Regional Peacekeeping in the Developing World: Conditions That Permit for a Successful Peacekeeping Campaign


Regional regimes in the developing world have accepted more responsibilities in order to address the security and stability issues that exist within their often-volatile member-states. One of the major ways regional organizations in the developing world have expanded their responsibilities is through the deployment of peacekeeping forces into conflicts within their respected regions. This research analyzes the humanitarian peacekeeping interventions led by regional organizations in the developing world and presents results seeking to shed light on the success of these humanitarian interventions and whether they are the better option versus allowing the conflicts to evolve. Specifically, this study finds that humanitarian peacekeeping interventions by regional organizations must be cohesively undertaken with a salient force that encompasses a clear mandate and demonstrates commitment to the mission in order to achieve success. I employ three measures of regional peacekeeping missions in order to achieve a robust measure of success. The first measure is whether there was a continuation of conflict after the peacekeepers entered the conflict. The second is whether there was a continuation of conflict one year after the peacekeepers left the conflict. The third is whether a peace treaty was signed by the warring factions while the peacekeepers were present in the conflict. Based on three logistic regression models, I find statistically significant support for the positive effects of having a clear mandate for successful peacekeeping missions.

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    The purpose of this research is to assess the characteristics of peacekeeping operations by regional organizations with the goal of answering this question; what particular conditions make peacekeeping operations by regional organizations successful? The saliency of this issue continues to increase as regionally led peacekeeping operations are becoming more common in the developing world, yet prior research on this topic has centered mainly on missions conducted Under the umbrella of the United Nations. There is evidence that U.N. peacekeeping missions do have a positive effect on peace, but peacekeeping operations conducted by regional organizations are usually different in nature. Therefore, success should be measured differently across organizations. Furthermore, regional organizations continue to play a greater role in conflict management, particularly in regions such as Africa, as the U.N. simply does not have the manpower to send peacekeepers everywhere conflict occurs.

    In assessing the success of regional peacekeeping operations, I employ three measures of success that monitor behavioral changes in the conflict when the peacekeepers are introduced. The first is whether the conflict continued after the arrival of the peacekeepers; second, was there was a resumption of conflict one year after the peacekeepers left, and third, was a peace treaty signed by the warring factions during the peacekeeping operation. Out of all the main potential explanations of success, the presence of a clear mandate for the peacekeeping mission proved to be the single most important statistically of the measures of success. This is very interesting because it counters other major conceptions of what makes peacekeeping missions successful, such as whether or not the mission is led by a major power (Sambanis & Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007).

    The next section of this research is the literature review, which provides an overview of the topic of peacekeeping and provides case study examples of prior regional peacekeeping operations. Following the literature review is the theory development, which provides the main arguments of how regional peacekeeping operations can become successful. The theory section leads into the research design where the process of data gathering and testing of the main hypotheses is outlined. The analysis follows the design, which addresses the results, including the importance of clear mandates to regional peacekeeping operations. Finally, the conclusion identifies the implications of the major findings not only to regional organizations in the developing world, but also to the international community.

    Literature Review: A Survey of Peacekeeping

    Regional Regimes in the 21st Century

    The role of regional organizations in the developing world has never before been as important as it currently stands. Although the primary purpose of regional regimes is to foster development and integration in their respective regions, they have often been placed in a position to resolve civil conflicts within member-states in an effort to maintain stability within the region. This contributed to an expansion of the roles of regional organizations in the developing world in order to address security and stability issues that exist within the often volatile member-states. Cawthra asserts that the change in mandates and the subsequent role expansion of regional organizations stemmed from common regional interests, threats, and challenges, which allowed for further integration within the regions as the states attempted to cohesively resolve these issues (Cawthra, 2008). In this manner, regional organizations can manage issues that are indigenous to their region as well as problems that major powers no longer are willing to handle (Thornton, 1991).

    Many compelling works by scholars including Fortna (2004), Sambanis and Schulhofer-Wohl (2007), and Rost and Greig (Forthcoming) have addressed issues pertaining to the matter of peacekeeping. This research offers an empirical analysis of humanitarian peacekeeping interventions by regional organizations in order to understand the success of the interventions and to identify areas of improvement for future assignments. The areas of improvement include the need to more effectively capitalize on some of the perceived advantages of regional peacekeeping interventions and how to cope with the major structural deficiencies that often characterize these organizations. To determine the success of these humanitarian interventions, some major trends of conflicts will be monitored before and after the actual deployment of the peacekeeping force to include the number of refugees produced by the conflict as well as the overall intensity and deadliness of the conflict. Through an assessment of these trends, this study seeks to produce a generalization of how a successful humanitarian intervention should appear.

    Usefulness of Peacekeeping:

    The first topic of interest concerning peacekeeping operations is to determine whether they are truly effective and useful in the first place. In her 2004 piece, Fortna argued that peacekeeping after civil wars makes vital contributions to the post-conflict durability of peace and finds that in cases where U.N. peacekeepers were employed, the risk of resumed fighting dropped by 70 percent. Therefore, peacekeeping has a statistically significant positive effect on the durability of peace (Fortna, 2004). These findings are highly significant in displaying the utility of peace operations as they clearly demonstrate the positive effects they have on peace durability. The legitimacy of U.N. peacekeeping operations is evident, but there is little focus on the effects of interventions by regional organizations in the current seminal literature. Therefore, this research seeks to fill this gap by focusing on humanitarian peacekeeping missions by regional organizations in the developing world in order to determine the effectiveness and utility of such operations.

    While the seminal literature such as Fortna’s piece generally agrees with the overall importance of peacekeeping missions and the legitimacy of U.N. peacekeeping missions, what about the peacekeeping efforts of non-U.N. peacekeeping missions such as those by regional organizations? This has been a contentious issue as the reports on the success of these missions tend to deliver mixed results. Sambanis and Schulhofer-Wohl focus on this issue as they argue that non-U.N. peace operations have had no statistically significant effect on successful peace building. By empirically comparing the success of non-U.N. peacekeeping missions to U.N. peacekeeping missions, Sambanis and Schulhofer-Wohl found that non-U.N. peace operations that are not conducted by developed countries have no statistically significant effect on peace duration (Sambanis & Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007). While these findings are highly intriguing, they do not specifically address the issue of whether humanitarian peacekeeping interventions conducted by regional organizations have been successful nor do they explain how they could improve. In addition, Sambanis and Schulhofer-Wohl aggregate all non-U.N. peacekeeping missions and, consequently, fail to acknowledge the differences among the organizations themselves as well as the differences in their mandates and interventions (Sambanis & Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007). In the case of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), an evaluation of their peacekeeping success would most likely produce mixed findings. However, the main objective for launching an intervention in regional conflicts was primarily for “humanitarian” purposes as they attempted to prevent mass killings and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the conflicts in which they have intervened (Levitt, 1998). Therefore, simply a containment of the conflict and preventing it from intensifying could demonstrate a level of success for ECOMOG.

    Incentives to Intervene with Peacekeepers:

    A second major topic concerning peacekeeping is the issue of when and why third parties intervene with peacekeepers. This is important because the factors that may cause a third party to intervene can determine not only the nature of the intervention, but it can also influence the success of the particular mission. Previous studies suggest that a state’s decision to intervene depends on the past relationship between the intervening state and the targeted state as countries conducting peacekeeping missions are more likely to choose former colonies, military allies, trade partners, and countries with ethnic ties (Rost & Greig, 2010). Yet this argument does not explain success or the nature of the interventions by regional organizations, as they are not comprised of a single state. In one example, the main state that drives ECOMOG (the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) both financially and militarily is Nigeria. One could argue that Nigeria’s rationale for the deployment of ECOMOG peacekeepers into regional conflicts was mainly to foster stability in the region. A civil conflict commonly creates large numbers of refugees, and also has the potential of spreading into neighboring states and therefore could destabilize a region politically and economically. Hence, allowing conflicts to continue in the states ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) has intervened in could have increased refugee flows, further destroyed the economic output of the region, and discouraged foreign investors from venturing into the region (Howe, 1996). This, in turn, would have severely destabilized the region and more economically advanced states in the region such as Nigeria would have taken the brunt of the negative consequences. Therefore, in the conflicts in which ECOMOG intervened, success could also be measured in terms of whether or not the conflicts were contained by the intervening force or if they continued to intensify and spread throughout the region.

    Furthermore, in addition to state interests, the urgency of the conflict may also be a significant indicator of whether a state will send a peacekeeping force (Rost & Greig 2010). Urgency here refers to how quickly the situation deteriorates and conflict intensifies. Therefore, ECOMOG’s past deployments cannot solely be explained through the economic interests of Nigeria in the region, although Rost and Greig’s findings would also suggest that a non-global power like Nigeria is more susceptible to intervening because of trade ties, as Nigeria holds 33.40 percent of all intra-regional imports in the region (Dapaah-Agymang, 2003). In addition to economic issues driving intervention, the lack of a serious response from Western states also provides a potential source for intervention. In the early 1990s, the United States, along with the rest of the world, focused on Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Furthermore, after the 1993 peacekeeping tragedy in Somalia, the U.S. and other Western states grew more hesitant about involving themselves in peacekeeping operations in conflicts that did not directly threaten their national interests. During this period, the U.N. found itself overloaded with responsibilities, which prohibited it from restoring an immediate peace in Rwanda and Somalia. These developments added to the incentives for ECOWAS in its interventions and regional peacekeeping campaigns. It was up to the leaders of ECOWAS to maintain peace and stability in their regions, and failing to do so would, first and foremost, damage the organization. This is the source of the motivation to act quickly in hopes of containing the conflict and keeping it from intensifying and spreading.

    Peacekeeping “Humanitarian” Interventions:

    A third recurring theme in all ECOMOG interventions as well as another factor which advocated for the deployment of ECOMOG was the effort to prevent humanitarian disasters. The necessity of humanitarian interventions served as a driving force for ECOWAS to introduce ECOMOG peacekeepers into conflicts that have erupted in West Africa since 1990. During this period, ECOMOG launched multiple missions in at least three separate conflicts in the region including the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau. Levitt analyzed the legality of humanitarian interventions by ECOWAS into these conflicts and argued that in the current international system when a government collapses or has been violently and illegally dislodged against the will of its domestic population, the international community seems to have accepted a new norm regarding interventions. Specifically, Levitt contends that the norm permits the use of unilateral force in a humanitarian intervention to prevent grave human rights abuses, or to avoid a state’s descent into anarchy, and for the purpose of protecting a democratic institution. This particularly provided the justification used by ECOWAS for its interventions as it claimed to prevent states with civil conflict from sliding into anarchy, which would in turn create a humanitarian catastrophe (Levitt, 1998).

    Despite the literature regarding peacekeeping missions in general and several case studies focusing on the peacekeeping of regional organizations, there has been limited work on the success of regional interventions. Therefore, from the case studies of the interventions by ECOMOG, Stephen Burgess concludes that multilateral peace and enforcement interventionism have produced mixed results in West Africa (Burgess, 1998).

    Case Study Analysis of Regional Peacekeeping Interventions:

    Based on the case of the multiple interventions by ECOMOG, one can determine several general findings about regional humanitarian peacekeeping interventions. First, regional humanitarian interventions tend to demonstrate a high commitment by regional organizations to their missions. In Liberia alone, “Nigeria suffered perhaps six hundred killed in action and spent perhaps a billion dollars, above the normal operating costs, on a conflict that did not directly affect its own security, at a time when its 1995 foreign debt was $35 billion. No Western nation, especially following the Somalian intervention, could match such commitment” (Howe, 1996). Regional organizations tend to be far more willing to accept the dangers of sending peacekeepers into a conflict and accepting the casualties that may accompany it. Member-states of a regional organization commonly share contiguous borders or exist in close proximity with the state involved in the conflict. They are, therefore, more likely to experience the effects of the conflict both directly and indirectly, and thus the potential costs of not intervening in a conflict and allowing it to possibly spread throughout the region outweigh the cost of deploying peacekeepers. Second, regional peacekeeping intervention favors regional organizations as they retain a strategic military advantage as well as an overall knowledge of the region. Finally, regional interventions tend to enjoy more political acceptance in their regions, although it should be noted that U.N. missions on average enjoy high credibility as well (Sambanis & Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007).

    Regional interventions in the developing world have also displayed negative trends to include logistical issues, particularly the difficulty of obtaining a consensus among all of the states within the regional organization regarding an intervention plan. In this case, members may be cautious of allowing one state to obtain regional dominance over the other states. Second, Okolo contends that there is often a power struggle among member-states over the unequal sharing of economic gains with regional organizations in the developing world (Okolo, 1985). This explains the wariness some ECOWAS states felt towards Nigeria which dominates the organization economically. During the 1990 mission in Liberia, the caution of some ECOWAS states damaged the overall mission when not all member states were willing to provide full support to the mission. Third, interventions by regional organizations are often underfunded or one state may bear the bulk of financial responsibility. In the case of ECOMOG, Nigeria possesses the largest financial and manpower resources for ECOMOG intervention missions (Yoroms, 1993). These are major impediments that could derail any peacekeeping operation.

    With the detailed list of the advantages and disadvantages of ECOMOG, the question concerning how ECOMOG has performed in its interventions needs to be addressed. In examining the performance of ECOWAS in regional peacekeeping interventions, Howe argues that without adequate resources and military capabilities, political support, and a clear mandate, any peacekeeping operation will most likely be a failure (Howe, 1996). Carment and Rowlands further drive this idea in their findings that intensive peacekeeping interventions do not always work, especially when the salience of the third party is low. With scarce resources and high costs, high intensity interventions become difficult to implement (Carment & Rowlands, 1998). This finding was demonstrated in the 1990 ECOMOG mission in Liberia where the mission intervened into the Liberian conflict without full political support from ECOWAS member-states, without enough troops (just 2700), and without a clear mandate. This made the first few years of the ECOMOG mission in Liberia very difficult as the mission suffered from severe structural flaws, including major administrative and logistical problems (Yorums, 1993). Although the ECOMOG interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone most likely saved hundreds of thousands from death and suffering, these interventions also illuminated some of the major blunders and structural deficiencies of ECOMOG.

    The United Nations also experienced similar shortcomings and failures in its first intervention in Liberia when its mission, UNOMIL, collaborated with ECOMOG on a joint peace mission. Adibe examined the effects of the ECOMOG-UNOMIL partnership on the peace process in Liberia in the early 1990s and concluded that peace efforts failed because both sides failed to accomplish their duties. One of the major failures of the joint mission was the parallel command structure maintained by ECOMOG and UNOMIL, which was highly dysfunctional. ECOMOG did not subordinate to UNOMIL, thus effectively making UNOMIL a participant in the conflict resolution process (Adibe, 1997). Since their first partnership, ECOWAS and the United Nations continue to collaborate on peacekeeping issues with the hopes of learning from each other’s prior missions. This may be the future of peacekeeping in the developing world with missions that are jointly undertaken by a regional organization and the U.N., so it should be a future research issue.

    As demonstrated in this review of the seminal literature, the lack of an empirical study measuring what conditions allow for a successful humanitarian peacekeeping intervention by a regional organization is clear. In response to this discrepancy, this research seeks to provide an empirical explanation by monitoring the behavioral changes in the conflicts where a regional peacekeeping force was introduced. Specifically, this study argues that the success of a humanitarian peacekeeping intervention by a regional organization stems from the existence of a salient force, a clear mandate, and the commitment of the organization to the mission.

    Theoretical Argument

    Since the end of the Cold War, regional organizations in the developing world have accepted more responsibilities in order to address the security and stability issues that exist in often-volatile member-states. One of the major ways regional organizations in the developing world have expanded their responsibilities is through the deployment of peacekeeping forces into conflicts in their respected regions. This research analyzes the peacekeeping interventions by regional organizations in the developing world and presents results seeking to shed light on the success of the interventions and whether they are a better option than allowing conflicts to evolve. Specifically, this study argues that peacekeeping interventions by a regional organization must be cohesively undertaken with a salient force that encompasses a clear mandate and a demonstrated commitment to the mission in order to achieve success.

    First, this study defines a salient force as a peacekeeping force that possesses a large enough number of well-trained troops and arms to participate in a sustainable fight against a rebel group for the particular mission. The intervening force, with a primary objective of providing security, must be equipped with at least as many troops as those of  the warring factions in the conflict and possess the ability to police the communities within the region that are often in chaos due to the war-torn environment. This is integral to the peacekeeping mission because an intervention with an insufficient number of troops makes it difficult to police the civilian population within the area the peacekeepers are deployed. Thus, an insufficient number of troops often results in the peacekeeping force being incapable of carrying out the basic tasks of peacekeeping and peace enforcement. It is also important to note that the state leading the intervention is critical to the factor of force saliency. A state with military projection capabilities in the region must lead the intervention to ensure the capacity of the troops. This allows for the intervening force to resemble a credible force that is ready and willing to participate in peace-enforcement operations when deployed.

    Second, an intervention that encompasses a clear mandate provides a carefully devised plan of attack with specific mission goals and objectives prior to the intervention. This is required for a successful intervention because the deployment of a peacekeeping mission without carefully planned intervention objectives or a clear course of direction will lead to overall disorganization and confusion among the forces. The lack of direction also increases the possibility for regiments within the intervention to lose sight of the overall goal, thus creating a loss of morale for the peacekeepers. Therefore, a carefully devised and clearly defined set of objectives as well as the ability to create a high level of morale for the peacekeepers during a peacekeeping intervention are highly significant for achieving success during a regional humanitarian peacekeeping intervention.

    Furthermore, a mission with a clear mandate signals that the organization is undertaking the mission cohesively. A cohesively undertaken operation specifically refers to the participation in the mission of all the member-states of a regional organization. Within a cohesively undertaken operation, there are no divisions between states concerning the necessity of the mission and no divisions as to their various responsibilities in terms of their contributions to the mission. Furthermore, there is a clear consensus on what is expected from each state for the mission.  A cohesively undertaken mission prevents states within the organization from participating in counter-productive activities that could jeopardize the mission. Counter-productive activities occur when one state does not fully support the mission and acts in its own interest instead of the interests of the organization as a whole. These actions range from ignoring their expected contributions, such as troop contributions, to actually militarily supporting the rebel groups that the mission is targeting. A clear example of this issue is demonstrated in the 1990 ECOMOG intervention in Liberia when some of the Francophone states including Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire supported the insurgents that were fighting ECOMOG forces (Howe, 1996). When a mission is cohesive, it increases the possibilities for success because it has all of the member-states’ political and financial support and there is no one state participating in any actions that could endanger the mission. This prevents the burden of responsibility from resting solely on one state since several states will be participating in the mission with a common goal.

    Third, a potential reason for a regional humanitarian peacekeeping intervention could be because of the organization’s security interests being at stake if a conflict continues. This, in turn, establishes a commitment criterion for the intervening force. The potential devastating stability and security costs of the conflict to the member-states of the organization are two of the main forces driving the intervention. For example, the conflict may produce a spillover of refugees into neighboring states, which could also be a source of instability. The threat of the consequences of the spread of conflict compels regional peacekeeping intervention forces to demonstrate high levels of commitment to the extent that they will accept peacekeeping casualties and the economic strains that a prolonged intervention may cause. An intervening force that is not willing to suffer significant casualties would be virtually unable to hold its ground in a civil conflict with mounting losses and is, therefore, more likely to abort the mission. The intervention by the United States in Somalia in 1993 provides an example of this phenomenon as the death of eighteen soldiers led to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country. Although other reasons contributed to the withdrawal of the United States, the U.S. commitment level in Somalia could also be questioned. Therefore, a committed peacekeeping intervention force that is able to bear the economic costs and casualties of war is highly significant and essential for a successful humanitarian peacekeeping intervention. The presence of these three characteristics to any humanitarian peacekeeping operation drastically increases the possibility of success of the mission. It makes it more likely to produce positive behavioral changes within the conflict such as decreasing the refugee flow, civilian deaths, and the overall intensity of the conflict.

    The hypotheses for this research are as follows:

    Hypothesis 1: A clear mandate increases the likelihood of a successful peacekeeping mission. 
    Hypothesis 2: A salient intervening force increases the likelihood of a successful peacekeeping mission.
    Hypothesis 3: A committed intervening force increases the likelihood of a successful peacekeeping mission.

    Research Methodology

    The primary dataset used for this research is the Third Party Peacekeeping Missions 1946 – 2006 dataset by Mullenbach and Dixon. Mullenbach and Dixon collected data and coded various features of peacekeeping missions from 1946 to 2006 in order to determine the behaviors of peacekeeping missions. For the purpose of this research, the unit of analysis is the actual peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organizations in order to discover common trends among successful and unsuccessful peacekeeping operations. To measure the relationship between my dependent and explanatory variables, I use the logistic regression method. Furthermore, in order to measure the marginal effects of the statistically significant explanatory variables on the three measures of success, I utilize the Clarify Software by King, Tomz, and Wittenberg. In order to achieve a robust measure of success, this research employs three variables from the Mullenbach and Dixon dataset to measure the dependent variable of success of regional peacekeeping missions.

    The first measure of regional peacekeeping mission success is whether there was a “continuation of military hostilities between the parties during the deployment of the peacekeepers” (Mullenbach & Dixon, 2006). This is a dichotomous variable measuring if any form of military violence occurred between the warring parties while the peacekeepers were present. The second measure is whether there was a resumption of military hostilities within one year of the withdrawal of the peacekeeping personnel (Mullenbach & Dixon, 2006). This is also a dichotomous variable and it represents whether there was a recurrence of violence within the first year after the end of the peacekeeping mission. However, for this variable, missions that continued beyond 2006 are censored since the dataset was created in 2006 and those observations will be dropped from the analysis. Finally, the third measure is whether the parties signed a formal peace agreement or fulfilled their commitments of a prior peace agreement during the peacekeeping mission (Mullenbach & Dixon, 2006). This final variable is dichotomous as well, as it is concerned with the occurrence of a peace treaty during the peacekeeping mission and also tracks the commitment to preceding agreements of the warring parties. These three measures of success are the criteria on which the peacekeeping operations in this research will be examined. The presence of any of these three criteria signifies that the mission accomplished a certain level of success.

    There are three main explanatory variables that influence success of the regional peacekeeping mission and all three variables must be present to provide the best opportunity for a successful mission. These essential features include a clear peacekeeping mandate, a salient peacekeeping force, and the commitment of the third party to the mission. The criteria for a clear mandate is determined through a close examination of the mandate for each mission in order to determine if the mandate dictated the path of the peacekeepers clearly prior to the intervention and whether the goals and objectives of the missions are concisely stated. By conducting this process, I identified the specific objectives of the missions and determined whether the mission was transparent in its aims rather than couched in broad, general statements of aspirations for the mission. For a mandate to be coded as a clear mandate, it needed to provide tangible troop number expectations required for the mission, the specific area the troops would be deployed in, and the primary duties of the peacekeepers upon their arrival in the area. Mandates that included vague objectives such as to “increase the morale” of civilians were not coded as a clear mandate. Additionally, another major factor that must be accounted for in the coding for clear mandates is whether the troop size actually has the capacity to carry out the stated objectives of the mission. For instance, if the mandate of a peacekeeping mission requires the peacekeepers to police a war-torn city of about five hundred thousand people but only provides fifty peacekeepers to fulfill this objective, the peacekeeping mission arguably lacks the capability to conduct the mission. Therefore, a mission such as this is coded as lacking a clear mandate because the expected objective of the mission fails to match the force capacity. Mandate clarity also helps to determine the cohesive nature of the intervention, whether the majority of the states in the organization are supportive of the mission, or if merely one state influenced the organization to pursue the mission. The sources used to determine information concerning the mandates of the missions are the Lexis Nexis Academic search engine and Historical Dictionary of Multinational Peacekeeping by Terry Mays. After examining each mission mandate, those missions deemed to possess a clear mandate will be coded as a “1” and “0” if otherwise.

    To operationalize the force saliency of the peacekeeping operation, I first use the peacekeeping force size variable from the Mullenbach and Dixon data. It specifically measures the approximate number of peacekeeping personnel involved in the mission (Mullenbach & Dixon, 2006). This particularly determines if the intervening force has a sufficient number of troops to carry out its orders ranging from the possibility of engaging in combat against dissident groups to the capability of policing civilians in the deployed area. Second, I also use the lead state variable of the mission in order to determine saliency. It provides the name of the state that provided the largest number of personnel to the peacekeeping mission (Mullenbach & Dixon, 2006). This notes whether the mission is led by a strong regional power with power projection capabilities or a weaker state. A mission led by a strong state with a formidable military force could increase the capability of the mission to achieve its stated goals, as the military capacity of the mission would be expanded. The lead state variable also determines if the mission is led by a state in the developing world or a Western state, to distinguish the characteristics of both types of missions.

    The criteria for measuring commitment is established by monitoring the conditions of the conflict and determining if those conditions make it more likely for the states in the region to involve themselves in the conflict. In order to operationalize commitment, I measure the conditions of the conflict to include the refugee production of the conflict as well as the battle deaths of the conflict for the year in which the peacekeepers intervened. The presence of either of these phenomena in a conflict has proved to be damaging to the stability and security of states neighboring a conflict-riddled state. This in turn increases the costs for the whole region if the conflict continues in a state and therefore creates the incentive to act and demonstrate high commitment to the conflict. The destabilizing effects of a high intensity conflict coupled with a mass of refugees should create a high level of commitment from regional organizations. This creates an interest to stop the conflict as states in the developing world use their regional organizations to collectively negotiate a conflict, a task that almost any single state in the organization would be Unable to handle singlehandedly.

    The first variable used to measure commitment is the level of refugees of the conflict produced in the first year of the peacekeeping intervention. The dataset employed for this is the Forcibly Displaced Population, 1964-2008, compiled by Monty Marshal and another refugee dataset for the years 1955 to 1995 compiled by Moore and Shellman. The refugee flow variable provides the total number of refugees originating in a country at the end of a calendar year (Marshall, 2008). The purpose of this variable is to provide information on the scale at which refugees are being produced by a conflict and whether it is on a large enough scale to encourage major actions from states in the region neighboring the conflict.

    The second variable used to measure commitment is the level of intensity of the conflict, specifically the total number of battle deaths of a conflict in the year of the peacekeeping intervention as defined by The Battle Deaths Dataset 1946-2008compiled by Bethany Lacina. According to Lacina, the term “battle deaths” is defined as the use of armed force by a party in the conflict to promote its interests, which also results in deaths (Lacina & Gleditsch, 2008). This is also important because it helps answer the question of whether regional organizations are more willing to send peacekeepers into highly intensified conflicts in their regions. Therefore, if a conflict produces a high number of battle deaths and an organization decides to send peacekeepers into the conflict, it demonstrates the commitment level of the organization, as it is willing to accept the casualties that will accompany the intervention. Furthermore, the data for the variables of battle deaths, refugees, and the number of troops all had potential skewness issues as the minimum and maximum of the observations ranged from zero to tens of thousands. Therefore, I created a natural log variable for each of the variables to resolve any issues of skewness.

    Finally, I used a dichotomous control variable representing whether the warring factions signed a peace treaty before the peacekeepers intervened. This is significant because, as is evident in my results, conflicts in which a peace agreement was signed before the arrival of the peacekeepers are more likely to remain peaceful independent of the presence of the peacekeepers and are more likely to meet the three criteria of success in this research.


    The first logistic regression model tests the relationship between the resumption of conflict during a peacekeeping mission and the main explanatory variables including my control variable depicting whether or not a peace treaty was signed by the warring factions before the peacekeeping intervention. In model 1, the variable for whether or not a peacekeeping force has a clear mandate before intervening is the only statistically significant explanatory variable. I then conducted post estimation tests for model 1 with the other explanatory variables set at their means. The results of the post estimation test suggest that when a peacekeeping force lacks a clear mandate, the possibility of hostilities continuing during the peacekeeping mission has a .69 probability. In contrast, when a peacekeeping force has a clear mandate, the probability of continued hostilities between the warring factions has a probability of just .25. This represents a 63 percent reduction in the probability of hostilities continuing while the peacekeepers are deployed. This is very important because it suggests that a peacekeeping mission that lacks a clear mandate has a great potential of prolonging a conflict which creates more civilian deaths and suffering. An example of this is demonstrated during ECOMOG’s first Liberian mission in 1990 where all the major factors necessary for a clear sense of direction for ECOMOG were lacking. The mandate for ECOMOG was hurried and improvised, as ECOMOG Commanding General Arnold Quainoo overlooked the complex nature of the conflict. In fact, by the time of ECOMOG’s intervention, three separate factions were involved in the conflict. There was also a lack of full political support from all of ECOWAS members, and it became clear that ECOMOG forces were not prepared to handle the conflict at first. Problems caused mostly by ECOMOG’s inexperience quickly arose during the mission (Howe, 1996). ECOMOG forces were unprepared and vastly undermanned (with only 2,700 troops), which made them unable to perform their peacekeeping duties and unable to protect the Liberian government. ECOMOG was rushed into that conflict with little preparation, which resulted in an early failure.

    The control variable of whether a peace treaty was signed by the warring factions prior to the intervention also proved to be significant in the first model. Specifically, if there is a signed treaty prior to the intervention, there is only a .8 probability of the likelihood of hostilities continuing during the peacekeeping mission. Counter to my theory, the size of the force deployed to the peacekeeping mission, the number of refugees, and battle deaths from the conflict prove to be insignificant in the first model. These results suggest that in determining success for a peacekeeping mission, the characteristics of the peacekeeping operation play a more telling role than the characteristics of the conflict itself.

    The second model tests a similar relationship as the first model uses a new dependent variable representing the resumption of conflict one year after the departure of the peacekeeping mission. In this model, the only explanatory variable that presents significance is the total number of refugees the conflict created in the year of the peacekeeping intervention. Specifically, conflicts that generate high numbers of refugees have a .66 probability to restart within one year after the peacekeeping operation. In contrast, conflicts generating low numbers of refugees have a .27 probability of resuming one year after the peacekeeping operation. Conflicts that create large numbers of refugees could, because of their high intensity and deadly nature, be very difficult to resolve. In such a conflict, many civilian lives are lost, thus creating deep-seated divisions within a society which increases the likelihood of the conflict resuming. The variable depicting whether there is a peace treaty remains significant in this model as there is only a .22 probability of resumption of conflict one year after the peacekeepers leave. Counter to my expectations, the size of the force deployed to the peacekeeping operation and the total number of battle deaths in the conflict in the year of the intervention remain insignificant in model 2. In addition, the existence of a clear mandate for the peacekeeping mission is insignificant one year after the peacekeeping operation compared to model 1, which examined the conflict during the peacekeeping operation where the existence of a clear mandate proved to be highly significant during the conflict. Logically, this makes sense as the existence of a clear mandate for a peacekeeping mission does not have any effect on a mission which has already concluded one year prior. Therefore, the existence of a clear mandate has no effect in model 2.

    Finally, model 3 tests the relationship between whether or not a peace treaty was signed during the peacekeeping mission and the main explanatory variables including my control variable. Once again, the existence of a clear mandate is significant in this model, which suggests that a well-planned peacekeeping mission enhances the possibility for peace. On the other hand, peacekeeping missions lacking a clear mandate have only a .21 probability of having a peace treaty signed during the mission. Hence, a clear mandate allows for the peacekeepers to pursue only those tasks that are tailored to foster peace and encourage the warring factions to bring the conflict to an end. The lucid direction that is created by a clear mandate for the peacekeepers reduces the possibility of the peacekeepers engaging in acts that could jeopardize the mission, such as the violation of peacekeeping protocols. The control variable of the presence of a peace treaty before the peacekeeping mission is unsurprisingly very significant in model 3. Specifically, in interventions where a peace treaty was signed before the peacekeeping intervention, there is a .84 probability of the warring factions producing another peace treaty during the peacekeeping mission.

    With the results from the three models in this research, including the lack of significant results for force size and the total battle deaths for the year of the peacekeeping intervention, it is clear that the pre-intervention decision making by the regional organization deploying the peacekeeping forces determines success in peacekeeping, rather than the characteristics of the conflict itself. There is enough evidence to suggest that a salient and committed intervening peacekeeping force has no statistically significant effect on a successful peacekeeping mission. However, it is important to note that force saliency and commitment to the mission’s agenda are both characteristics of a mission that encompasses a clear mandate. It is during the planning of the mission that success could be made more likely. The planning of the mission is where the strategic objectives of the mission, the force size and force capacity needed to achieve those objectives, and whether the member-states of the organization are fully onboard concerning their responsibilities for the mission, are determined. Therefore, the existence of a clear mandate during a peacekeeping mission is the most consistent indicator of success of the missions examined in this study.


    The principal inquiry of this research revolves around the factors that create successful humanitarian peacekeeping campaigns by regional organizations. In the 21st century, states in the developing world have increasingly accepted the responsibility of addressing conflicts in their own backyards, as they no longer can rely on the developed states in the West to manage their conflicts because the “war on terror” has influenced most Western states to focus on ensuring their own national security. Therefore, the burden to manage conflicts in their regions must be accepted by states in the developing world and they are taking the lead in the conflict management process.

    This research finds that the most important factor that ensures success for peacekeeping missions is the existence of a clear mandate before the mission. In regard to policy making, this study deems it critical for regional organizations in the developing world to develop a clear mandate for a peacekeeping mission prior to the deployment of a humanitarian peacekeeping intervention force. Although this may seem to be somewhat easy to devise, consensus among member-states of a regional organization can be  difficult to achieve. Member-states often demonstrate little trust for each other’s intentions, which leads to divisions within member-states, which handicaps the ability of the organization to implement actions cohesively. This is a major threat to the success of a peacekeeping mission because it can prevent any substantive agreement about the purpose, objectives, and methods by which the mission should be undertaken.  If there is no agreement on these key issues, there will be no clear mandate, so states in the developing world should work towards identifying common security interests and work cohesively to tackle such issues which eventually benefits their respective regions.

    One disadvantage of regional peacekeeping operations is the reality that most regional organizations in the developing world lack the capacity to implement sustainable peace building initiatives in a post-war society. Many states in these regional organizations are weak and lacking in sufficient funds, which reduces the capacity of the organization to lead peace building initiatives. Therefore, regional organizations in the developing world often have to rely on the U.N. and Western states to lead the process of peace building in the conflicts in which they have intervened. Interestingly, this may be the future of peacekeeping in the developing world as regional organizations may be the first to react to conflicts within their regions by deploying a humanitarian peacekeeping intervention force to contain the conflict. The U.N. can then provide logistical support for the mission and lead the peace building initiatives once a cease-fire is achieved. To further explore this possibility, more research is needed on the subject of joint peacekeeping campaigns between the U.N. and regional organizations in the developing world.

    ECOWAS was the first organization to participate in such a cooperative effort with the U.N. during the ECOMIL mission in Liberia. According to Kabia, “the U.N. -ECOWAS relationship appears to have matured,” (Kabia, 2009, p.190) and both organizations continue to learn from each other’s peacekeeping experience. As the role of regional organizations in conflict resolution within their regions continues to grow, the future of international peacekeeping most certainly will be greatly impacted by regional organizations in the developing world.


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    Table 1: Logit Models

    Logit Models
    Variables Logit Model 1  Continuation of hostilities between the warring factions during the peacekeeping mission (Milhost1) Logit Model 2  Resumption of hostilities between the warring factions one year after the peacekeeping force departs (Milhost2) Logit Model 3  Whether or not a peace treaty was signed during the peacekeeping mission (Treaty)
    The force size of the peacekeeping mission (lnpkmnum). −.0145  (.1710) −.0045  (.1506) .1067  (.1513)
    The total number of refugees the conflict produced the year of the peacekeeping intervention (lnrefugees). .0915  (.1442) .3153*** (.1398) −.0252  (.1375)
    The total number of battle deaths in the conflict in the year of the peacekeeping intervention (lnbdeaths). .1295  (.1409) −.0147  (.1206) .1304  (.1337)
    Whether or not the mission had a clear mandate (clearmandate)? −2.063**** (.7526) −.8209  (.6969) .9352* (.7133)
    Whether or not a peace treaty was signed before the peacekeepers intervened (peace)? −1.559** (.9347) −1.441* (.7861) 2.288**** (8428)
      N= 48  Pseudo R2=.290 N= 48  Pseudo R2=.205 N= 48  Pseudo R2= .222

    *        p <  .10
    **        p <  .05
    ***        p <  .01
    ****        p <  .001

    Note: The significant variables are significant with a two tailed test except for clear mandate in model 3 which is significant with a one tailed test

    Table 2: Marginal Effects Models

    Marginal Effects

    Model 1 (Milhost1)



    Probability Change

    Percent Change

    Clear Mandate




















    Model 2 (Milhost2)






    25th Percentile (Low)





    75th Percentile (High)














    Model 3 (Treaty)





    Clear Mandate