JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What caused the Cambodian-Vietnamese War - United Nations

What caused the Cambodian-Vietnamese War?

What happened in 1978?
On 25 Dec 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and installed a pro-Vietnam communist government, known as the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). Given that this crisis took place during the Cold War period, the perceived expansion of communist influence in Southeast Asia prompted regional organizations, such as the ASEAN and UN, to take action and resolve the security threat. Eventually, with the assistance of great powers, namely USA, USSR and China, Vietnam agreed to withdraw its troops in 1991.

Find out what happened during the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in 1978.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the following part, we will analyze the roles of Vietnam, regional organizations and great powers to understand how the Cambodian conflict started and ended.

1. [Cambodia vs Vietnam] Origins of the conflict
Before the 1978 invasion, there was a longstanding historical conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam. Before the 20th century, Vietnam was seen as a security threat to Cambodia. Then, from 1977 to 1978, there was a series of confrontations between the two nations as a result of the Cambodian incursions into Vietnam.

2. [Vietnam] Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, 1978-1989
Following the Vietnamese invasion, Hun Sen ruled PRK in Cambodia. On the other hand, the government-in-exile (under Prince Norodom Sihanouk) formed the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK). Clearly, there was a formation of two camps – the pro-Vietnamese PRK backed by Soviet Union; the pro-West CGDK supported by China, USA and ASEAN.

3. [United Nations] Futile responses
In view of this occupation, the United Nations (UN) Security Council tried to draft resolutions in Jan 1979 to request the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia. However, Cold War interests hampered the UN as Soviet Union vetoed to defend Vietnam.

Likewise, the UN General Assembly’s efforts proved futile. After ASEAN raised the matter in Aug 1979, the International Conference on Kampuchea was held in Oct 1980, in which Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim requested Vietnam to end the occupation in Cambodia. Yet, Vietnam boycotted the event, thus limiting the effectiveness of the UN.

4. [Great Powers] The end of Cold War: International co-operation
Fortunately, the changing international climate ended the UN inaction. From the mid-1980s, great powers, particularly Soviet Union and China, worked together to support the UN in resolving the conflict.

As Soviet leader Gorbachev rose to power, he directed the withdrawal of economic and military support and pressured Vietnam to end its occupation in Cambodia. Additionally, Soviet Union and China held diplomatic talks in Kampuchea. Similarly, ASEAN conducted the ‘Jakarta Informal Meetings’ to improve relations between the PRK and CGDK.

As a result of international cooperation, the Cambodian conflict ended with the Paris Peace Agreement that was signed in Oct 1991. Vietnam agreed to withdraw its troops from Cambodia.

5. [United Nations] New roles: Peacekeeping and peacebuilding
Afterwards, UN could finally perform its role with minimal hindrances. In Feb 1992, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 745, which authorised the deployment of the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia).

In contrast to the peacekeeping missions during the Cold War (1950s-1991), the post-Cold War operations expanded beyond ceasefire monitoring. As the name suggests, the UNTAC played an administrative role by overseeing the smooth political transition of Cambodia. In particular, it succeeded in facilitating the elections held in May 1993.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study:
– How far do you agree that Cold War rivalry was the greatest obstacle in affecting the effectiveness of the UN Security Council? [to be discussed in class]

Apart from analyzing various case studies in this broad and vast theme on the United Nations, you can also join our JC History Tuition to assess your knowledge application skills. We teach students to think critically and write persuasively. Furthermore, we use different teaching approaches to engage students as they learn to grasp concepts effectively. Also, we offer other JC tuition classes, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up for the JC Tuition programmes to get discounts.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened in East Timor - United Nations

What happened in East Timor?

Overview
The 1999 East Timorese crisis broke out due to resistance by Indonesian militants that protested against the independence movement. Following a period of armed confrontation, the United Nations intervened and deployed a peacekeeping force to restore peace and oversee the conduct of elections in East Timor.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the following section, we will analyze the roles of Indonesia and East Timor to measure the political effectiveness of the United Nations (UN) in the post-Cold War period.

1. [Indonesia] Prelude to the crisis: Indonesian invasion of East Timor
In 1974, Portuguese Timor (later named East Timor) was granted independence by Portugal. However, a civil war broke out within East Timor as there were differing opinions over the inclusion of East Timor as part of Indonesia. The FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor supported independence, whereas the UDT (Timorese Democratic Union) pushed for annexation.

This civil war escalated into an inter-state conflict when the Fretilin declared East Timor independent on 28 Nov 1975. In Dec 1975, Indonesia launched ‘Operation Lotus’ (i.e. Operasi Seroja), which a massive military operation that involved both naval and aerial invasions.

As a result of the Indonesian invasion, many East Timorese people were killed.

2. [United Nations] International actions: Limited response
Following the invasion, the UN General Assembly condemned the invasion and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor. Likewise, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 384, which reminded Indonesia to respect the right to self-determination.

Even so, the UN response proved to be insignificant, thus allowing Indonesia to control East Timor forcefully from 1975 to 1999.

3. [United Nations] Changing political situation
In 1998, following the Asian Financial Crisis, the Indonesian government changed its position and offered to grant East Timor greater political autonomy. Notably, the government stopped short of declaring East Timor independent.

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed to the incoming Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie to conduct a referendum for East Timor.

4. [East Timor] A turning point: The referendum
In Jun 1999, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1249, which led to the deployment of the UNAMET (UN Mission in East Timor). The purpose of UNAMET is to oversee the proceedings of the referendum. As expected, the referendum reflected a resounding ‘yes’ to the push for independence.

Unfortunately, some Indonesian militants rejected the results and engaged in armed confrontation against the East Timorese people after the referendum. The brutal attacks led to the destruction of public facilities and significant casualties, resulting in the departure of affected victims to flee from their homes.

5. [United Nations] Swift international responses
As a result, the international scene responded with widespread outrage and US President Bill Clinton threatened to withdraw the economic aid (i.e. IMF loans) that Indonesia depended on to recover from the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis.

Additionally, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1264, which called for the deployment of the Australian-led peacekeeping force, known as the INTERFET (International Force East Timor). Gradually the INTERFET succeeded in ending the violence.

Next, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1272, which established the UNTAET (UN Transitional Administration in East Timor). Primarily, the UNTAET took charge of managing the administration in East Timor, thus ensuring a smooth and stable transition to independence.

What was the outcome?
Indonesia finally recognised East Timor, thereby leading to East Timor’s attainment of independence on 20 Mar 2002.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study:
– What are the determining factors that affect the political effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the post-Cold War period?
– In view of the changing nature of UN operations after the Cold War, was the United Nations more successful in this new era? [to be discussed in class]

After examining this case study, you can apply this knowledge to A Level History essay questions to review your level of comprehension. Additionally, you can join our JC History Tuition to receive useful summary notes and practice questions to enhance your revision efforts productively. Besides, you can join other related JC tuition progrmames, such as GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. Under the guidance of experienced and engaging JC tutors, rest assured that you are in good hands.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened in the Persian Gulf War - United Nations

What happened in the Persian Gulf War?

Entering the post-Cold War phase
In Aug 1990, the Gulf War broke out due to the Iraqi invasion in Kuwait due to economic disputes. In response, the US-led coalition force conducted ‘Operation Desert Storm’ from Jan to Feb 1991. In general, the United Nations (UN) benefited from the resolute American support, resulting in a swift and decisive victory that ended with the liberation of Kuwait.

Find out what happened during the Persian Gulf War to understand the role of the USA and the UN.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the section below, we will find out more about the historical developments of the Persian Gulf War by focusing on the specific roles of Iraq, USA and the United Nations.

1. [Iraq] Growing discontent over economic matters
Before Iraq began its invasion of Kuwait, it is important to consider the contributing factors that led to that fateful day. There are two main factors – economic problems and political motivations

First, following the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979, the Iran-Iraq War began (1980-1988), which resulted in the decline of oil prices. Given that Iraq’s economic progress was heavily reliant on oil, the fall in oil prices affected its national income. Additionally, Iraq accused Kuwait of producing oil beyond the quota set by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). Iraq blamed Kuwait for the slump in oil prices that harmed its economy.

Second, Iraq has been challenging Kuwait’s sovereignty, given the latter’s strategic location in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. Iraq perceived Kuwait is situated in a region that yields tremendous economic potential.

As such, after an exchange of threats between the two nations, Iraq commenced its invasion of Kuwait, which took place on 2 Aug 1990.

2. [United Nations] Sanctions and condemnations
In response to the illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed a series of resolutions that condemned the invasion and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops: Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 664 and Resolution 665.

Similarly, the UN General Assembly had a resounding ‘yes’ to the condemnation of the invasion. The UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar used diplomatic means to seek a peaceful resolution with the Iraqi leaders and avoid the escalation of conflict.

Yet, Iraq ignored the repeated calls for withdrawal. Therefore, the UN Security Council applied the principles of ‘collective security’. In Nov 1990, the Resolution 678 was adopted, which authorized the use of force to enforce compliance.

3. [USA] Operation Desert Storm: A unified response
This time, the USA backed the UN by leading a coalition force that comprised of 34 member states to enforce the Resolution and free Kuwait. The US-led forces conducted both aerial and ground operations that led to a swift victory against the Iraqi army. Clearly, the overwhelming military might of the United Nations resulted in the eventual departure of the Iraqi forces.

What was the outcome?
After the Iraqi troops had left Kuwait, the UN passed Resolution 687 that led to the deployment of the UNIKOM (United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission) and the UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission). The UNIKOM focused on patrolling the Iraq-Kuwait border, whereas the UNSCOM oversaw the destruction of nuclear facilities and missiles in Iraq.

However, both UN forces faced obstacles that hindered their operations. The UNIKOM lacked military strength to prevent the entry of unauthorised personnel into the demilitarized zone. Similarly, the UNSCOM had to deal with an uncooperative Iraq. Eventually, the UNSCOM was replaced by the UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) in 1999.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study:
– Was the USA more of a help or hindrance to the United Nations?
– How far do you agree that the operational constraints was the most significant factor that affected the successes of UN operations in the post-Cold War period? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have reviewed this case study, we would like to share with you other relevant JC tuition classes that you can sign up for, such as the GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. Under the guidance of experienced and engaging JC tutors, rest assured that you are in good hands.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened in the Kosovo War - United Nations

What happened in the Kosovo War?

What happened in Kosovo?
Between 1996 and 1999, an armed conflict broke out between the Serbian and Yugoslav forces due to the desire of the Kosovars to secede from Yugoslavia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which led the controversial bombing campaign that affected the UN efforts in conflict resolution. In general, after a series of violent confrontation, Serbian President Slobodan Milošević accepted mediation (Kumanovo Treaty) and allowed United Nations (UN) to provide humanitarian relief to the affected people. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence.

Find out what happened in the past before Kosovo became an independent nation in the 21st century.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the following parts, we will examine the developments of the conflict to understand the role of the UN. It is important to identify and analyze the contributing factors affecting the Kosovo War to comprehend the limitations of the UN.

1. [Kosovo] Ethnic tensions in Kosovo
Following the death of Josip Broz Tito, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) experienced an outbreak of political and economic instability. In 1992, four out of six republics declared independence, whereas Serbia and Montenegro remained as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The FRY was led by President Slobodan Milošević.

Within Kosovo, the population comprised of an ethnic Albanian majority and Serb minority. In contrast, the FRY was governed by the Serbians. As such, the Serbian government was against the Albanian Kosovars’ idea of secession due to the political problems of separatist movements.

In 1995, the Albanian Kosovars formed the KLA, which used guerilla tactics to attack the Serbian minority in Kosovo, marking the start of the Kosovo War. The conflict escalated during the Račak massacre, in which 45 Albanians were killed by Serbian security troops in Jan 1999.

As a result, this humanitarian crisis prompted NATO to consider the use of force against the FRY, thus causing the conflict to include regional organizations.

2. [United Nations/NATO] International condemnation and intervention
In Mar 1998, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1160, which imposed an arms embargo on the FRY and disallowed governments from arming the KLA. Although the NATO initiated Operation ‘Determined Falcon’ as a warning to the Serbian government over its aggression, the latter refused to back down.

In view of the continued hostilities between the Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1199, which demanded the cessation of Serb aggression against the KLA and the end of KLA’s secession.

3. [NATO] Desperate times; Desperate measures
NATO sought to resolve them conflict on their terms as seen by the ‘Rambouillet Accords’, which the regional organization had drafted. The Accord was a peace agreement between the FRY and the Albanian majority in Kosovo. It pushed for NATO’s administration in Kosovo as well as the deployment of NATO peacekeeping forces.

However, the Serbian government of FRY rejected the Agreement as they perceived the Accord would have enabled NATO to have full access into the whole Yugoslavia. Hence, the breakdown of the peace negotiations led to the start of the disastrous NATO bombing campaign in Mar 1999 that lasted for 78 days.

Unexpectedly, NATO began the aerial bombardments against the FRY without the UN Security Council’s authorization, claiming that the use of force was necessary to resolve the humanitarian problem. Furthermore, the bombing campaign worsened the crisis as thousands of Albanians were forced to evacuate their homes and flee to neighbouring countries.

3. [United Nations] Conflict resolution
As conflict resolution seemed like a forgone conclusion, even with the bombing campaign, NATO declared its intent to conduct a ground invasion. This was motivated by the persistence of the Serbians to escalate the conflict by conducting an ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaign against the Albanians.

Eventually, Milošević backed down, partially due to the Russian-Finnish mediation. In Jun 1999, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244, which led to the deployment of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Additionally, the Kosovo Force (KFOR) supported the UN with its 45,000-strong NATO peacekeeping troops. On 9 Jun 1999, the Kumanovo Treaty was signed between Yugoslavia and Serbia, signalling the end of hostilities and the withdrawal of the FRY security forces.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to comprehend the case study:
– Was NATO more of a help or hindrance to the UN peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo?
– How far do you agree that the Security Council played the most important role in determining the successes of the UN peacekeeping efforts? [to be discussed in class]

In addition to the History case studies found in this website, we also offer other JC tuition classes that you can join, such as the GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. Get started in this exciting learning experience as we teach you how to think critically and write convincingly.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened during the Rwandan Genocide - United Nations

What happened during the Rwandan Genocide?

What happened in Rwanda?
In April 1994, a civil war broke out in Rwanda (located in Central and East Africa), in which the Hutus engaged in the mass slaughter of the Tutsis. Within a span of 100 days, the number of Rwandans killed was estimated to be at 800,000. In general, the United Nations operation in Rwanda was perceived to be a failure as it could not prevent the genocide from taking place.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the next part below, we will examine the key roles to understand the developments in Rwanda as well as the role of the United Nations.

1. [Belgium] A brewing conflict in Rwanda
In the past, Rwanda was under Belgian colonial rule. The Belgians granted the Tutsi aristocratic minority power, which in turn positioned the Hutu majority as a seemingly-lower social class. As such, the growing class division led to rising ethnic tensions between the two groups.

In 1961, Belgium granted the Rwandan colony independence, followed by the outbreak of ethnic violence between the Hutus and Tutsis. The Hutus gained political power, as seen by the ascension of the Hutu president, Juvénal Habyarimana (1973-1994). On the other hand, the exiled Tutsis formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to demand political concessions from the Habyarimana administration, particularly the ‘second-class’ status.

Contrary to the Tutsis’ expectations, the Hutus perceived them as serious threats to social and political stability. Thus, the Rwandan Civil War began. On 2 Oct 1990, the RPF engaged in a war against the government. Although both parties were willing to hold a ceasefire, as seen by the signing of the Arusha Accords in Aug 1993, the peace was short-lived.

2. [United Nations] Humanitarian Responses
In Jun 1993, the UN deployed the UN Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR), which cooperated with the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The UNOMUR’s aim was the oversee the implementation of the 1993 Arusha Accords.

More importantly, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 872 on 5 Oct 1993. The UN Assistance Mission Rwanda (UNAMIR) was deployed. The UNAMIR’s mandate included the monitoring of the Arusha Accords, demobilization of aggressors, overseeing elections and the providing humanitarian aid to the displaced refugees in Rwanda.

Unfortunately, the UN was hampered by the lack of troops (partially due to the Somalia incident). Notably, the UN took five months to organise its troops and form the authorised strength.

3. [Hutu Government] The Genocide begins
In 1994, the Habyarimana government ignored the UN’s efforts and conducted the mass slaughter of Tutsis. The Hutus stood by the justification that the killings were to prevent the enslavement of the Hutu people as the Tutsi aristocrats may resurface if left unchecked.

To make matters worse, the Hutus blamed the Tutsis for the death of Habyarimana on 7 Apr 1994. Although an interim government was formed, it failed to stem the tide of the massacre. Additionally, the RPF (Tutsis) continued to challenge the government, worsening the refugee problem.

4. [United Nations] Last ditch attempts
In view of this complex conflict, the UNAMIR was unable to facilitate a ceasefire. Growing frustrated by the lack of progress and the threatened UN troops, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 912, which diminished the size of the UNAMIR from 2548 to 270.

Finally, the UN Security Council tried to salvage the situation by passing Resolution 929, which led to the start of ‘Operation Turquoise’. It was a multinational operation led by France to provide humanitarian protection for the refugees in Rwanda. Again, the UN was too slow in its response.

What was the outcome?
By Oct 1994, nearly 1 million people were killed. Also, 2 million people were displaced from their homes. Eventually, the killings ceased only when the RPF took over Rwanda and formed a new government.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study better:
– What are the obstacles that hindered the UNAMIR?
– How far do you agree that the lack of political will was the main reason for the failure of the UN operations in Rwanda? [to be discussed in class]

After you have learnt the post-Cold War UN case studies, we would like to share with you more about our JC tuition programmes that you can join, such as the GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. We teach you how to approach these subjects in exam-friendly methods, such that you will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to ace the GCE A Level examinations.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - How did the Somali civil war start - United Nations

How did the Somali civil war start?

What happened in Somalia?
In the 1980s, a civil war broke out in Somalia, which is located close to the ‘Horn of Africa’ (next to Ethiopia and Kenya). The internal conflict arose due to the resistance against the dictator – Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre. In 1991, armed opposition overthrew the Barre government, leaving behind a power vacuum, such that political infighting ensued. Generally, even with the intervention of the United Nations, Somalia was embroiled in a longstanding conflict. Following the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, the UN lost its confidence and withdrew in 1995.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

In the next section, we will learn more about the respective roles that can explain the developments of the Somali civil war, particularly the involvement of the United Nations.

1. [Somalia] A vague semblance of order
Following the collapse of the Barre government, Somalia entered a state of anarchy as multiple military factions began to engage in violent confrontations. The Somali National Movement (SNM) occupied the northern parts (later known as Somaliland), whereas the United Somali Congress (USC) controlled both the capital of Mogadishu and the southern regions.

However, as the capital represented the seat of power, armed factions led by the USC leaders, Mohamed Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, fought aggressively. Then, Ali Mahdi Mohammed was recognised as the President of Somalia, even though his political influence was limited to the capital. In 1992, a ceasefire was called between the two leaders.

2. [United Nations] Humanitarian responses
In view of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 733 (23 Jan 1992) and Resolution 746 (17 Mar 1992). The purpose of these Resolutions was to assist Somalia in the restoration of peace through the provision of humanitarian support. To facilitate this process, the United Nations Operation in Somalia I (UNOSOM I) was formed. Unfortunately, the severity of internal political instability due to the military infighting between warlords hampered the UNOSOM I’s humanitarian relief efforts.

To address this setback, the UNSC passed Resolution 794 (3 Dec 1992) to authorise the deployment of the United Task Force (UNITAF). The UNITAF’s role was to facilitate the creation of a stable and secure environment for ‘humanitarian relief operations’. Notably, the UNITAF was granted SC authorization to use force and ensure that there was minimal obstruction by the local warlords in Somalia. In 1993, the UNOSOM II was deployed to sustain the provision of humanitarian support.

3. [USA] A fatal error: The Battle of Mogadishu
In Aug 1993, the US deployed a Joint Special Operations force, known as the Task Force Ranger, with the aim of capture two of General Mohammed Farah Aidid’s lieutenants. It was part of Operation ‘Gothic Serpent’, which had the main aim of seizing Farah Aidid in the capital Mogadishu.

In Oct 1993, the operation met a major setback as two US ‘Black Hawk’ helicopters were shot down by the local aggressors. All the survivors except one (Michael Durant) were killed by the Somalis at the crash site.

The failed operation had greater political implications on both the US and UN. US President Bill Clinton changed the foreign policy stance and withdrew US forces from Somalia. Similarly, other UN member states followed suit, such as Italy, Belgium, Sweden and France.

What was the outcome?
In conclusion, the UNSC issued Resolution 954 (4 Nov 1994) and called on the UN to withdraw all its forces from Somalia. Eventually, all the UN soldiers left the ‘failed state’ on 3 Mar 1995.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study better:
– Was the UN successful in providing humanitarian aid in this conflict?
– What were the determining factors to evaluate the successes and limitations of the UN operations in Somalia? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have examined the UN’s role in the post-Cold War period, we would like to introduce other JC tuition classes that you can sign up, namely the GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. These lessons will be useful in providing you with the resources and practices to be ready for the rigours of the GCE A Level examinations.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened in the South Lebanon conflict - United Nations

What happened in the South Lebanon conflict?

What happened in South Lebanon?
This conflict is part of a protracted Arab-Israeli conflict, which we have examined in two earlier articles, namely the Palestinian War (1948) and the Suez Canal Crisis (1956). Following the Six-Day War (1967) and the Yom-Kippur War (1973), the Palestinian conflict began in South Lebanon (1978 and 1982). In general, it is an Israeli-Lebanese conflict that broke out due to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Eventually, after a series of failed attempts, the Palestinian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 1989 and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) left in 2000.

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security 

In the following section, we will find out what happened in South Lebanon and understand the roles of the involved parties, namely, Palestinians, Lebanon, Israel and the United Nations.

1. [Palestinians] Flight of the refugees
Ever since the creation of Israel in 1948, the Arab-Israeli conflict resulted in the mass exodus of Palestinians. Many Palestinians fled to Lebanon, which was recognised as one of the more wealthy nations as compared to the Arab countries. By mid-1970s, nearly one-fifth of the population in South Lebanon (including Beirut) comprised of Palestinians.

The problem began with the existence of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), which was formed in 1964 to achieve the ‘liberation of Palestine) via violent and armed means, particularly directed towards the Israelis. In this case, the refugees based in South Lebanon sided with the PLO.

On 11 Mar 1978, the Coastal Road massacre took place, in which the PLO faction (Fatah) hijacked a bus and killed 38 Israeli civilians. The PLO had planned to use the hostages to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners.

2. [Israel] Swift military retaliation
In response to the terrorist attack, Israel began ‘Operation Litani’ three days later. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted the invasion of South Lebanon via the Litani River. Within a week, Israel forces occupied the southern part. As the operation involved land, air and naval bombardment, many Lebanese and Palestinian refugees were displaced. Subsequently, the Lebanese Government requested help from the United Nations.

3. [United Nations] Futile attempts to call for ceasefire and conflict resolution
Then, the Security Council passed Resolution 425 and Resolution 426, which demanded the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. To enforce this mandate, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was established.

However, non-cooperation by the IDF and PLO proved problematic for the UN. For instance, the PLO argued that the Resolution was not applicable due to its lack of specification in requesting the withdrawal of the PLO. Although Israel eventually handed over their position to the South Lebanon Army (SLA) in Jun 1978, the SLA attacked the UNIFL headquarters. Similarly, the Palestinian factions attacked the UNIFIL, thus hindering the area of operations.

On 6 Jun 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon again. This time, it was known as the ‘Operation Peace for Galilee’. The main aim of the Operation was to force the departure of the PLO from South Lebanon. As the IDF expelled the PLO, the SLA (led by Saad Haddad) restricted the movement of the UNIFIL. Unfortunately, the UN thus limited to humanitarian assistance, rather than peacekeeping.

4. [USA] Alternative solutions
As conflict resolution appeared unlikely, other countries sought alternative methods. In Aug 1982, the US led the creation of a ‘Multinational Force’ (MNF) in Lebanon that also involved France, UK and Italy to oversee the withdrawal of PLO forces from Lebanon.

However, the MNF was unable to prevent the outbreak of hostilities. In fact, the MNF was also attacked, as seen by the bombing at the Beirut barracks in Oct 1983 that caused the deaths of nearly 300 peacekeepers. Frustrated by the failures, the MNF withdrew as well.

What was the outcome?
In conclusion, the UN operation in South Lebanon was a failure due to the non-compliance of local military factions (IDF, SLA and PLO). The Lebanese Civil War later ended in 1990, in which Syria occupied Lebanon. Both Palestinians and the Israelis withdrew from Lebanon in 1989 and 2000 respectively.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the case study better:
– Which were more significant obstacles to the UN: Local parties or operational constraints?  
– How far do you agree that inaction of the Security Council was the main reason for the failures of the peacekeeping operation in the Lebanon conflict? [to be discussed in class]

After examining the Lebanon conflict, we would like to suggest other related JC tuition classes that you can consider, such as the Economics Tuition and GP Tuition, which are undoubtedly helpful in your preparation for the GCE A Level examinations. We teach you to think critically, discuss expressively, and write persuasively.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - Why did the Iran Hostage Crisis take place - United Nations ICJ

Why did the Iran Hostage Crisis happen?

On 29 Nov 1979, the US submitted a case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) due to the sudden hostage incident in Iran, which affected its embassy personnel. The US held the premise that the Iran hostage incident was a clear violation of international law. Eventually, the ICJ’s ruling was only accepted by Iran after a series of unilateral enforcement actions undertaken by the US. It was a controversial incident that lasted for 444 days that was eventually resolved, but gave rise to other problems, such as the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War (Sep 1980 – Aug 1988) as well as the deterioration of bilateral relations between the US and Iran.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security – International Court of Justice: ensuring adherence to international law; arbitration and advisory opinion

In the next section, we will find out what happened during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the role of ICJ in resolving this tense conflict. This case study is essential in helping students to understand the supporting role of USA in ensuring the adherence to the international law.

1. [Iran] The hostage incident
On 4 Nov 1979, a group of radical Iranian college students took over the US Embassy complex in Tehran and held its occupants hostage. These students were part of the “Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line”, which supported the Iranian Revolution.

Generally, the Iranian Revolution began with the mass public demonstrations against the last Shah of Iran – Mohammaed Reza Pahlavi. Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Revolution overthrew the American-backed monarchy. The ‘hostage incident’ was part of Iran’s protest against US and to demand the return of the deposed Shah Pahlavi.

2. [ICJ] The United Nations’ response
In response, the US submitted the case to the ICJ. On 24 May 1980, ICJ concluded that Iran had violated international law. Then, the ICJ requested the Iranian Government to ensure the immediate release of the hostages and make reparations to the US. However, Iran ignored the Court’s ruling, reflecting the absence of enforcement.

3. [USA] American response: Escape, sanctions and negotiations
Although the ICJ failed to make progress, the US attempted to resolve the crisis through other means. One such method was a joint covert rescue that was carried out by the Canadian government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 6 American diplomats who evaded capture on 4 Nov were successful in leaving Iran by air flight.

The second approach was more aggressive in nature as the US imposed economic sanctions on Iran, freezing $12 billion of assets and banning Iranian oil imports.

The third approach involved negotiations between the two governments from 1980 to 1981.

4. Outcome: Conflict resolution
In short, the Algiers Declaration (or ‘Algiers Accords’) was signed between US and Iran on 19 Jan 1981, in which involved the unfreezing of $7.9 million Iranian assets in exchange for the immediate release of the hostages. To facilitate the release based on the mutually-agreed terms, the Algiers Declaration formed the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.

The Iran Hostage Crisis ended on 20 Jan 1981, signalling a significant decline in the diplomatic relations between Iran and US. Several months back, in Sep 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, marking the start of the Iran-Iraq War.

What can we learn from this case study?
Use the following questions to assess your understanding of this case:
– Did the ICJ play a critical role in the management of this conflict?
– How far do you agree that the lack of enforcement was the primary reason for the limited effectiveness of the ICJ in ensuring adherence to the international law?

Now that you have examined this ICJ case study, you can apply your knowledge to answer UN-related essay questions in preparation for the GCE A Level History examinations. Also, you can consider joining the Economics Tuition and GP Tuition, which are useful in building up your thinking and writing techniques.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened in the Nicaragua case - United Nations ICJ 2

What happened in the Nicaragua case?

On 9 April 1984, the Nicaraguan government submit a case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with regards to the alleged illegal military and paramilitary activities conducted by the United States of America (USA). The premise was that USA had supported the Contra rebels and sought to destabilize the Sandinista government, which was interpreted as a violation of international law. The case was controversial as it involved a superpower that held considerable political influence. In summary, while the ICJ had ruled in favour of Nicaragua, USA ignored the Court’s ruling and refused to pay compensation, reflecting the limited effectiveness of the judicial organ of the UN.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security – International Court of Justice: ensuring adherence to international law; arbitration and advisory opinion

In the following section, we will focus on the background of the case and how the ICJ performed its arbitration role to resolve the dispute. This case study is useful for students in comprehending the political effectiveness of the Court in maintaining adherence to the international law.

1. [USA] External involvement in Nicaragua
In fact, USA had military involvement in Nicaragua since 1909. Under the leadership of US President William Taft, USA sought to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Fast forward to the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was in support a rebel group, known as the Contras. At that time, the Contras shared the common aim of toppling the Sandinista government.

Therefore, USA provided both financial and military assistance to the Contras. As such, Nicaragua was attacked, as seen by the incursions at the ports, oil installations and a naval base.

2. [Nicaragua] Threats to national security
Facing significant threats to its national security, the Nicaraguan government lodged a formal complaint to the ICJ due to the perceived breach of its sovereign rights. Through the ICJ, Nicaragua hoped that the USA would pay reparations for the damages.

However, USA refused to accept ICJ’s jurisdiction and chose not to participate in the proceedings. It claimed that the military actions undertaken in Nicaragua were to defend its allies, such as El Salvador, due to the alleged aggression inflicted upon by Nicaragua.

3. [ICJ] Outcome: The Court’s response
On 27 June 1986, the Court concluded that USA had violated the customary international law as it supported rebel forces that sought to destabilize the Nicaraguan government. As such, ICJ stated that USA was obligated to compensate Nicaragua for the breaches of international law that led to significant damages.

Yet, on 28 October 1986, USA invoked the veto when the Security Council sought to pass a resolution that called for immediate compliance with the Court’s ruling. Although the UN General Assembly succeeded in passing a non-binding resolution in the next month, the US refused to make reparation to Nicaragua. In March 1988, the USA maintained its position to not participate in the case. Eventually, Nicaragua relented as seen by its declaration to the Court in September 1991 to discontinue the proceedings.

What can we learn from this case study?
Use the following questions to assess your understanding of this case:
– Did ICJ manage to perform its arbitration role effectively?
– What are the critical factors that determined the effectiveness of ICJ in ensuring member states adhere to the international law?

In preparation for the GCE A Level examinations, it may seem like a daunting task, given the complexity of questions and broad coverage of content. As such, you can consider joining our complementary classes, such as the Economics Tuition and GP Tuition. These JC tuition programmes will be instrumental in developing your thinking and writing skills to become more competent and ready for the assessments.

JC History Tuition Notes Bukit Timah Bishan Bedok Singapore - What happened at the Corfu Channel - United Nations

What was the Corfu Channel incident?

The Corfu Channel case [1947-1949] was the first-ever case that the newly-formed International Court of Justice (ICJ) presided over. It was a contentious case that involved a series of encounters between the United Kingdom (UK) and the People’s Republic of Albania. The case was based on the premise that Albanian vessels and mines caused significant damage to British ships and human casualties. Following the ruling passed by the ICJ, the Albanian government had to compensate the UK. Although the accused initially refused to comply, reparations were eventually paid to UK in 1996.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security – International Court of Justice: ensuring adherence to international law; arbitration and advisory opinion

In the following section, we will examine the background of the incident, the role of ICJ and the final outcome of the case. By doing so, knowledge of this case study will be useful for students when they answer United Nations essay questions that discuss the relevance and effectiveness of the ICJ. 

1. [Albania & UK] Three naval encounters: Trouble brewing in the seas
The incident took place in a time when the Cold War-related Greek Civil War (1946-1949) began.

The first incident involved the two British cruisers – HMS Orion and HMS Superb – that were fired upon by Albanian shore batteries on 15 May 1946, while passing through the northern part of the Corfu Channel. In response, the UK lodged a formal protest, demanding an apology from the Albanian government. However, the latter responded with the claim that the two British cruisers had entered Albanian territory, thus justifying their retaliation.

The second incident took place on 22 October 1946, in which a fleet of Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers (UK) entered the Corfu Channel. Then, two British destroyers – HMS Saumarez and HMS Volage were heavily damaged by naval mines. As a result, about 44 were killed and 42 were injured. Later, Albania claimed that the mines were laid by Greece, thus denying responsibility for the accident.

The third incident happened on two consecutive days: 12-13 November 1946. Following the tragic incident, the Royal Navy conducted a mine clearing operation (‘Operation Retail’) in the Corfu Channel. The Albanian government protested against this operation as it was carried out without their approval, given that it was done within Albanian territory.

2. [ICJ] The Proceedings: A score to settle
On 22 May 1947, UK brought the case to the ICJ, requesting Albania to pay reparations. After a substantial period of deliberation for nearly two years, the ICJ concluded that the UK did not violate Albanian territorial waters as the Corfu Channel was meant for international navigation. More importantly, Albania bore the responsibility to warn other states of the naval mines that were present. Hence, the ICJ ordered Albania to pay UK£843,947 as compensation to the UK.

However, ICJ’s ruling was met with non-compliance from Albania, reflecting the absence of enforcement powers to ensure strict adherence to the international law. During the Cold War era, Albania received strong political backing from the Soviet Union, given the former’s ideological inclination towards Marxism-Leninism.

3. Outcome: Significance of the Corfu Channel case
Nevertheless, the dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991 also led to the end of socialism in Albania. On 8 May 1992, both the UK and Albania arrived at a common consensus to end the case. Albania agreed to pay US$2 million to the UK, while the UK returned 1,574 kg of gold to Albania (which was looted by the Nazi Germany during WWII).

From then on, the Corfu Channel case had set the precedence for other contentious cases that the ICJ managed, particularly in matters pertaining to the naval international law. One notable implication was the provision of an international law pertaining to sea navigation. The case influenced the International Law Commission (ILC) to draft the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS I) in 1958. Another significant legacy of the case was its impact on the questionable legality of force, which resurfaced during the Nicaragua v. United States (1986).

What can we learn from this case study?
Use the following questions to assess your understanding of this case:
– What were the factors that determined the political effectiveness of the ICJ in dealing with the Corfu Channel case? 
– Was compliance of member states the most important factor?

If you are interested to study effectively for other subjects to prepare for the GCE A Level examinations, we recommend you to sign up for the Economics Tuition and GP Tuition, which are headed by experienced tutors. These programmes include online learning features, like the use of mobile applications, to keep your revision productive and purposeful.