Peace Missions: a canadian aid to the room, but where?

Photo: Souleymane Ag Anara Agence France-Presse
The operation MINUSMA, in Mali, is one of the missions for the un the most dangerous.

Rather than the traditional mission of maintaining the peace with a single battalion of peacekeepers canadians in a particular country, Justin Trudeau announced the canadian army will help the united Nations operations by providing aircraft, helicopters and training. A contribution that responds to requests from the UN, a cruel lack of means, but that remains to tie up. What missions would appeal to the workforce canadian ?

The united Nations had prepared, in view of the international conference in Vancouver on its peace missions, an overview of its needs on the ground. Because the united Nations wanted its member countries to alter their way to help. “We affirmed the need to go beyond the traditional models of pledges and deployment, in order to consider ways to ensure that several countries could share the burden of providing the capabilities that are the most requested “, supported by the 67 signatories of the final statement of the meeting this week.


The canadian prime minister did not deviate from his line : his promise of a contribution was a help to the room, to support the peacekeeping missions of the un to the need. Up to two transport planes and six helicopters — four Griffins and two Chinooks will be deployed over the next five years. A rapid response team of about 200 canadian soldiers will also be at the disposal of the united nations, to help manage a crisis or an emergency situation of short duration. Not to mention a possible aid to the training of peacekeepers on bases in africa or in other countries.


The Trudeau government now wants to address the demands of the united Nations. It is therefore Impossible to know how many soldiers could be deployed and in what regions. All will depend of the missions, it is argued, explaining that four helicopters dispatched to fight forest fires in British Columbia would involve a hundred soldiers, while a Hercules transport aircraft sent into a dangerous area, where the army needs to create an air base and ensure its protection, may require of him only 600 soldiers.


The liberals are banging, however, that the 600 soldiers and 150 police officers that they had promised to provide to the UN in the summer of 2016 will be actually available. It remains to specify the distribution.


The united Nations are currently 15 peacekeeping missions of peace. The canadian contribution is a floor record. Only 25 canadian soldiers participate in un operations — ten in South Sudan, nine in Congo, five in the Middle East and Cyprus, with one-quarter of the canadian soldiers who were part of a peacekeeping mission when Justin Trudeau took over the reins of the government.


What happens in Mali ?


For the past two years, a canadian response to the Mali option was the most often referred to. Officials had prepared scenarios of mission for the government. Despite persistent rumours, no announcement ever came.


The operation MINUSMA, in Mali, is one of the missions for the un the most dangerous. Almost 15 000 people found there — including 11 200 soldiers of the contingent and 1700 police officers, according to data from the united nations last month. Since 2013, the mission reported 146 dead. Almost all of them, however, would be members of the armed poorly trained — Chad, Senegal or Burkina Faso, ” notes Jocelyn Coulon, a researcher at CERIUM and former adviser to the ex-minister of foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion.


Canada could still lend a hand in Mali, conceded officials this week. A canadian team of air transport will be sent to Uganda, announced on Wednesday, Justin Trudeau, where the UN has a regional base of 80 000 military and police personnel serving its various missions on the african continent. The government has not specified which of their devices will support it.


But the MINUSMA is one of the three missions in which the united nations called for a helping hand urgent in a report detailing his needs and handed over to member countries in preparation for the conference in Vancouver.


The united Nations say they need a team of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the town of Kidal, in the north-east of Mali. They are also calling for reinforcements and a helicopter and armed his crew, and a police unit that can intervene in shore land.


“The deficiencies, the most glaring are the MINUSMA “, concluded the report.


The central african republic and South Sudan


The united Nations there were, however, also report a lack of staffing in two other regions of the most unstable.


The operation UNMISS, business in South Sudan after the creation of the country in 2011, a total of 17 000 people — 12 of 400 soldiers of the contingent, and 1,600 police officers. She has made 51 dead.


The UN needs a team of special forces that can be deployed on the ground quickly, that a unit of soldiers to recognition armed. The mission also requires a transport unit and 30 prison agents. The united Nations has a second operation of about 4800 people in the Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan.


In the central african Republic, which are based 13 700 soldiers un — of which 10 000 soldiers of the contingent and 2000 police officers, the international organization would need of 20 agents penitentiaries, according to his report circulated to member countries in may last.


The representatives of the united Nations would have discussed with Ottawa, according to The canadian Press, sending helicopters to Mali and a rapid-response team on the Golan heights, where the un peacekeepers are patrolling the border between Israel and Syria since 1974 to enforce a cease-fire. A little more than 1100 people there are stationed there currently — including 950 soldiers of the contingent. The mission made 48 dead.


Less risky in Haiti


The blue Helmets of military personnel have left Haiti this fall, but the UN still has a contingent of 1200 police officers. His mission was not ranked among the most short of reinforcements, in its report. The canadian government would think of, however, to contribute to it.


The field of operation “is far from being as dangerous” as in the african missions, ” notes the analyst of defense David Perry, of the canadian Institute of world affairs. “Haiti is not the theatre of an organised group jihadist on a large scale, which is leading a campaign of insurgency and terrorist activities, such as in Mali. “


The UN has nine other missions throughout the world.


The canadian government has conceded this week that it could take six to nine months before any of its operations officially begins, the time to decide where and how to help the UN. “It has been a long journey to get there,” commented a source un at the CBC this week, after the announcement of prime minister Trudeau. “And obviously we look forward to having a significant contribution to Canada as soon as possible. “

Ce text is part of our “Outlook” section.

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