Press, 6 February 

5. Attilio Gaudio, Le Mali (Paris: Karthala, 1992), 191. 

6. Keita, Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 16. 

7. Ibid., 18. 

8. Macartan Humphreys and Habaye Ag Mohamed, “Senegal and Mali,” January 2003, 25, 

9. BBC Monitoring International Reports, “Qadhafi’s Fall ‘Good News’ for Tuareg—Malian 
Tuareg Leader Ag Bahanga,” Access My Library, 30 August 2011, http://www.accessmylibrary 

10. Rohan Gunaratna, “Instability Threatens the Sahel,” National Interest, 26 April 2012, 


11. David Lewis and Adama Diarra, “Insight: Arms and Men Out of Libya Fortify Mali Re¬ 
bellion,” Reuters, 10 February 2012, 

12. Morgan, “Uprising in Northern MaU.” 

13. Robert Brown, ed Annotations to the History and Description of Africa of Leo Africanus, vol. 
1 (London: Hakulyt Society, 1896). 

14. Mossa Ag Attaher, “They Are Not Mercenaries,” Mouvement National de Fberation de 
l’Azawad, 22 January 2012, 

15. Michael Rundle, “MaH Unrest: British Embassy Staff Withdrawn by Foreign Office Amid 
Violence,” Huffngton Post, 4 June 2012, 

16. Andy Morgan, “Stand-off in Northern Mali,” A1 Jazeera, 11 June 2012, 

17. Adama Diarra, “Mali Islamist Leader Rejects Independence,” Reuters, 16 June 2012, 

18. Jeremy Keenan, “A New Crisis in the Sahel,” A1 Jazeera, 3 January 2012, http://www 

19. Peter Dorrie, “As Crisis Gathers, Northern Mali Needs More Than Just Military Inter¬ 
vention,” World Politics Review, 14 June 2012, 

20. Andrew McGregor, “Mali Pays the Price of al-Qaeda’s Asymmetrical Threat,” Terrorism Monitor 8, 
no. 39 (28 October 2010),,THEJF',,MLI,4cdl0ba72,0.html. 

21. Caroline Pearce, Sebastien Fourmy, and Hetty Kovach, Delivering Education for All in 
Mali, Oxfam International Research Report (Oxford, UK: Oxfam International, June 2009), 

22. “Mali: rencontre entre groupes islamistes du nord aTombouctou,”Jeune Afrique, 28 May 

23. Nelly Lahoud et al., Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined ? (West Point, NY: Har¬ 
mony Program, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 3 May 2012), http://www.ctc.usma 

Establishing a Marketplace ofWomen 
in Peacekeeping 

An Analysis of Gender Mainstreaming and Its Viability 
in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations 

Kerry Crawford* 

Julia Macdonald 

U nited Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 
took the unprecedented step of recognizing the profound im¬ 
pact of war on women and calling for their increased participa¬ 
tion in conflict prevention and resolution. It launched the UN’s 
gender-mainstreaming initiative, and with it came the call to blue helmets 
for women around the world. Yet, in light of the observation that the top 
personnel contributors to UN peacekeeping are countries characterized by 
high levels of gender inequality, the feasibility of gender mainstreaming in 
peacekeeping remains questionable. This article uses the basic economic 
principles of supply and demand to discuss the rationale for raising the 
number of women in peacekeeping. Upon identifying the UN’s approach as 
demand-driven, we turn to data from the UN Department of Peacekeeping 
Operations (UNDPKO) and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender 
Gap Index to assess the feasibility of such a top-down approach. The data 
from this comparison support our argument that the UN approach ignores 
the gender realities of personnel-contributing countries. We conclude that 

*Kerry Frances Crawford is a PhD candidate in political science and a predoctoral fellow with the Global 
Gender Program at George Washington University. Her interests include gender dynamics in war, human 
security, women in politics, women in the military, civilian casualties in war, and the formation of human 
rights norms. She is writing a dissertation on variation in the responses of states, intergovernmental organi¬ 
zations, and nongovernmental organizations to sexual violence in war. 

Julia Macdonald is a PhD candidate in political science and a research and teaching fellow in the Institute 
for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University. Her current research focuses on signal¬ 
ing and threat credibility during international crises. Additional research interests include gender and peace¬ 
keeping, civil-military relations, and the role of experts in foreign policy decision making. 



the UN must bolster its call for greater numbers of women in peacekeeping 
with material incentives that foster greater gender integration within the 
militaries of troop contributing countries (TCC). 

The article first offers an overview of gender mainstreaming, the flawed 
missions that led to recognition of the need to incorporate gender consider¬ 
ations in UN policies and operations, and the resolutions that constitute its 
efforts to mainstream gender. It then outlines our theoretical framework 
and the observable implications of supply- and demand-driven explanations. 
The third section delves into the feasibility of the UN’s demand-driven 
approach to gender mainstreaming, and the final section connects our as¬ 
sertions to UN policy and improvements for future research. 

Bringing in Gender: Mainstreaming and UN Peacekeeping 

UN peacekeeping operations are intended to stabilize postconflict regions 
and monitor the enforcement of peace agreements. Sexual violence and 
exploitation carried out by UN personnel (serving both military and civilian 
roles) compromise the legitimacy of the mission, undermine the image of 
UN peacekeepers as a benign and stabilizing force, present a serious moral 
and ethical conflict for the UN, and perpetuate the cycle of violence against 
women and girls in conflict zones. Entrenched assumptions of gender- 
neutral effects of a UN presence as well as a consistent underestimation of 
the unequal power dynamics between local civilians and peacekeepers in 
planning for peacekeeping operations led to unintended consequences for 
civilians—namely, exploitation of and sexual violence against women by 
international peacekeepers during many UN missions. 

The UN defines sexual exploitation as “any actual or attempted abuse 
of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, 
including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically 
from the sexual exploitation of another.” 1 It defines sexual abuse as “actual 
or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or 
under unequal or coercive conditions.” 2 The UN set out to address sexual 
violence and exploitation of women in conflict zones, as well as other gender- 
based concerns arising in war, through a process of gender mainstreaming— 
the “process of assessing the implications for women and men of any 
planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas 
and at all levels ... to achieve gender equality.” 3 


UNSCR 1325, adopted on 31 October 2000, was the first major at¬ 
tempt to address the issue of sexual violence and exploitation of women and 
girls in conflict zones and to call for the increased participation of women 
in peacekeeping. The motivation was clear: women are disproportionately 
affected by armed conflict, and when they are absent from the peacekeeping 
process, the ultimate outcome overlooks gender-specific needs in the re¬ 
construction process and potentially contributes to continued instability 
For instance, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, launched in 
1992 and active until 1993, did not include women peacekeepers. Through¬ 
out the operation, Cambodia experienced elevated rates of prostitution, 
sexually transmitted disease, sexual assault, and (culturally stigmatized) extra¬ 
marital romantic relationships between civilians and peacekeepers. The 
peacekeepers who perpetrated sexual violence or exploitation helped un¬ 
ravel the social and familial structures for some civilians, leaving many 
Cambodians with the sense that the blue helmets had come only to trans¬ 
form Cambodian women into sex workers. 4 Logistically, the absence of 
women peacekeepers made it difficult for civilians to report incidents of 
sexual violence or exploitation perpetrated against them by peacekeepers or 
combatants, which adversely affected the mission’s attempts to address the 
effects of the conflict zone on women. 

UNSCR 1325 takes into account the disproportionate effect of war on 
women and girls and calls for more participation of women in peacekeep¬ 
ing, as well as a general effort to incorporate gender considerations during 
the planning and implementation of UN missions. It places primary re¬ 
sponsibility for implementation on the Security Council, secretary-general, 
member states supplying peacekeeping personnel, and parties to current 
and future armed conflicts. The Security Council and secretary-general 
consistently professed a commitment to addressing and preventing violence 
against and exploitation of women in conflict zones. Nevertheless, after the 
adoption of UNSCR 1325, allegations of exploitation and abuse of vulner¬ 
able civilian women by UN personnel began to surface as reporting mecha¬ 
nisms improved. 5 Although these were not the first instances of exploita¬ 
tion by peacekeeping forces, “the revelations in 2004 of sexual exploitation 
and abuse by a significant number of United Nations peacekeeping personnel 
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” prompted an institutional re¬ 
view of prior reports received during other missions. 6 The review uncovered 


sexual abuse and exploitation during operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
Kosovo, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, West Africa, and the Democratic Republic 
of the Congo in the early 1990s through the mid-2000s. 7 

The presence of peacekeeping forces has been linked to sharp increases 
in the levels of sex trafficking and forced prostitution involving women and 
children, rape, gender-based violence, and instances of civilian women and 
girls hired by troops for domestic help and forced into sexual slavery. 8 The 
missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, Somalia, 
and the Balkans all uncovered widespread instances of sexual assault against 
and exploitation of girls and women. 9 By ignoring the gender construction 
inherent in military training and the subsequent ramifications of placing 
soldiers in situations that constrain the very identity of “soldier,” the UN 
did not foresee the potential for sexual violence and exploitation of local 
women by peacekeepers. 

In the wake of damaging allegations of sexual violence and exploita¬ 
tion committed by civilian and military personnel deployed to postconflict 
zones under UN auspices, the Security Council and secretary-general be¬ 
gan to take action through a comprehensive investigation and resolutions to 
integrate gender considerations into peacekeeping operations and to im¬ 
prove peacekeepers’ legal accountability. A primary mechanism for success¬ 
ful UN peacekeeping missions is the perception of UN personnel as impar¬ 
tial, benign, and legitimate; abuse or exploitation of vulnerable civilians by 
UN personnel does “great harm to the name of peacekeeping.” 10 The com¬ 
prehensive strategy to eliminate sexual exploitation during peacekeeping 
missions, resulting from the investigation carried out by Jordan’s Prince 
Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein and issued to the General Assembly in March 
2005, outlines and recommends improvements to the UNDPKO’s stan¬ 
dards of conduct, investigative process, command responsibility, and indi¬ 
vidual accountability with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse. 11 This 
investigation represented an important first step in addressing the UN’s role 
in mitigating the devastating effects of armed conflict on women not only 
through its recommendations as a moral authority but also through training 
and appropriate disciplinary measures for its own deployed personnel. 

Following the 2005 investigation, UNSCR 1820 was adopted on 19 
June 2008 as a reaffirmation of UNSCR 1325, the Security Council’s com¬ 
mitment to integrating women into the peacekeeping process, and enforcement 


of a zero-tolerance policy for UN personnel who sexually abuse or exploit 
civilians. UNSCR 1820 was the first resolution to go beyond a general recog¬ 
nition of the adverse effects of war on women, to issue an injunction against 
misconduct by peacekeeping staff", and to call on troop- and personnel- 
contributing member states to train personnel on gender issues and respond 
to instances of misconduct. 

UNSCRs 1888 and 1889, adopted in 2009, built upon UNSCR 1820 
with more specific measures fostering gender mainstreaming in postconflict 
reconstruction. These measures involve creating special representatives and 
special envoys of the secretary-general tasked with addressing sexual violence 
in conflict, including womens protection advisers in peacekeeping missions. 
They reiterated the need for states to deploy more women peacekeepers and 
charged the secretary-general with the task of creating a full report of progress 
made and remaining improvements after UNSCR 1325. 12 

The Security Council has attempted to address and prevent incidents 
of sexual violence and exploitation during peacekeeping missions planned 
and implemented by the UNDPKO by adopting resolutions and formal 
policies with limited change in practice. The Security Council and UNDPKO 
have recognized the effects of a peacekeeping system comprised predomi¬ 
nantly of men deployed to unstable postconflict regions. Constraints posed 
by the personnel supply structure, however, make formal attempts at change 
difficult unless incentives for troop- and personnel-contributing states are 
sufficient to offset the contributing states’ apparent hesitation to deploy 
women peacekeepers. 

Gender Mainstreaming: A Response to Supply or Demand? 

Prior to addressing the feasibility of increasing the number of women 
involved in peacekeeping missions, one must understand the UN’s rationale 
for instituting a gender-mainstreaming policy. This article employs a theo¬ 
retical framework informed by basic economic principles to investigate the 
motivation for UN attempts to realize gender equality in peacekeeping 
operations. Approaching the puzzle in this way enables us to determine 
where the catalyst for the gender-mainstreaming initiative originated. The 
following sections apply the principles of supply and demand to the rationale 
underpinning the UN’s efforts to mainstream gender in peacekeeping and 


offer the observable implications of each explanation to determine which 
has more support. 

Supply-Driven Explanation 

As discussed above, the UN’s gender-mainstreaming initiative, as it pertains 
to peacekeeping, is embodied in UNSCRs 1325,1820,1888, and 1889.The 
adoption of UNSCR 1325 in October 2000 marks the point at which the 
UN began to grapple with the issue of gender equality within its own opera¬ 
tions. Within peacekeeping, gender mainstreaming has the goal of increasing 
womens participation in missions at all levels of decision making—true for 
both supply- and demand-driven explanations of gender mainstreaming. 
The key difference between a supply-driven and a demand-driven explanation 
lies in the catalyst or motivation for the policy. 

A supply-driven explanation holds that the UN effort to increase the 
participation of women in peacekeeping was motivated primarily by an 
existing presence of women in the militaries of member states. Gender 
mainstreaming, in this situation, amounts to a reaction to the gender com¬ 
position of national militaries rather than a response to mission failures or 
top-down rhetorical statements about the need for gender equality in 
peacekeeping. The UN’s gender-mainstreaming efforts would simply be a 
codification in policy of a preexisting reality: the female troops are already 
serving, and the policy emphasizing womens participation follows in an 
effort to recognize this fact. 

A supply-driven explanation finds support if data indicate an overall 
trend toward gender equality at the state level. Data at that level, however, 
show that willingness to send women into combat varies widely: “In almost 
every country, the question of how and where women should be deployed 
inspires strident debate.” 13 When national militaries are willing to recruit 
and deploy women, they employ an egalitarian rationale—one that gained 
traction with the advent of modern, more technologically advanced militaries. 
The modern military requires less brute strength and more intellectual acu¬ 
men, discrediting the argument that women make less capable soldiers than 
men. 14 In the modern military, men and women are theoretically equal; the 
UN’s rationale for gender mainstreaming rests on the assumption that 
women fulfill certain roles more successfully than men and that the presence 
of women in peacekeeping has a neutralizing effect on male aggression. 


Thus, even for integrated militaries, the UN’s gender-mainstreaming logic 
conflicts with the national justification for recruiting women to serve. Gender 
integration in the military varies widely, and it seems unlikely that the UN’s 
gender-mainstreaming initiative derived its inspiration from a global surge 
of women in the military 

Demand-Driven Explanation 

In contrast to supply-driven explanations, demand-driven accounts hold 
that efforts to increase the participation of women in peacekeeping are 
driven by the UN’s need for the greater involvement of women, regardless 
of the existing gender composition of national militaries. In this case, the 
UN would institute gender mainstreaming in response to peacekeeping 
failures and the belief that improved gender equality would have a beneficial 
effect on mission outcomes. A demand-driven explanation might also 
reach beyond this narrow strategic calculation to include the UN’s broader 
interest in promoting gender equality and reinforcing the perception of 
the organization and its personnel as impartial, benign, and legitimate 
representatives of international society. 15 One would find support for a 
demand-driven account principally in the timing of and justification for 
UN gender-mainstreaming resolutions. More specifically, a demand- 
driven explanation finds support if UN resolutions were adopted in reaction 
to peacekeeping missions thought to have failed because of the absence of 
women peacekeepers. 

The timing of the UNSCRs, combined with the organizational justifi¬ 
cation for the greater inclusion of women in peacekeeping operations, pro¬ 
vides strong evidence for a demand-driven account. The Security Council 
and secretary-general had consistently professed a commitment to address¬ 
ing and preventing violence against women in conflict zones, but not until 
a flurry of reports of crimes against women surfaced in the 1990s did the 
UN adopt UNSCR 1325 and institutionalize gender mainstreaming in 
peacekeeping operations. 16 Additional allegations of exploitation and abuse 
of civilian women at the hands of UN personnel in the wake this resolution 
prompted further institutional reviews of conduct across missions, revealing 
the presence of sexual abuse and exploitation during operations in Bosnia 
and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, West Africa, and the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo in the early 1990s through the mid-2000s. 17 


To address reports of sexual violence and exploitation committed by 
UN civilian and military personnel deployed to conflict zones, the Security 
Council and secretary-general developed a comprehensive strategy to elim¬ 
inate exploitation during peacekeeping missions. It sought to improve the 
UNDPKO’s standards of conduct, investigative processes, command re¬ 
sponsibility, and individual accountability with regard to sexual exploitation 
and abuse. 18 The Security Council adopted UNSCR 1820 in June 2008 to 
further cement UNSCR 1325 and the council’s overall commitment to 
integrating women into the peacekeeping process as well as to enforce a 
zero-tolerance policy for UN personnel who sexually abuse or exploit civilians. 
UNSCRs 1888 and 1889, adopted in 2009, added more specific measures to 
foster gender mainstreaming in postconflict reconstruction. 19 

Not only the timing of resolutions but also the UN’s framing of gender 
mainstreaming as a solution to prior mission failures bolsters a demand- 
driven explanation. Enlarging the presence of women in peacekeeping mis¬ 
sions evidently reduces cases of exploitation, sexual abuse, and violence 
against women in conflict and unstable postconflict zones for at least three 
reasons. First, the UN considers women necessary participants in peace¬ 
keeping because of traits specific to their gender that allow them to com¬ 
plete and excel at tasks that men cannot perform. The predominant under¬ 
standing of female peacekeepers and their contributions to the mission is 
that they, as women, are uniquely suited to work with victims of sexual vio¬ 
lence. Therefore, they can address instances that occurred during the armed 
conflict or that were perpetrated by peacekeepers, fostering increased ac¬ 
countability in the cases of peacekeeper-perpetrated abuse. Civilians are 
less likely to perceive women as invaders or conquerors, and they have a 
civilizing effect, making the traditionally all-male deployment environment 
seem more like everyday life in society. 20 

Second, in addition to the specific tasks that women may perform better 
than men, a peacekeeping force comprised of both women and men appears 
less intimidating to civilians. Under the dominant logic of UN gender 
mainstreaming, having more women in male-dominated missions improves 
the image of the peacekeeping force on the ground and within the local 
population. 21 Finally, female troops apparently have a pacifying or civilizing 
effect on their male comrades in arms. The presence of women working in 
deployed military and police units approximates “real life” and consequently 


minimizes the aggressive tendencies of peacekeepers who may otherwise 
find themselves swayed by the anarchic, overly masculine, and surreal nature 
of postconflict instability. 22 

In sum, both the timing of and justification for the greater inclusion of 
women in peacekeeping operations support a demand-driven explanation 
for the UN’s gender-mainstreaming initiative. The UN consistently took 
action in response to mission failures on the assumption that the increased 
presence of women would have a beneficial impact on peacekeeping out¬ 
comes. These policy changes have resulted in an increased demand for 
women peacekeepers across all missions since the issuance of UNSCR 1325 
in October 2000. 

The Feasibility of Demand-Driven Gender Mainstreaming 

In light of the evidence pointing to a demand-driven explanation for 
gender mainstreaming, this article now addresses the feasibility of this 
policy initiative. This is important for at least two reasons. First, and most 
obviously, change in UN policies regarding the incorporation of women 
peacekeepers into missions is a crucial step toward achieving gender equality 
in peacekeeping operations. However, the initiative must also account for 
gender realities on the ground and within the TCCs to realize any practical 
success. Second, and following from this, by investigating whether a discon¬ 
nect exists between the gender-mainstreaming policy and the gender com¬ 
positions of troops from contributing countries, this article can evaluate the 
future success of the UN gender-mainstreaming initiative. 

UN Troop-Contribution Data as a Measure of Feasibility 

To determine the feasibility of the gender-mainstreaming policy, we have 
narrowed the focus of the investigation to include the top 10 TCCs as 
identified by the UN. Table 1 includes the rankings of military and police 
contributions by country for 2010, combining police and troop numbers for 
all countries in order to increase the sample size. 

Using figures published by the UN, we disaggregated these total figures 
according to gender composition, presenting the average monthly male and 
female peacekeepers contributed by each country in 2010. Table 2 presents 


the results alongside the average annual percentage of female peacekeepers 
contributed by country for this year of activity 

Table 1. Ranking of military and police contributions by country (2010) 



Average Total per Month 































Source-. UNDPKO, "Ranking of Military and Police Contributions [2010],” accessed 3 August 

Table 2. Gender composition of military and police contributions for the top 10 TCCs in 2010 



Average Total 
per Month 



































































Source-. UNDPKO, “Ranking of Military and Police Contributions [2010],” accessed 3 August 2011, 


According to these results, the average annual female contribution of 
the top 10 peacekeeping countries is 2.2 percent of their total. Of the top- 
ranking military- and police-contributing countries, Jordan has the lowest 
rating with a 0.2 percent annual contribution of women peacekeepers, while 
Ghana tops the table with 8.8 percent. Unfortunately, the gender composi¬ 
tion of the top 10 military- and police-contributing countries is available 
only for 2010. To account for this relative lack of data and to further bolster 
these findings, we engaged in mission-specific research to determine 
whether these macro annual figures reflected microlevel realities. Our 
monthly analysis of troop contributions by the top 10 ranking countries to 
UN peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 
(MONUC), Western Sahara (MINURSO), Central African Republic and 
Chad (MINURCAT), Darfur (UNAMID), and Timor-Leste (UNMIT) 
supported our aggregate annual findings. Analysis of mission contributions 
to operations in Liberia (UNMIL) and Haiti (MINUSTAH), however, 
revealed Bangladesh and India as outliers, both contributing high percent¬ 
ages of women peacekeepers. Further research is necessary to determine the 
cause of this variation. 

Data from the Global Gender Gap Index as a Measure of Feasibility 

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index is a helpful tool 
for researchers seeking to understand the magnitude of disparities between 
men and women nationally, regionally, and globally. The index focuses on 
inequality between men and women within countries, not unequal re¬ 
sources and opportunities across countries. 23 It does so by ranking 
countries according to gaps in men’s and women’s access to and partici¬ 
pation in economics, politics, health, and education and by measuring 
gaps in rather than levels of access to opportunities and resources. The 
index examines gender disparities within four core categories: economic 
participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and sur¬ 
vival, and political empowerment. 24 

We consulted the Global Gender Gap Index rankings for each of the 
top 10 TCCs to assess the gender realities on the ground in each of these 
countries. Because the index ranking is not affected by relative levels of 
development, it offers a fair look at gender realities in these countries. Table 
3 records the index ranking for each of the top-ranked TCCs. 


Table 3. Gender Gap Index ranking of top lOTCCs 

UN TCC Ranking 


Gender Gap Index Ranking 































Source-. Ricardo Hausmann, Laura D. Tyson, and Saadia Zahidi, The Global Gender Gap 
Report (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2010), 8-9, 
/WEF_Gende rGap_Report_2010.pdf. 

We are not attempting to delve into specific domestic gender policies/ 
issues or to indict countries for their gender disparities; rather, we are ad¬ 
dressing a macrolevel view of gender inequality in UN TCCs. Even a brief 
examination of this overall score reveals that the UN gender-mainstreaming 
policy urging greater participation for women in peacekeeping does not 
effectively take gender realities into account. Table 4 pairs the top-ranked 
UN TCCs with their Global Gender Gap Index ranking and troop contri¬ 
butions disaggregated by sex. In pairing the index ranking with the UN 
data on troop contributions, we assert that a disconnect exists between top- 
down UN gender-mainstreaming policy pertaining to peacekeeping opera¬ 
tions and the reality of the gender composition in TCCs. 

Overall Summation of UN and Global Gender Gap Index Data 

Given the troop-contribution data and the Gender Gap score for the top 
TCCs, we argue that the demand-driven approach to gender mainstream¬ 
ing in UN peacekeeping fails to account for gender realities within TCCs. 
Such a top-down approach to improving gender equality in peacekeeping 
missions is likely to encounter only limited success since the TCCs’national 
militaries must first work to integrate women in their ranks. Illustration of 


Table 4. Ranking of military and police contributions paired with Gender Gap Index ranking (2011) 







Male Troops 



















































































the disconnect between UN policy and gender reality in the TCCs further 
supports our argument that UN gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping is 
a demand-driven and reactionary policy instituted in response to previous 
mission failures. 

Policy Implications for a 
Mainstreaming Initiative That Misses the Mark 

When gender dynamics come into play in armed conflicts and when 
efforts to calm hostilities generate unintended consequences, the urgency of 
incorporating gender into the peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts 
increases. International actors are only starting to grasp the necessity of 
recognizing and accounting for gender issues in war. When peacekeeping 
and reconstruction efforts do not account for gender dynamics, they are 
unable to provide appropriate guidance and services, given the gender bal¬ 
ance of the postconflict population and gender-based tactics utilized during 
the conflict. A second consequence resulting from gender-blind stabilization 
and reconstruction—the exacerbation of gender-based exploitation and 
violence perpetrated by peacekeepers and other international actors in the 
field—compromises the legitimacy of the mission, undermines the image 


of peacekeepers, and perpetuates the cycle of gender-based violence in con¬ 
flict zones. 

By ignoring the construction of the masculine soldier, the under¬ 
representation of women in militarized peacekeeping, and established or 
shifting gender norms in the host country, peacekeeping missions have his¬ 
torically led to negative consequences for civilian women. Assumptions of 
gender neutrality and underestimation of the unequal power dynamics 
between civilians and peacekeepers in planning, training for, and executing 
peace operations led to rape, social stigmatization, increased transmission 
of sexually transmitted diseases, and higher demand for human trafficking 
during the peacekeeping missions in the 1990s. 25 The combined impact of 
wars that employed gender-based violence, reconstruction efforts that over¬ 
looked gender issues, and peacekeepers who abused their positions of power 
in postconflict zones awoke the international community to the need to 
consider the very real effects of gender in war and peacekeeping. UNSCR 
1325 laid the groundwork for a solution to these problems in its call for 
enhanced participation of women in peacekeeping and a greater effort to 
incorporate gender considerations when planning and implementing 
missions, but the groundbreaking resolution possesses an air of shortsight¬ 
edness in its call. As we have argued above, the UN’s attempt to mainstream 
gender in peacekeeping ignores the gender realities ofTCCs; in so doing, it 
runs the risk of remaining little more than lofty rhetoric. 

Our assertion that the UN’s demand-driven approach to gender main- 
streaming, one characterized by a reactionary stance to past mission failures 
and embarrassments, raises a very simple but important question: What 
should the UN do about it? We have established the existence of a disconnect 
between UNSCR 1325’s call for women peacekeepers and the gender re¬ 
alities in the top TCCs (as illustrated by the 2010 Global Gender Gap 
Index). What we propose is far from unheard of in UN peacekeeping 
strategy. To correct the top-down nature of the UN’s current approach to 
encouraging greater participation of women in peacekeeping, that organi¬ 
zation must offer incentives for state militaries to contribute female peace¬ 
keepers, just as it does for personnel contributions in general. One such 
incentive may take the form of a larger stipend for TCCs whose personnel 
contributions include a greater percentage of women in all ranks. The cur¬ 
rent stipend of approximately $1,000 (US) per individual per month might 


rise incrementally for each percentage increase of female peacekeepers from 
a given TCC, up to gender parity For instance, a 1 percent increase in the 
number of female peacekeepers could merit a stipend of $1,010 (US) per 
individual per month. To the top TCCs, this small boost in stipend would 
generate a significant amount of financial support for national military in¬ 
stitutions. Although we recognize that financial incentives alone cannot 
close gender gaps and that the process of achieving gender integration in 
national militaries is a very gradual one, our point is simply that the gender¬ 
mainstreaming policy cannot have a substantial effect without offering in¬ 
centives to the countries asked to send their women into conflict zones. 

Conclusions and Further Research 

By employing a theoretical framework informed by the basic economic 
principles of supply and demand, this article has investigated the motiva¬ 
tion for UN attempts to attain gender equality in peacekeeping operations. 
Finding support for a demand-driven explanation of this policy change, it 
utilized data from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and 
the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index to assess the 
feasibility of the gender-mainstreaming initiative. Analysis of the data 
showed a clear disconnect between the UN gender-mainstreaming policy 
and the gender composition of the top TCCs to peacekeeping missions. We 
argue that this disconnect holds important implications for the future success 
of the UN gender-mainstreaming policy and assert that the UN must bolster 
its calls for the greater participation of women with targeted incentives. 

This article represents one step in a broader research project on gender 
mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations. The findings presented herein 
are largely preliminary, due in part to the difficulty in ascertaining the gender 
composition of personnel contributions by country to UN peacekeeping 
missions prior to 2010. As peacekeeping gender-composition data become 
more widely available, further studies might collect information on the 
gender composition of the top 10 military- and police-contributing coun¬ 
tries over a longer period of time and expand the sample size beyond the top 
10 TCCs to test the validity of these initial findings. In addition, aberrant 
cases such as India and Bangladesh warrant further microlevel cross-sectional 
analysis, investigating troop contributions by country and mission. More 
extensive evaluation of these outliers will highlight differences among the 


top TCCs that might help the UN better tailor its gender-mainstreaming 
incentives to increase the number of women across all peacekeeping missions. 


1. UN General Assembly, A Comprehensive Strategy to Eliminate Future Sexual Exploitation and 
Abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations , A/59/710 (New York: UN General Assembly, 24 
March 2005), 7, 

2. Ibid., 7-8. 

3. UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Gender Equality in UN Peacekeeping 
Operations , DPKO Policy Directive (New York: UN DPKO, 3 November 2006), 8, http://www 

4. Sandra Whitworth, Men, Militarism & UN Peacekeeping: A Gendered Analysis (Boulder, CO: 
Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004), 68. 

5. Following UNSCR1325, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 57/306 on 15 April 2003 
urging the secretary-general to address sexual exploitation in peacekeeping operations. In 2005 the 
General Assembly and Secretary-General Kofi Annan commissioned a comprehensive review of 
sexual exploitation in peacekeeping missions. UN General Assembly, Comprehensive Strategy, 10. 

6. Ibid., [1]. 

7. Ibid., 7. 

8. Keith J. Allred, “Peacekeepers and Prostitutes: How Deployed Forces Fuel the Demand for Traf¬ 
ficked Women and New Hope for Stopping It,” Armed Forces a?id Society 33, no. 1 (October 2006): 5-23, 

9. When confronted with complaints about the UN’s omission of sexual assault charges against 
peacekeepers from official peacekeeping documents and accounts, the United Nations Transitional 
Authority in Cambodia expressed the sentiment that “boys will be boys” and that the peacekeeping 
mission in Cambodia was “accomplished in part through the deployment of soldiers who assumed 
that their prerogatives as militarized men included access to prostitutes, as well as a freedom to 
pursue, harass, and assault local women.” Whitworth, Men, Militarism & UN Peacekeeping, 13. This 
expectation of soldiers’ pursuit of female sexual partners in Cambodia grossly overlooks the local 
social norms, which stigmatize and punish girls and women who engage in perceived sexual promis¬ 
cuity, regardless of whether the encounter is consensual or forced. For comprehensive accounts of 
other missions, see Chiyuki Aoi, Cedric de Coning, and Ramesh Thakur, eds., Unintended Conse¬ 
quences of Peacekeeping Operations (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2007). For the UN’s take 
on these missions, see UN General Assembly, Comprehensive Strategy. 

10. UN General Assembly, Comprehensive Strategy, [1]. 

11. Ibid. 

12. UN Security Council, S/Res/1888, 30 September 2009, 
/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1888(2009); and UN Security Council, S/Res/1889, 5 October 


13. Gerard J. DeGroot, “A Few Good Women: Gender Stereotypes, the Military and Peace¬ 
keeping,” in Women and International Peacekeeping , ed. Louise Olsson and Torunn L. Tryggestad 
(London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2001), 28. 

14. Ibid., 32. 

15. UN General Assembly, Comprehensive Strategy, 1-2, 7. 

16. UNDPKO, Gender Equality, 3. 

17. UN General Assembly, Comprehensive Strategy, 7. 

18. Ibid. 

19. UN Security Council, S/Res/1888; and UN Security Council, S/Res/1889. 

20. Louise Olsson and Torunn L. Tryggestad, “Introduction,” in Olsson and Tryggestad, Women 
and International Peacekeeping, 2. 

21. DeGroot, “Few Good Women,” 34. 

22. Doreen Carvajal, “A Female Approach to Peacekeeping,” New York Times, 5 March 2010, ca/06iht-ffpeace.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. 

23. Ricardo Hausmann, Laura D. Tyson, and Saadia Zahidi, The Global Gender Gap Report 
(Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2010), 3, 

24. Ibid., 4. 

25. Whitworth, Men, Militarism £sf UN Peacekeeping, 12-17.