ABSTRACT

The year 2010 was a difficult one for UN peacekeeping. On 31 December, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad officially completed its withdrawal at the request of the Chadian government, after less than three years on the ground. The President of Chad, Idriss Déby, insisted that the mission was useless and unable to fulfil its civilian protection mandate. In the same period, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila, asked for the progressive withdrawal of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), one of the most substantial recent UN operations in terms of duration, personnel and financial burden. Kabila’s request for the completion of the withdrawal after the 2011 presidential elections was unreal istic, but the mission was downsized and renamed the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). In Côte d’Ivoire, after certifying the victory at the polls of opponent Alassane Dramane Ouattara in December, the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) was ordered to leave the country by incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo. The mission refused to comply, but Gbagbo’s hostility to its presence meant its inability to fulfil its mandate, and the situation developed into open conflict between President Gbagbo and UNOCI in 2011. The difficulties that the UN experienced in Chad, the DRC and Côte d’Ivoire did not stem from organizational or technical shortcomings but from a more fundamental challenge: the deterioration of the peacekeepers’ relationship with the authorities of the African states where they were deployed, which culminated in the withdrawal of the state’s consent to UN operations.1