Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

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As part of peacekeeping efforts, stability operations—post-conflict military efforts to bring peace and security to a region or country—represent an ongoing challenge for both military planners and civilian policymakers. RAND research has provided effective strategic recommendations in many such operations, helping those involved in unified stabilization, peacekeeping and security, transition, and reconstruction.

Explore Peacekeeping and Stability Operations

  • Bashar al-Assad meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran August 19, 2009

    Commentary

    Iran's Goals in Syria

    Iran is playing a crucial role in buttressing President Bashar Assad, through military advice, provision of weapons, and funding of the cash-strapped Syrian government. The Assad regime might not survive without support of Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in the White House on December 8, 1987

    Commentary

    The Difference Between Negotiation and Appeasement

    Sound diplomacy weighs costs and benefits, based on a hard-nosed evaluation of American interests and values. It makes concessions only in exchange for concrete gains, but it still requires flexibility and willingness to trade, bargain, and make deals, including with adversaries. This is not the same thing as appeasement.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • A board displays currency exchange rates on a Moscow street, December 29, 2014

    Commentary

    Rapprochement with Russia?

    The ruble's fragility presents an opportunity for American and European diplomats to offer Putin a deal that de-escalates the war in Ukraine, provides Russia sanctions relief, and revitalizes Moscow's economic ties with the West.

    Dec 30, 2014

  • Afghan National Army soldiers walk at the Forward Base in Nari district near the army outpost in Kunar province, February 24, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The Afghan National Security Forces

    The Afghan National Security Forces remain very much a work in progress. In the coming months, the resiliency and cohesiveness of the ANSF will be put to the test as the NATO coalition transitions to a non-combat mission. Growing pains can be expected.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul November 18, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The NATO Coalition in Afghanistan

    The imminent changes to the NATO mission in Afghanistan will be profound and, more crucially, carry unpredictable outcomes. After January 1, the removal of tens of thousands of coalition troops will trigger an inevitable period of adjustment as all sides involved in the conflict press for a new equilibrium that tilts in its favor.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • Afghan policemen in Kabul

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After America: A Fragile Stability

    Since 2011, the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban have engaged in intermittent and often indirect talks about peace negotiations. It may be stalemate on the battlefield that eventually forces the parties to break this stalemate over the shape of a peace process.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani walk with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, October 3, 2014

    Commentary

    What's the Plan? The Afghan Government

    With the election dispute settled, one can sense a feeling of hope and opportunity among the Afghan political spectrum. Members of each camp are voicing optimism and saying the right things, but before the unity government can address the country's issues, it must first clear the hurdle of appointing new leadership.

    Nov 10, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a briefing from top military leaders while visiting U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, September 17, 2014

    Commentary

    The New Global Juggling Act

    Areas that have long been a focal point for defense planning — Europe, the Middle East and East Asia — are all facing profound and unsettling change, and the United States may no longer have the luxury of choosing among regions.

    Oct 7, 2014

  • Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul August 27, 2014

    Commentary

    Afghanistan Back to the Brink

    The impasse between the Abdullah and Ghani camps has grown so significant that some senior Afghan political and security officials considered imposing an interim government, a move tantamount to a coup.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • Members of Kurdish Peshmerga force stand guard at Sulaiman Pek front line, August 31, 2014. Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants.

    Commentary

    A Broad Approach to Countering the Islamic State

    Recent analysis about how to defeat the Islamic State tends to be based on no more than intuition, a general sense of history, or a small number of cases of questionable comparability. A study of 71 historical cases of counterinsurgencies should help provide empirical evidence to this important debate.

    Sep 2, 2014

  • Research Brief

    The Conflict in Syria: Understanding and Avoiding Regional Spillover Effects

    Researchers examined the literature of armed conflict to determine the main factors that are likely to contribute to or impede the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency, then examined how they apply to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

    Aug 27, 2014

  • Iraqi Shiite tribal fighters in Baghdad

    Report

    Spillover from the Conflict in Syria

    External military support, large numbers of refugees, and the fragility of neighboring states are factors that contribute directly to the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency in Syria. How do these factors affect Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, and how can a spillover of violence be prevented?

    Aug 27, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Best Practices for Assessing Locally Focused Stability Operations

    Locally focused stability operations (LFSO) to build security, development, and governance are difficult to assess because of the complexity of operational environments. This brief outlines creation of an assessment plan for a notional LFSO scenario.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • Report

    Assessing Locally Focused Stability Operations

    This report describes how to best measure and assess the progress and outcomes of locally focused stability operations -- the missions, tasks, and activities that create stability by building security, governance, and development in a community.

    Aug 21, 2014

  • People walk along the street soon after, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk on August 20, 2014

    Commentary

    Make Russia an Offer on Ukraine It Can't Refuse

    An international initiative that does not appear to emanate from NATO or the EU could help bring Russia to the table, in part by accepting that Moscow, too, has a role. An international peacekeeping force could open the way for a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Aug 20, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington

    Commentary

    Taking It One Crisis at a Time

    The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.

    Aug 19, 2014

  • Syrian refugees walk amid damage and the remains of tents that were burnt in the fighting between Lebanese army soldiers and Islamist militants in the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, August 9, 2014

    Commentary

    To Fight ISIS, Make Peace with Syria's Assad

    To disrupt al-Baghdadi's advance, the United States and its allies should start by addressing the source of the problem — the conflict in Syria. They can begin by negotiating a truce with President Bashar Assad to stop the fighting in Syria.

    Aug 14, 2014

  • U.S. and Jordanian Armed Forces taking part in a joint-training exercise to improve future security operations

    Periodical

    Security Cooperation Bears Fruit, Depending on the Soil and Seeds

    On the whole, U.S. security cooperation appears to make real contributions toward reducing fragility in partner countries, especially at the lower end of the cost spectrum. The effect was weakest in countries that were less democratic and most at risk of state failure.

    Aug 7, 2014

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013

    Report

    Getting to Negotiations in Syria

    It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • Report

    Initial Thoughts on the Impact of the Iraq War on U.S. National Security Structures

    This paper surveys the overall impact of the Iraq War on U.S. national security structures by examining the major changes the war wrought in the intellectual and institutional underpinnings of U.S. security and defense policy.

    Jun 5, 2014