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Masters of peace are needed
   
 
 
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Masters of peace are needed

 
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 16:07
 
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by Mario Rino Me (EPOS)
EPOS Insights

The recent exchange of prisoners for video showing evidence of their healthy conditions, may be interpreted as an alternative option to pave the way to unstrained relations in deeply rooted crisis situations of the Middle East. Credible third party mediators, not limited to above area, seem to be well suited for conducting prisoners swap talks, particularly when both counterparts are keen to wrap up a deal, but do not have the capacity as a result of institutional limitations.

The recent exchange of prisoners for video showing evidence of their healthy conditions, may be interpreted as an alternative option to pave the way to unstrained relations in deeply rooted crisis situations of the Middle East. Credible third party mediators, not limited to above area, seem to be well suited for conducting prisoners swap talks, particularly when both counterparts are keen to wrap up a deal, but do not have the capacity as a result of institutional limitations.

Ancient strategists extolled the genius in the battle-field as a master of war. On the background of the changing nature of conflicts, that unfold both unpredictable and in variance with western-like disciplined paradigms (interstate, force on force, juridical framework\humanitarian law about the limitations\constraints on the aims, the use of force and the conduct in bello), military operations are becoming people-centric.

Here the physical (centers of gravity) and, sometimes, the traditional kinetic approach meet the unconventional and \or the oriental way of thinking and life-style. Actually, besides capabilities (such as precision strike) the gulf entails also the psychological dimension. Indeed as G. Chaliand reminds us “irregular wars” are long-lasting; therefore, before engaging, a thorough analysis is needed in terms of feasibility , suitability an affordability, as well as sustainability. Although focus and troop levels and composition may shift according to the nature of the crisis response operation (counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism, taking however into account that counterinsurgency is per se a counterterrorism strategy), local population’s protection and needs are key.

Yet, we are rediscovering the Italian way, applied in nuce in the eighties during the international intervention in Lebanon. As a result current leitmotiv “clear, hold and build“ is going to be integrated by the task of “protecting”, careful use of air power taking the risk of lesser force protection and socio-cultural efforts. In this framework, the spectrum of International Community efforts in hotspots entails now an array of multidisciplinary and interdependent strands of work (Diplomacy, Information, Military, Economy, Finance, Intelligence, Law enforcement), known as DIMEFIL.

The latter should interact in a seamless way and be orchestrated under an overarching political strategy in order to enact coherent effects. Yet, this is not an easy task as a result of the lack of effective experience, methodology and conceptual work on the subject; as a consequence we are still missing both score and of conductor. As for the latter, the complexity of the scene of action brings to the fore the notion of Leadership; therefore above acronym should be supplemented by an additional L.

Today, in order to cope with the challenges of the emerging patterns of conflict and new metrics of success (this kind of interventions can’t be gauged in terms of military victory on the ground), masters of peace are needed in order to sail effectively in the uncharted waters of the new and complex approaches. The military, now one of the instruments, will continue to be still relevant since they are the vanguard and, as such, the visiting card of the foreign foot-print. Yet, as we’ve seen at the onset, skills are needed in the whole spectrum (e.g. in the area of mediation, that, coupled with individual commitment and dedication, could and should complement, in supporting role, above efforts).

In short, the overture should be accompanied and followed by an organic set of instruments and harmonious verses. Otherwise we run the risk to make the military as the magnet of whatsoever recrimination. Likewise World War 1, where tactical hurdles hindered strategic campaign plans, a thorough analysis of these new patterns of potential I.C. engagements and interventions in hotspots is required. As recalled by D. Killcullen, we need to figure out capabilities and profiles (military, diplomacy and so on) best suited to the challenges of the emerging security environment. After all, whatever orchestra, no matter how well or badly-assorted, has to play, at the very least, a good sheet of music.


Last modified on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:42
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