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The Security Council

Membership of the Security Council Membership of the Security Council

  • Belgium
  • China
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Dominican Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • France
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Kuwait
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Russian Federation
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

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Introduction Introduction

For each topic area, Representatives should consider the following questions, which should assist them in gaining a better understanding of the issues at hand, particularly from their country’s perspective:The Contemporary Security Council topics below are current as of July 2019 and may not include all topics that the Council might discuss at Conference. With the ever-changing nature of international peace and security, these topics are a guide to help direct your research on your State’s position. Updates on likely topics for the Contemporary Security Council will be posted online throughout the fall. These updates will be available on the AMUN website and the AMUN Accords. Introduction

  • How did this conflict begin?
  • Is this a new conflict or a re-ignition of a previous conflict?
  • How have similar situations and conflicts been peacefully resolved? What State and regional actors are involved in this conflict?
  • If there are non-State actors involved in a conflict, are there any States supporting them? If so, which ones?

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The Situation in Myanmar The Situation in Myanmar

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma) has a history fraught with political turmoil and widespread violence, which has recently led to ethnic tensions. After more than a century of British rule, Burma became independent in 1948 under the leadership of U Nu, who became the first Prime Minister. U Nu served as Prime Minister for ten years, until a split in the State’s main party, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), prompted a military takeover in October 1958 under the direction of General Ne Win. Less than two years later, on 6 February 1960, Burma held general elections and restored parliamentary government, with U Nu as prime minister again. On 2 March 1962, General Ne Win staged a military coup that ousted U Nu and his “Clean AFPFL” party, which marked the beginning of totalitarian rule in the State.

After 26 years of totalitarianism, civil unrest over economic mismanagement and political oppression by the government led to widespread protests, and thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were killed on 8 August 1988, in what became known as the 8888 Uprising. On 18 September 1988, General Saw Maung seized control of the government, establishing the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Under Saw Maung’s direction, the State was renamed the “Union of Myanmar,” which later became the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar.” The State held general elections in 1990, the first elections in 30 years; the military ignored the results, to the dismay of individuals and organizations with democratic aspirations. The lack of initiative on the part of the government of Myanmar to honor the results of the 1990 election led many States to issue sanctions against Myanmar in the coming years. These sanctions prompted the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) (renamed from SLORC in 1997) to develop a seven-step roadmap to democracy in 2003.

In what was perceived to be a major step toward democracy, the SPDC ratified a new constitution for Myanmar in late May of 2008. Unfortunately for pro-democratic groups, the new constitution notably included provisions for the military to maintain a leading role in the government, sparking fears that totalitarianism would persist. Rising from the ratification of the new constitution, elections were held in 2010. Many former SPDC officials were elected to Parliament, prompting more questions as to the legitimacy of the State’s first elections in nearly 20 years. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed that the elections were “insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent.” Despite the concern from the United Nations and the greater international community, on 4 February 2011, a former general named Thein Sein was elected as President of Myanmar. The SPDC was later dissolved, thus formally relinquishing control of the State to the new “civilian” government.

Myanmar’s transition to civilian rule has not put an end to the political turmoil and violence within the State. Elected government officials and military leaders continue to clash, with the primary concerns being civilian vs. military rule, and Buddhism vs. other religions, such as Islam. While the constitution does not establish an official state religion, the Myanmar government has been accused of actively promoting Theravada Buddhism over other religions, and is also accused of utilizing military influence to intimidate non-Buddhists, particularly young people, into conversion. One method the government has used to promote Buddhism is the exclusion of the Rohingya (a Muslim minority in the predominantly Buddhist State) from citizenship, despite their primary residence on the west coast of Myanmar, known as Rakhine state. Previously, the Rohingya have been regarded as the nomads of the region, but their communities were relatively stable within the Rakhine state from the early 1990s to 2014. In the 2014 census, however, the Rohingya were excluded from the count and not considered inhabitants of Myanmar. They were instead classified as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Considered “stateless” and given no protection under the law, the Rohingya suffered human rights abuses by Myanmar’s military, prompting an investigation from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Myanmar’s government has and continues to deny any wrong-doing on behalf of the military. 

As a result of the human rights abuses committed by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya, on 25 August 2017, a group of militants known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked military and police outposts on the Myanmar-Bangladeshi border, killing 12. In retaliation for the 25 August attack, Myanmar’s military began swiftly targeting the Rohingya community, killing thousands, destroying homes and committing widespread sexual violence. Top Myanmar officials, such as army chief General Min Aung Hlaing, claim these were “clearance operations.” More than 530,000 Rohingya refugees fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in a single month. Bangladesh does have refugee camps set-up, but they are poorly resourced, overcrowded, and many Rohingya experience health issues such as food and water-borne illnesses in these camps. These camps are also easy targets for continued violence, primarily sexual violence. The United Nations Human Rights Council has estimated that over one million Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017, and the vast majority of these refugees are women, children and the elderly. In June 2018, the World Bank announced a grant worth nearly half a billion dollars to help Bangladesh address the Rohingya refugees’ needs.

After an extensive investigation, in August 2018, one of the investigators of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM), Christopher Sidoti, found that “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” had been perpetrated by Myanmar’s military forces and released an over 400 page report on the atrocities taking place. Two months later in October 2018, the Chair of the FFM, Marzuki Darusman, called upon the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court, or to establish an ad hoc international criminal tribunal to hold the perpetrators of the rights violations accountable. On 26 June 2019, the International Criminal Court announced that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would request that the court’s judges open an investigation into the crimes perpetrated against the Rohingya. Despite two years of escalating international attention, the violence persists. 

On the evening of 3 April 2019, two military helicopters flew over a village of Rohingya and fired on civilians tending to their fields and cattle. Seven civilians were killed, and 18 others were injured. The escalation of violence has worsened the humanitarian crisis, as more flee into already overcrowded and unsecured refugee camps, and members of the international community have called for “unimpeded” humanitarian access to the region, particularly due to severe water shortages in Bangladesh. In a later statement, FFM Chairperson Darusman stated that, “the situation is at a total standstill.”

Bibliography Bibliography

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United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

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The Situation in Venezuela The Situation in Venezuela

The economic, political and refugee crisis in Venezuela, an oil-rich country and OPEC member in South America, continues unabated and threatens to destabilize the region.

From 1999 to 2013, Venezuela was governed by President Hugo Chavez, whose time as leader was characterized by nationalization of the oil industry and lavish spending on public health, infrastructure and jobs. Under his administration, per capita income doubled, and unemployment and poverty were cut in half.

Although the transition of power from President Chavez was peaceful, his successor had to manage increasingly difficult economic conditions. On 5 March 2013, President Chavez died from cancer. His designated successor, Nicolas Maduro, was duly elected a few months later. Maduro took power soon before the price of oil, on which most of Venezuela’s economy depends, began decreasing rapidly. Without the oil wealth coming in, Venezuela’s unfettered spending began to cause economic problems. On 30 December 2014, the Venezuelan Central Bank confirmed that the country had entered a recession, and the year-over-year inflation rate hit 68 percent by the end of the year. By the end of 2018, the Central Bank claimed its data showed a 130,060 percent year-over-year inflation rate for the Venezuelan bolivar. The International Monetary Fund believes the Central Bank is understating the data and estimates the 2018 rate at 929,797 percent. As a result of the inflation, ordinary Venezuelans have great difficulty buying food and paying for their day-to-day living expenses, and there is a thriving black market for US dollars. 

The political situation in Venezuela also deteriorated. With the economy failing, the opposition party increased its political attacks on Maduro and gained a two-thirds supermajority in Venezuela’s National Assembly in 2015. Maduro responded by adding justices loyal to him to the country’s Supreme Court. In 2017, the Supreme Court effectively annulled the National Assembly and banned an opposition candidate from running for election. Mass protests erupted the next day, and while the Supreme Court walked back its decision, months of protests resulted in more than 100 deaths. Maduro’s next plan to consolidate power was to create a new parallel legislature called the Constituent Assembly in July 2017 with the mandate of drafting a new Venezuelan constitution. The Democratic Unity Roundtable, the opposition party, boycotted the election of the Constituent Assembly. Opposition members’ fears materialized the following month when the Constituent Assembly voted to give itself supreme legislative power and strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers. Over 40 countries as well as the European Union and the Organization of American States did not recognize the election of the Constituent Assembly. 

Maduro was elected to a second six-year term in May 2018 in an election criticized as a “sham” by the United States and denounced by the Lima Group of 14 countries in North and South America. On 10 January 2019, shortly after Maduro’s inauguration, Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president of Venezuela and called for Maduro’s removal. Many countries quickly declared their support for Guaidó, including the United States and most of Venezuela’s neighbors. The United States applied sanctions to Venezuela’s oil exports after Venezuela cut diplomatic ties in January 2019, and President Donald Trump has occasionally threatened military action against the Maduro regime. Russia has intermittently supplied Venezuela with military equipment and advisers.

The additional sanctions, combined with Guaidó’s proclamation, set off a new round of widespread protests. According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, at least 40 people have been killed and 696 have been arrested since the latest wave of protests began. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that over 4 million Venezuelans have fled the country, mostly to Colombia and Peru, due to the ongoing food insecurity and poverty. The course of this crisis depends much on Venezuela’s military which, despite pleas by the United States to change its mind, continues to back Maduro. 

The Security Council has met several times in 2019 to discuss the issue, each time failing to pass a resolution. A meeting on 28 February saw debate on two competing draft resolutions. Russia and China vetoed the United States-led resolution expressing concern over the economic collapse and refugee crisis, and calling for the “peaceful restoration of democracy and the rule of law.” Russia’s competing draft resolution, which denounced all threats of force against Venezuela as well as interventions in what Russia claims to be domestic matters, failed to receive enough votes to pass. The Security Council has been briefed on the situation throughout the summer, and tensions between Council members who support Maduro and those who support Guaidó remain high, with the future government of Venezuela and the fate of millions of displaced and starving Venezuelans at stake.

Bibliography Bibliography

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United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

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The Situation in the Middle East The Situation in the Middle East

The situation in the Middle East is multifaceted. Due to pressing threats to international peace and security, the Security Council’s primary concerns in the region are the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars and humanitarian and security concerns in the states of Iran and Iraq. While efforts to address these concerns share a number of geopolitical priorities, each situation remains unique.

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Syria Syria

Although less intense than it was through 2018, the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic is still devastating the country after eight years of heavy fighting. The war has its roots in 2011, when the Arab Spring movement spawned local movements in Syria calling for a series of reforms, such as social and democratic reform, investigation of violence perpetrated by police and military forces and the release of political prisoners. Following Arab Spring-affiliated protests, President Bashar al-Assad, who also serves as commander-in-chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, ordered a severe crackdown on all protesters and suspected dissidents. A series of state-sanctioned military strikes against rebel militants and civilians followed. The Assad regime made some minor conciliatory gestures in the spring of 2011, but protesters were unsatisfied, violence continued to spread, and the United States and European Union increased economic pressure by tightening sanctions on the Assad regime. Syrian government forces continue to battle rebel groups across Syria, even employing banned chemical weapons against military and civilian targets in April and July 2018. Violence and political upheaval continues to run rampant in Syria, which has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times.

Further complicating the situation in Syria is the presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). From 2013 to 2017, Syria served as a stronghold for ISIL, as it exploited vacuums in governance and political stability. ISIL controlled several major cities, including Raqqa, which served as their de facto capital in the country. The al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of the terrorist organization Al-Qaida, also operates in Syria against the Syrian government. The United States and its coalition partners—mainly the United Kingdom, France, Jordan and Turkey—have been conducting air and missile strikes on ISIL and some rebel targets in Syria since 2014 and against Syrian government targets since early 2017. In 2015, Russia also joined in providing aerial support against ISIL. While they are both opposed to ISIL and the various Al-Qaida affiliates, the United States-led coalition and Russia have different allies and military objectives in the region. Unlike the United States, Russia intervenes in the country with the blessing of the Syrian government, and intends to maintain a permanent military presence there. It has also struck anti-Assad rebel groups that the United States considers to be allies. The Kurdish population that controls northeastern Syria has assisted both the coalition and Russia in fighting against ISIL, but also demands recognition as their own independent state, which Turkey opposes. United States and Russian airstrikes, while helpful in decimating ISIL-held targets, have also killed and injured thousands of Syrian citizens. 

To date, action in the Security Council has been limited mainly because Syria’s military ally, Russia, vetoes any resolutions that take significant action against the Syrian government. Through April 2018, Russia has used its veto power twelve times to block resolutions taking humanitarian, investigative or other action in Syria. In February 2017, Russia and China vetoed sanctions against Syria for human rights violations and use of chemical weapons. In April 2018, the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on chemical weapons use by the Assad regime due to Russian veto. This resolution would have established an official United Nations-led investigation to identify who used chemical weapons. In a statement to the Security Council in April 2018, Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu expressed support for Russian military intervention in Syria, and encouraged the Council to focus on humanitarian aid rather than punitive measures against the Syrian regime. 

Outside of the Security Council, many states have taken action in response to the rising death tolls and humanitarian crisis: Turkey has accepted and is housing millions of refugees; the Russian Federation has provided financial and military aid to the Assad regime; and France, the United Kingdom and the United States carried out a wave of punitive airstrikes against Syrian regime targets following chemical attacks against civilians in April 2018. Because the Syrian government permits few foreign aid programs to formally intervene in the Syrian humanitarian crisis, the rest of the international community has primarily assisted via unilateral actions such as monetary aid for displaced peoples and counter-cyber-terrorism efforts to limit ISIL’s recruitment efforts. The number of deaths and displaced peoples in this crisis continues to rise, but political concerns as well as the conditions on the ground have prevented humanitarian aid and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from successfully operating in Syria.

In September 2018, Russia, Iran and Turkey brokered a short-lived ceasefire. It did not hold for long, as fighting continued and the Assad Regime prepared additional assaults on Idlib province. Rebel factions still control Idlib, although government forces have increased attacks on the region in recent months. Turkey has supplied weapons to Syrian rebels’ remaining holdouts in the region, and Syrian government forces make their attacks on the remaining rebel strongholds with Russian air support.

The Assad regime appears determined to retake Idlib at any cost, a position which has drawn criticism because many of the rebels who surrendered elsewhere in the country were allowed to travel to Idlib, in some cases even provided transport by the Syrian government. Of the three million people in Ilib, one million are children, and 1.3 million fled to Idlib from elsewhere in Syria. On 3 June 2019, Russia reportedly blocked a statement at the Security Council that would have called on all combatants to protect civilians in Idlib.

In May 2019, all members of the Security Council except for Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia made a public statement expressing concern about the fighting in Idlib and the potential for the situation to become a more significant humanitarian catastrophe, after meeting in consultation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This statement did not get the unanimous support it would have needed to be issued formally.

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Yemen Yemen

The situation in Yemen has been unstable since the Arab Spring movement in 2011 and the onset of civil war in 2014. In response to protests during the Arab Spring, state-sanctioned violence against civilians escalated to the point that hundreds were killed and thousands were injured in a few short months. In October 2011, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2014, calling on President Ali Abdullah Salih to step down from his position and for all parties to cease fighting. Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former president’s second in command, assumed power in early 2012 when former President Salih agreed to vacate his office. However, President Hadi’s term was plagued with instability, political upheaval and violence. Hadi’s government was overthrown by Houthi rebels (Shia political insurgents) in 2014, and parliament was dissolved. President Hadi was moved out of the country in 2015, and, as of July 2019, he is living in exile in Saudi Arabia, although he has traveled to the United States for medical treatment and did make a visit to appear before the divided parliament in the loyalist province of Hadramout. Since the Houthi coup in 2014, Yemen has been plagued by constant violence and humanitarian crisis. The instability in Yemen has encouraged many militant groups such as Al-Qaida, Al Dahle and ISIL to gather and operate in the region.

Indiscriminate artillery attacks by a coalition of nine African and Middle Eastern countries (led by Saudi Arabia) against Houthi rebels and other militant groups to regain control of the country on behalf of President Hadi and his government continue to kill civilians and further destabilize the country. The coalition received at various times both logistical and military support from the United States.

In February 2014, the Security Council passed Resolution 2140, establishing sanctions against Yemen in response to the rampant violence and egregious human rights violations. In February 2015, the Security Council passed Resolution 2201, deploring the Houthi action to dissolve parliament and calling upon all armed actors in Yemen to impose a ceasefire and arms embargo. In February 2019, the Security Council renewed the asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban associated with the 2014 sanctions. In December 2018, negotiators from all sides met in Stockholm, Sweden to work out a ceasefire under the auspices of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. These negotiations resulted in a ceasefire: now known as the Hodeidah Agreement, also known as the Stockholm Agreement. As part of the agreement, the Council passed Resolutions 2451 and 2452, creating the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNHMA) and the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) to oversee implementation of the agreement and withdrawal of forces from both sides from certain port cities.

A large component of the humanitarian crisis is the inability for aid workers to get into the country and distribute medical treatment and food due to ongoing fighting, especially in the port city of Hodeidah. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 24 million Yemeni citizens are categorized as in need of aid, with more than 7.4 million at acute risk of famine. Since the start of the crisis, over 4.3 million people have fled their homes, and only 1 million have been able to return. 

From 11 to 14 May 2019, the Houthi rebels unilaterally withdrew their forces from Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa, monitored and verified by UNHMA. The head of UNMHA and Griffiths explained that they accepted the Houthi offer to withdraw unilaterally because negotiations on the second phase of withdrawals were proving to take more time than expected, and the quick withdrawal would allow United Nations aid teams to enter the ports, distribute aid and assist the Yemeni port authority.

The Yemeni government criticized the withdrawals because they were not allowed to verify the withdrawals and were not included in the monitoring process conducted by the RCC. They also pointed out that on the same day the United Nations confirmed the redeployments, the Houthis attacked two Saudi oil-pumping stations with drones. Fighting continues in the south of Saudi Arabia and several regions of Yemen, including the capital, Sana’a; the al-Dhale governorate in the south; and the Abs district of the Hajjah governorate.

The Security Council is currently focused on implementing the Hodeidah Agreement, especially planning the second phase of redeployments and deciding on who will be allowed to contribute to the standing security forces in Hodeidah. In June and July of 2019, Griffiths briefed the Council on the ongoing implementation of Resolutions 2451 and 2452. He noted that while violence in Hodeidah and elsewhere in Yemen has continued to decrease since the agreement was concluded, disagreement between the Yemeni government and the Houthis remains on other aspects of the agreement, such as the exchange of prisoners and the division of revenue from the port. Additionally, Griffiths stated that the attacks on civilian targets in southern Saudi Arabia threaten to derail the entire process, as “war can take peace off the table.”

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Iran Iran

Tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Nations over its nuclear program are nothing new. However, in the three years since 2015, tensions were at their lowest point in decades after a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program was concluded.

After many years of negotiation, on 14 July 2015, Iran, along with the United States, the Peoples’ Republic of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In exchange for relief from economic and trade sanctions from the United States, the European Union and the Security Council, Iran agreed to significantly reduce or eliminate its stockpiles of enriched uranium and centrifuges, refrain from building any new heavy-water nuclear facilities for 15 years, and impose a limit on uranium enrichment of 3.67 percent for 15 years. Iran also agreed to allow the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA. The Council unanimously passed Resolution 2231 on 20 July 2015, which endorsed the completed deal but contained some restrictions on arms sales and ballistic missile testing and launches.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the JCPOA. On 8 May 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, claiming violations by Iran. The IAEA maintained at the time that Iran was abiding by its commitments under the JCPOA. The United States also claimed that the deal did not do enough to limit Iran’s ballistic missile activity or its support of destabilizing regional militias such as the Houthis in Yemen. The western European signatories to the dealFrance, the United Kingdom and Germanyagree with these complaints but continue to support the JCPOA as the best way to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

In November 2018, United States President Donald Trump reimposed oil and financial sanctions against the Iranian regime, citing alleged missile and nuclear programs. Germany, France, Russia and China opposed this action. The IAEA assured States that Iran was not undertaking such programs. Iran has stated it will continue to comply with the 2015 agreement and work with the other signatories, despite the United States abandonment of the deal and imposition of sanctions.

Despite these statements, increasing tensions jeopardize both Iranian compliance and international acceptance that Iran is complying. France, Germany and the United Kingdom sent a letter in February 2019 to the Security Council claiming that Iran had pushed the boundaries of Resolution 2231 by conducting a series of ballistic missile and satellite launch vehicle tests in January 2019. In April 2019, for the first time, the United States designated a branch of a foreign government’s military as a terrorist organizationIran’s Revolutionary Guard Corpswhich the United States accuses of supplying arms and financial support to terrorist groups such as the Houthis in Yemen and Shia militias in Iraq. This designation allows the United States to target members of this group in ways that are normally forbidden by international humanitarian law. Iran immediately responded by designating the United States armed forces deployed in the Middle East as terrorists.

On 8 May 2019, one year to the date from its withdrawal from the JCPOA, the United States imposed another round of sanctions against Iran’s aluminum, copper, iron and steel sectors. Iran responded with a 60-day ultimatum to the remaining parties to the JCPOA: Lift sanctions on its oil and financial sectors, or it will resume enriching uranium beyond the JCPOA limits and building its Arak nuclear reactor, which would also be a direct violation. This ultimatum was rejected by the remaining parties to the JCPOA who called on Iran to abide by its commitments. Iran claims that this latest round of sanctions shows that the United States is not negotiating in good faith.

On 12 May 2019, four oil tankers at anchor at the port of Fujairah near the Strait of Hormuz were sabotaged. The Strait of Hormuz is a sole and narrow passage between the Persian Gulf and the open ocean. Initial findings presented to the Security Council on 7 June 2019 by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway claimed a state actor was behind the attack but stopped short of directly blaming Iran. The United States publicly stated that it believes Iranian actors carried out the attack.

The United States’ allies in the region that are directly opposed to Iran include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Israel. On 24 May, President Trump invoked an emergency powers provision of arms sale legislation to approve an $8.3-billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan over the objections of the United States Congress, citing an Iranian threat. In May 2019, citing an unidentified but credible threat, the United States deployed a carrier group to the Persian Gulf and increased its troop deployment in the area by 1,500 soldiers, including 600 troops that were scheduled to return home but have had their deployments extended.

Countries in Europe are attempting to design an alternative to the dollar-based payment system for Iran to use if it is frozen out of the United States-led international payments system. The United States has become isolated from the other Council members who are parties to the agreementChina, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russiawho maintain that the JCPOA is still valid and frequently call on all parties to refrain from escalating.

In June 2019, the Council received the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 2231 as well as reports from the JCPOA’s Joint Commission and the Council’s Resolution 2231 facilitator. The Secretary-General’s report focused on the components of the resolution dealing with nuclear materials and noted Member States’ conflicting viewpoints on whether Iran’s ballistic missile tests which occurred in late 2018 and early 2019 violate provisions of the JCPOA. Debate within the Council is ongoing as the remaining parties to the agreement attempt to find some way in which it can be saved.

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Bibliography Bibliography

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UN Documents UN Documents

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The Situation in Africa The Situation in Africa

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Sudan Sudan

In February 2003, intense violence broke out in the western Darfur region of Sudan between Sudanese armed forces, local militia and other armed rebel groups. The violence forced hundreds of thousands to flee west to Chad. As the violence escalated and the refugee crisis deepened, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1547 in June 2004, which approved a special Political Mission, the United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan (UNAMIS). UNAMIS was to facilitate contacts between the concerned parties and prepare for the introduction of an official peace support operation. As the crisis in Darfur escalated, including concerns of forced female genital mutilation, rape as a tool of war, ethnic cleansing and the use of child soldiers, the Security Council expanded the mandate of UNAMIS to include effective public information capacity through radio, television and print media in an attempt to curb the violence and promote the peace process.

After continued clashes over southern autonomy, the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005. Two months later, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1590, which officially established the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). The UNMIS mandate was to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, along with facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons; provide humanitarian and development assistance; and contribute to international efforts to protect and promote human rights in the Sudan. Resolution 1706 expanded the mandate of UNMIS in 2006 to include a peacekeeping force of up to 17,300 troops to protect civilians in Darfur; the Sudanese government strongly opposed this expansion.

On 31 July 2007, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1769, which augmented the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and established a joint peacekeeping operation in Darfur: the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Following South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the Sudanese government terminated the presence of UNMIS. Currently, UNAMID deployment is as follows: 5,591 military personnel, 728 police advisers, 1,615 formed police unit officers, 580 international civilian staff, 102 United Nations volunteers, and 1,516 national civilian staff.

Beginning in 2003, high level Sudanese officials began to face accusations that they played in a role in widespread ethnic cleansing and systematic rape in Darfur. The International Criminal Court (ICC) alleged that then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, ordered the ethnic cleansing of non-Arab individuals in Darfur (including ethnic groups such as the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa). The ICC issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir in 2009. In December 2018, a weak economy led to nationwide protests, which quickly turned into renewed calls for President al-Bashir to step down. In response, the Sudanese military began a security crackdown that left an estimated 57 protestors dead.

Later, in February 2019, al-Bashir announced a one-year state of emergency. Al-Bashir announced that he would dissolve the State’s central government, and he appointed a new prime minister and new state governors, all of whom were from the military. On 26 March 2019, a Sudanese representative called upon the Security Council to lift sanctions on the state to improve the economic situation in Sudan, citing that the State is “completely different” from 2005 when the sanctions were imposed. About two weeks later, on 11 April 2019, President al-Bashir was ousted from power and arrested by the Sudanese military. Then-Defense Minister, Awad Ibn Auf, stated that following the coup, a three-month state of emergency was being put in place, and the army would oversee a two-year transitional period, followed by elections. Despite the implementation of a curfew, hundreds of protestors remained vigilant, calling for a civilian transitional council, instead of one headed by the military.

On 12 April, Awad Ibn Auf stepped down as the head of the country’s transitional military council, and Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan took over. Akin to ousted leader al-Bashir, Lt. Gen. Burhan has also been accused of involvement in the atrocities against non-Arab civilians in Darfur since 2003, when he was chief of ground forces. Thousands of protestors have gathered in opposition to Burhan and the transitional military rule, calling for an inclusive, democratic transitional period. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated that the “democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people” needed to be realized. In response to the change in the political situation in Sudan, the Joint Special Representative and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo, told the Security Council that the implementation of UNAMID’s mandate could be affected dramatically, particularly since the Council had planned to withdraw the mission by 30 June 2020.

On 3 June 2019, Sudanese military carried out a deadly raid on a camp of protesters in Khartoum, with the number of reported fatalities ranging from 35 to 120. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) issued a statement that the raid was a “bloody massacre” and the violence continues. Videos surfacing from the protestors appear to display bodies being thrown into the Nile River in an attempt to hide the true number of dead; it is currently estimated that 40 bodies have been found in the Nile. The government imposed an internet blackout to prevent more of these videos from reaching social media and other media sources. Reports are that Sudanese forces are using tear gas and live ammunition to disperse barricades set up in Khartoum, the capital, by protestors. In response to the violence by Sudanese forces, the African Union has suspended the membership of Sudan, and the future of the hybrid UNAMID mission is unclear.

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Mali Mali

Since the Republic of Mali gained independence from France on 20 June 1960, the State has seen four separate periods of rebellion from the Tuareg people: 1963-64, 1990-96, 2006-09, and 2012-present. The Tuareg were considered to be nomads of the Sahara desert, previously inhabiting northern countries of Africa including Niger, Libya, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali. As colonialism in northern Africa came to an end, the Tuareg found themselves separated by geographic borders and in turn, marginalized by newly independent State governments due to their now split-populace. Throughout each of the four rebellion periods, the Tuareg have demanded political autonomy and the establishment of their own State. 

After a 1991 coup led by Amadou Toumani Touré, and until 2012, Mali was stable in its democracy. Amadou Touré led Mali until democratic elections in 1992, and after his predecessor Alpha Konare served two consecutive terms, Touré was democratically elected in 2002. Unfortunately, the desire of the Tuareg to establish political autonomy was not accepted by the Malian government. From 1992 on, the northern part of Mali was considered to be less developed than the southern region, and this led to a significant disparity between the two regions as to the level of political autonomy vs. the government’s level of investment. The Tuareg did not have adequate representation to make advancements in the development of their communities. This came to a head in May 2006, when Tuareg unrest once again brought violence to the northern region of Mali

During the summer of 2006, the Malian military withdrew from the northern region inhabited by the Tuareg, and Algeria offered to lead a mediation process between the Malian government and the Tuareg. This process culminated in an agreement signed 4 July 2006 called the Algiers Accord, which granted the northern region of Mali further political autonomy and allocated “development” funds. Unfortunately, the Algiers Accord was rejected by several Malian political parties, and the lack of implementation of the Accord resulted in continued violence despite the ceasefire between Mali and the Tuareg. After three years of fighting, hundreds of Tuareg lay down their weapons in 2009, under increased pressure from the Malian military and after greater focus was placed on Algerian mediation. Many Tuareg fighters then went to Libya to pursue their autonomous aspirations alongside pro-Muammar al-Qaddafi forces, but returned to Mali in 2011 after Qaddafi’s death on 20 October. The Tuareg expressed the desire to establish an independent state called Azawad, in the northern region of Mali.

In January 2012, the fourth Tuareg rebellion began in Northern Mali, led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad, or MNLA). The Malian government could do little to stop the advancement of the Tuareg fighters, heavily armed after returning from Libya. In turn, some of the Malian military led a coup against the government due to the government’s inability to quell the violence. On 21 March 2012, power was seized from Amadou Toumani Touré and his party, and the constitution of Mali was thrown out. The Security Council issued a statement the next day, condemning the “forcible seizure of power from the democratically-elected Government of Mali” and calling for the “preservation of the electoral process” as elections were scheduled to be held in April 2012. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to attempt to broker an agreement between the Malian government and the MNLA fighters, but imposed sanctions on the junta in the interim in the hopes of de-escalating the conflict. The Security Council authorized an Africa-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) through Resolution 2085, adopted 20 December 2012

Unfortunately, other groups aside from the Tuareg were also interested in seizing the territory in northern Mali, and the MNLA were quickly driven out by Al-Qaida. The Malian government called upon France for military assistance, and after the French helped regain control of seized northern-cities, the Security Council authorized the establishment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) through Resolution 2100, adopted on 25 April 2013. Backed by the African Union and the United Nations, the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement, brokered between the authorities of Mali, the MNLA and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), was finalized as of 18 June 2013. The members of the Security Council stated that the Agreement “reaffirms the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity and secular nature” of Mali.

While the peace talks in the northern region of Mali continued, the head of MINUSMA, Albert Gerard Koenders, expressed that MINUSMA had faced challenges in reaching its full operational capacity. As a result of these challenges, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop requested a more robust mandate for MINUSMA. On 25 June 2014, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2164 which established benchmarks for MINUSMA and renewed the mission for a year. To the dismay of members of the Security Council, terror attacks from groups such as Mouvement pour l’Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest, Al-Qaida and al-Mourabitoun, have been carried out against MINUSMA facilities and personnel from the mission’s onset through the present day. The mandate has been renewed six times, the most recent renewal adopted on 28 June 2019 and extending through 30 June 2020

Despite the 2014 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali resulting from the Algiers Process, which was signed on 24 July 2014, the ceasefire in northern Mali has been continually violated, and terror attacks have only gotten more widespread. In January 2019, Security Council members issued a press statement expressing “a significant sense of impatience with parties over the persistent delays in the full implementation of key provisions of the agreement.” The 28 June 2019 extension of MINUSMA, through Resolution 2480, named two strategic priorities in Mali going forward: (1) utilizing all 13,289 military personnel and 1,920 police personnel to support the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali; and (2) facilitating the “implementation of a comprehensive politically-led Malian strategy to protect civilians, reduce intercommunal violence, and re-establish State authority, State presence and basic social services in Central Mali.” While MINUSMA personnel struggle to thwart the effects of terrorism in the region, the Tuareg remain without political autonomy and have been targeted by terror attacks in retaliation for their military action in northern Mali, particularly near the border of Niger. 

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