Managing Mistrust: An Analysis of Cooperation with UN Peacekeeping in Africa

  • Citation: Ruggeri, A., Gizelis, T.-I., & Dorussen, H. (2013). Managing Mistrust: An Analysis of Cooperation with UN Peacekeeping in Africa. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 57(3), 387–409.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • peacekeeping
    • civil wars
    • United Nations
    • Africa

How many peacekeepers are needed to keep the peace? Under what conditions are local governments and rebel forces more willing to cooperate with an intervention force? From a theoretical perspective in which the main role of peacekeepers is to assist local actors in overcoming their commitment problems and mistrust toward each other, it follows that sufficiently robust missions should positively affect levels of cooperation. Furthermore, any effect should be conditional on the local balance of power, that is, the military leverage between government and rebel forces. Relatively weak rebel groups—facing a stronger government—should be more willing to cooperate with larger missions. In the empirical analysis, using newly collected event data on United Nation (UN) peacekeeping operations from 1989 to 2005 in African civil wars, the authors find support for conditional effect of robust peacekeeping: there is more cooperation with UN peacekeepers when the rebels are weak.

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