National Security Indicator
by Colonel Daniel M. Smith, Ret.
(Updated March 2005)
The World at War, January 1, 2005…
The War Count
From the U.S. perspective, Iraq again is the focal point of the World at War. But it is neither the only nor the most devastating armed conflict underway at the beginning of 2005. Fighting in both Nepal and the Darfur region of Sudan arguably is as lethal and affects as many people both directly and in neighboring countries.
As 2005 began, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (http://www.fcnl.org/) registered 23 significant ongoing armed conflicts (1,000 or more deaths) and another 27 “hot spots” that could slide into or revert to war. The total number of actual conflicts is two more than the 1998 all-time low of 21 in the 16 years of this annual survey, but the net decrease from 2004 was only one as Ivory Coast and Haiti returned to the list. In addition to Washington’s “world wide war on terror” (WWWT), distribution by region in 2004 of the remaining 22 significant armed conflicts is: Asia, 7; Africa, 7; Middle East, 3; Americas, 4; and Europe, 1.
As welcome as is this decline, there is another, less encouraging trend: world military spending is accelerating after declines throughout most of the 1990s and only small increases during 1998-2001. In 2002, spending jumped 6.5 percent followed by an 11 percent spurt in 2003. For 2004, the world’s military spending will be approximately $975 billion – within spitting range of one trillion dollars. The country driving up these totals is the United States which finds itself spending $5.5 billion per week in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. military expenditures, including supplemental authorizations for warfighting will be in the neighborhood of $475 billion for 2004 (including the $25 billion in the 2005 appropriations bill that was available in 2004). A 2005 supplemental expected to total between $75-$100 billion could see the Defense budget go over half a trillion. The following two tables identify significant conflicts and other low-level violence.
…AND ORGANIZING FOR PEACE
At the start of 2004, it seemed that negotiations between warring parties would reach sufficient resolution that two new peacekeeping missions would be requested: Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan. As events unfolded, Cote d’Ivoire’s mission (UNOCI) had to be anchored by a separate French force as violations of the cease-fire occurred often, including a bombing run by two jets from Cote d’Ivoire’s small air force that killed nine French soldiers. Approximately 1,000 French soldiers were in Cote d’Ivoire as 2005 began.
The Sudan talks to end that country’s 22-year long insurgency of the Christian and animist south against the Muslim Arab north literally stretched to the last day of the year, precluding the expected deployment of a UN mission in 2004. However, in what is an apparent first for the UN, the Security Council approved a plan to place a 300-strong preliminary or preparatory mission in Sudan in anticipation that a final peace agreement would be reached in early 2005 and a peacekeeping force of monitors and observers sent.
Meantime, in Sudan’s western Darfur region, a second insurgency produced a separate wave of terrified displaced persons and refugees who overwhelmed camps along the Sudanese-Chad border in the summer and autumn. Anxious not to jeopardize the north-side pact, the UN, regional organizations, and outside powers initially declined to become deeply engaged in the Darfur controversy. Only when heavy rains threatened to completely shut down the already struggling humanitarian relief effort by nongovernmental organizations did money, consumables, equipment, and people began to flow. The African Union (AU), with the concurrence of the UN Security Council and transports from the U.S., sent the first 300 of an authorized 3,400 soldiers to Darfur to protect the camps from outside attack. What remains a problem is the attitude of the Khartoum government and the actions by government soldiers ostensibly sent to stop the “renegades.”
In addition to UNOCI, two other traditional peace keeping missions began in 2004. The Burundi mission (ONUB) came about after an unexpected breakthrough in talks accelerated the pace of agreements. The Haiti mission (MINUSTAH) was required after the forced exile of President Jean-Baptiste Aristide plunged that economically destitute land into even greater political chaos.
Initially, with UN and OAS acquiescence, a U.S.-led ad hoc Multinational Intervention Force provided enough stability for Haitians to form a transitional administration. After three months this force was replaced by a UN mission headed by Brazil. Interestingly, for the first time in UN history, the People’s Republic of China contributed a company of police to a UN peacekeeping effort.
Since the first peacekeeping mission in 1948, the Security Council has mandated 59 United Nations peace, humanitarian, and observer missions through January 1, 2005. Most (35) were initiated during the 1990s. Six more were authorized after January 1, 2000: the UN Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE), the UN Mission in Support of East Timor (UNMISET), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the three already mentioned for 2004.
As of January 1, 2005, 16 formal “blue helmet” peacekeeping missions still exist. Total uniformed international personnel on the ground were 64,700, a figure not seen since 1995 and an increase of more than 16,000 from January 2004. Of these 64,700, just over 55,900 were troops, 2,050 were military observers, and 6,675 were civilian police. Had the Sierra Leone force (UNAMSIL) been anywhere close to its authorized strength of 17,500 (instead of the actual 4,200) and had the Democratic Republic of Congo mission (MONUC) added the 5,000 troops it was short, the total uniformed personnel would have exceeded 80,000. As it is, MONUC, UNMIL (Liberia) and MINUSTAH (Haiti) account for 35,800 UN peacekeepers – fully 55 percent of the total.
The U.S. contribution is 429, a decrease of 89 since the start of 2004, in seven missions – 404 civilian police, 17 military observers, and eight “troops” (three in Haiti and five in Liberia). The U.S. ranks 28th out of 102 countries that have deployed uniformed personnel on UN peacekeeping missions
Of the 1,957 peacekeepers killed in the line of duty through the end of 2004, 91 died in 2004. Overall U.S. fatalities stand at 57, with 30 deaths coming in UNOSOM II (1993-95) in Somalia.
The General Assembly initially approved a budget of $2.8 billion dollars for the UN fiscal year July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005. In October, 2004, it appropriated and additional $659 million to cover the three missions started in 2004 and two that were restructured: UNMISET and UNAMSIL. At $3.4 billion, UN peacekeeping is a bargain: UN Under-Secretary-General Jean Marie Guehenno, head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, noted that spending on peacekeeping is less than one-half of one percent of global military spending and a fraction of the estimated $120 billion annual cost of civil wars. When compared to U.S. spending on military activities for Fiscal Year 2005 – two military spending supplemental appropriations expected to total $100 billion, the basic Defense Department appropriation of $400.6 billion, and the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons spending of $20 billion – the UN peacekeeping budget comes to .65 percent of just U.S. military spending.
In addition to the sixteen peacekeeping operations, the UN maintains 11 political and peace building missions staffed by 570 international civilians and 50 military and civilian police advisors and observers. This is down from 13 at the beginning of 2004. Two missions, Cote d’Ivoire and Burundi, were converted to traditional peacekeeping operations, Guatemala was completed, and the Advanced Mission to Sudan started. Locations for the remaining ten missions are Afghanistan and Iraq (already noted in the table above), Bougainville, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Tajikistan, Great Lakes Region (Africa), Middle East, and West Africa.
The UN Secretary-General also has 54 Special Advisors, Representatives, Envoys/Executive Coordinators (plus a number of deputies). Eight have regional peace missions (Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Europe, and Commonwealth of Independent States), 27 work in individual countries, and 19 have specialized areas such as HIV/AIDS. Twelve of the 35 peace envoys are tied to various peacekeeping operations.
Lastly, focusing closer on the U.S., it appears the lesson of Vietnam that was repeated in Iraq – that winning a war requires winning the peace – may finally be making an impression on the politicians. The Fiscal Year 2005 State Department funding legislation that was part of the Omnibus Spending Bill signed by President Bush created within the department an “Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization” to act as the inter-agency focal point for these post-war activities. It has a staff of 36 and has identified a requirement for 312 more – plus 400 in the “Standby Corps of Active Response Corps” graduates.
The fact that in the last 15 years the U.S. has participated in seven major post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization operations (Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia, Afghanistan, Iraq) and contributed significant resources to more than a dozen others, suggests that creation of this office is long overdue. Moreover, as experienced analysts note, the skills necessary to succeed in post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization are the same set necessary to preclude the outbreak of conflict in the first instance.
Will the Coordinator and his staff make a difference? Possibly, but they will need additional people and money. (The office calculates it needs nearly $300 million; expected funding in the FY2006 budget is only $100 million.)
The heart of the effort lies in creating a civilian response corps and identifying standby (on-call) civilian capabilities that will improve joint civil-military planning and build a capacity for early deployment of civilians with military units – DURING hostilities – to facilitate a smoother transition from military to civilian control.
Two statistics encapsulate the challenge: most post-conflict operations seem to require five-to-ten years for success, and 50 percent of countries trying to emerge from conflict situations fall back into conflict in the first five years. Thus the need will be with us for decades.