Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Military

In eight out of the past ten years, there has been drought somewhere in the Horn of Africa, affecting nearly 70 million people. Indeed, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia suffer from water scarcity on an almost annual basis. In this context, water trucking has played a pivotal role in addressing basic water needs. It is a coping mechanism during ‘typical’ dry seasons, based on existing private sector water trucks and vendors who sell water to those who are able to pay for it. In times of drought, direct water trucking is a common relief…
Humanitarian access negotiations with Hamas in the Gaza Strip highlight the many challenges humanitarians encounter when engaging with non-state actors. After winning the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliamentary elections in 2006, Hamas began transitioning from an Islamic charitable/militant organisation to a party responsible for state institutions and the provision of public services. Yet Hamas remains in many ways a nonstate actor; those running its ministries are guided by its senior leadership in Qatar and Egypt, have little control over its paramilitary branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and are suspicious of Western aid organisations’ potential ‘collaboration’ with Israeli and other intelligence…
Even for aid agencies with a longstanding presence in Afghanistan, the challenges of securing access are growing. Problems caused by the insecure and fragmented operating environment are compounded by the uncertainties surrounding the transition to Afghan control of security and the drawdown of international combat troops in 2014. Aid agencies are increasingly being forced to rethink their strategies and approaches, and adopt new methods and mechanisms to ensure that they are able to reach those in need of assistance. Access constrained The World Food Programme (WFP), the largest operational humanitarian agency in Afghanistan, has worked continuously in the country since…
While the operating space for aid agencies in Afghanistan has diminished as the conflict has intensified and the insurgent presence has expanded, humanitarian engagement with the Taliban remains taboo. In practice, however, many aid agencies working in insecure areas engage with insurgents to gain access to those in need of assistance. Yet little substantive research has been conducted on Taliban attitudes towards aid agencies. In 2012, researchers conducted some 150 interviews with the Taliban, aid agency staff and ordinary Afghans, examining Taliban attitudes and policies towards aid agencies and humanitarian and development work. Field research focused on two provincial case…
Dialogue between military and civilian actors is problematic in Somalia, and no more so than in the southern port city of Kismayo, what was the Islamist group al-Shabaab’s last remaining garrison. Considered the most complex urban space in the country, Kismayo is an important trade centre less than 200km from the Kenyan border, and the ultimate prize for the warring sub-clans in the region. After the fall of Siad Barre in 1991, the city was dominated by a succession of some of Somalia’s most feared warlords, and most recently by al-Shabaab. The liberation of Kismayo, the fulcrum of al-Shabaab’s economic…
Afghanistan has come to be seen as a laboratory for the development of civil–military coordination and information sharing. However, while numerous information-sharing portals have been established, none has emerged as the single indispensable venue for coordination between civilian organisations and military actors. As this article explains, the limited uptake of such systems reflects three broad challenges: technical problems in the design of information-sharing systems; concerns among civilian organisations that sharing information with the military violates humanitarian principles and puts them at greater risk of attack; and the military’s long-standing restrictions on sharing information. Information-sharing portals for Afghanistan Within Afghanistan, face-to-face…
This article discusses how experience from the 2008 Israeli military operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, resulted in important changes to humanitarian civil–military coordination strategies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The civil–military component of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is called COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), a small specialist unit with responsibility for the daily coordination of humanitarian and development activities with the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian population and international organisations in the oPt. COGAT has its own courses and career progression and, unlike many other militaries, which use reserve officers, is staffed by active duty…
International police and Formed Police Units (FPUs) are deployed in a range of contexts and by a range of actors, including the UN, the European Union and the African Union (AU).[1] Their tasks include substituting for national law enforcement actors, empowering or building their capacity and monitoring their performance, as well as joint patrols and co-location with national police forces, crowd control and criminal investigations. These forces have also become increasingly involved in the protection of civilians under threat. This article assesses the experience of the police component of the UN/AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), outlining the challenges it…
In July 2011, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group asked the Task Force on Humanitarian Space and Civil–Military Relations to review and update the IASC Non-binding Guidelines on the Use of Military and Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys (2001). The primary concerns that led to the decision to revise the guidelines were the recognition of a growing reliance on armed escorts, the need to synchronise a more robust decision-making process on the use of armed escorts with the new UN Security Management System (SMS) and inconsistencies in the interpretation and application of the out-of-date guidelines. The revised guidelines, which…
The British military has faced a range of challenges when engaging with non-military actors in ‘population-centred’ counter-insurgency and stabilisation operations. Such actors include humanitarian agencies, non-government organisations, civilian populations and national and international government institutions. There has been considerable resistance, especially from the British Army, to processes that have the potential to undermine traditional military combat skills. Managing the interface with civilian organisations is the task of the tri-service British Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG), formerly the Joint Civil Military Cooperation Group. Members of the MSSG must learn and then embody a new set of rules and cultural codes that…
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