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Security Council Situation Report 9 September 2019

This update complements the brief background notes already published in the AMUN Handbook. Please read the handbook before turning to this update.

The Situation in Yemen

On 1 August 2019, a ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels struck a military base in Aden, the Yemeni government’s interim capital. The attack killed 37 soldiers, all of whom were reportedly members of the Security Belt. The Security Belt is a southern militia backed by coalition member United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the attack has reportedly signaled that “the UAE- and Saudi Arabia-led coalition is not in control of the city [Aden].” 

The events of 10 August 2019 further solidified this position.The Southern Transitional Council (STC) seized the presidential palace on 10 August, after taking control of government military camps in Aden, killing dozens. In response Saudi Arabian officials invited the involved parties to Jeddah for peace talks. Yemeni government officials were, however, adamant that STC forces withdraw from the seized areas before peace talks could begin. On 19 August, the STC sent a letter to the Security Council stating that the international community should “accept the new realities on the ground.” At the Security Council’s 20 August meeting, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths cautioned, “there is no time to lose” and that the fragmentation of Yemen was becoming a more pressing threat. He also condemned the STC for taking control of Yemeni state institutions by force, while the Yemeni ambassador condemned UAE support for the STC. The United Arab Emirates rejected the Yemeni claims in a letter addressed to the Security Council on 23 August. Violence persisted, and the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement days later.

In its 29 August Presidential Statement, the Security Council welcomed Saudi Arabia’s proposed dialogue in Jeddah, while also expressing full support for the Special Envoy’s efforts to resume negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels. Unfortunately, the violence continues to escalate. Kamel Jenoubi, a UN-appointed rights expert, stated that “there’s nowhere in Yemen that you can call safe, or where you can hide.”

Bibliography:

Yemen: Dozens killed in Houthi attack on Aden military parade (1 August 2019). Al Jazeera.

Separatists seize Aden presidential palace, gov’t military camps (10 August 2019). Al Jazeera

Al-Ghaithi, Mohammed. Letter to the UN Security Council (19 August 2019). Southern Transitional Council

‘No time to lose’ UN envoy tells Security Council, ‘Yemen cannot wait’ (20 August 2019). UN News Centre

Alshamshi, Hamad Ghanem. Letter dated 23 August 2019 from the… (23 August 2019). S/2019/678. 

Nowhere is safe to hide in war-torn Yemen, say UN-appointed rights experts (3 September 2019). UN News Centre

United Nations, Security Council (2019). Briefing Security Council, Special Envoy Warns New Clashes in Yemen Risk Expanding Humanitarian Crisis, Violence, Stresses Need to Implement Stockholm Agreement. SC/13920.

United Nations, Security Council (2019). The situation in the Middle East. S/PRST/2019/9. 

 

The Situation in Jammu and Kashmir

Unrest continues in Jammu and Kashmir, after India’s sudden takeover and security clampdown. Both India and Pakistan control parts of the region, which is majority Muslim, while claiming sovereign right to the entire territory. The Line of Control, established after the first Indo-Pakistani war ended in 1949, divides the Indian-controlled portion from the Pakistani-controlled portion.

On 5 August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. This article allows the region to govern itself independently of New Delhi. After a contemporaneous bill in Parliament split the state into two union territories subject to the Constitution, India sent thousands of troops into the Kashmir valley, imposed strict curfews, and took control of communication lines. In the following days, Indian authorities placed most members of the Kashmiri local government under house arrest. India has since maintained this stronger-than-usual military presence in the region. Additionally,  changes to Kashmir’s legal status will soon allow non-residents to buy property there. The Indian government claims this reform will aid in Kashmir’s development, while activists in the region, as well as Pakistan, claim it is an attempt at takeover and destruction of Kashmiri culture.

The massive Indian military presence and restrictions on assembly have mostly curtailed rioting and violence. On 4 September, the first officially acknowledged death of this most recent conflict occurred when a man who was injured in a protest in August died from his injuries. Other deaths have likely occurred, although the Indian government has not acknowledged them and defends its actions as internal affairs not subject to international interference. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has claimed that Pakistan would not make a first strike but warns that India’s actions risk war, and he is driving a diplomatic effort to establish support among the international community for the Kashmiri people.

The Council had consultations on the situation on 16 August, where they were briefed on the situation as well as the activities of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. 

Bibliography:

Kashmir protests claim first confirmed death, Pakistan sees ‘seeds of war’ (4 September 2019). Reuters.

Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan fight over it (8 August 2019). BBC News.

Pakistan PM leads demonstration on Kashmir in bid to win over world opinion (30 August 2019). Reuters.

September 2019 Monthly Forecast. Security Council Report. 30 August 2019.

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