JC History Tuition Online - What was the Brahimi Report - UN Notes

What was the Brahimi Report?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 3: UN Reforms

Historical Context: The Report
Following the disasters in Bosnia and Rwanda, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. He tasked the Panel to review the challenges faced by ongoing peace operations and make specific recommendations. The Panel was chaired by the UN Under-Secretary-General Lakhdar Brahimi.

On 21 August 2000, the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (also known as the “Brahimi Report” in short) was published, offering a comprehensive assessment of peacekeeping operations as well as specific recommendations to finetune the processes.

The recommendations focus, to a large degree, on structural and management problems, but the Panel also commented on the doctrine on which peace operations should be conducted. Although the Panel states that the ‘consent of the local parties, impartiality and the use of force only in self-defence should remain the bedrock principles of peacekeeping’ (Brahimi Report, para. 48), the Report calls for more robust mandates that are also clear, credible and achievable, and does not only question, but also modifies, the traditional approach to peacekeeping concerning the consent of the parties, the principle of impartiality and the non-use of force.

An excerpt taken from “International Peacekeeping” by Boris Kondoch.

Let’s take a look at some of the points raised in the Report:

1. The need for clear, credible and achievable UN mandates
The Brahimi Report advised the UN Secretariat to highlight the key requirements for peace operations in dangerous environments. Also, the Secretariat should inform the UN Security Council (UNSC) when a possible operation goes beyond its capacity. By doing so, the UNSC can hold consultations with troop contributing member states when making risk assessments before deployment.

2. Requirements for effective peacebuilding
The Panel recognised the essential role that peacekeepers play in the post-conflict phase. It urged the UN to ensure that there is adequate budget allocated for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR). Delays in funding may risk the resurgence of violence in mission areas.

3. Enhancements to the recruitment and deployment of troops
While the United Nations Stand-by Arrangement System (UNSAS) was already established in the early 1990s under the former Secretary-General’s “An Agenda for Peace” report, the Brahimi Report made recommendations to improve on it.

In particular, the Panel requested the re-organisation of the UNSAS, with the inclusion of four levels of commitment, a new “Rapid Deployment Level” for troop resources available within 30 or 90 days of a Security Council mandate. In addition, the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) will create a “Military On-Call List”. This List will facilitate timely deployment of military headquarter staffs of new missions.

Given that prevention is better than cure, one possible option for the UN would be to engage in the kind of preventive deployment that appeared to have worked in Macedonia. Deployment of peacekeepers in ‘unstable areas’ would appear to provide the possibility of helping to provide an environment in which problems could be nipped in the bud, or at least controlled. […]

However, the option of preventive diplomacy faces several problems. […] Such political will seems to have been lacking in some instances and at best the UN Security Council has been reactive to events rather than taking a more pro-active stance. Secretary-General Annan has highlighted the root causes of conflict arising out of the Brahmi Report, but it requires political action to support his efforts to address such problems. Moreover, states may be offended by being named as sites for potential armed conflict; particularly intense conflict and recourse to this option would raise serious sovereignty issues.

An excerpt taken from “United Nations Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era” by John Terence O’Neill and Nick Rees.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Brahimi Report showcased the relevance of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened in South West Africa - UN Notes

What happened in South West Africa?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: International Court of Justice: ensuring adherence to international law; arbitration and advisory opinion

Historical Background: Mandate Territory and Trust Territory
After the end of World War One, the German colony South West Africa was declared a League of Nations (LON) Mandate Territory. Under the Treaty of Versailles, South West Africa was considered a British protectorate with the Union of South Africa handling its administration. When World War Two came to an end, the LON Mandates were moved to the United Nations (UN) Trusteeship system, thus South West Africa was expected to become a UN Trust Territory.

However, the South African government opposed the process of South West Africa becoming a UN Trust Territory. Its Prime Minister Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts supported policies of racial segregation in South Africa, sparking controversy among member nations in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

First key response by the Court
On 11 July 1950, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave its Advisory Opinion at the request of the UNGA. With regards to the legal status of the territory in South West Africa, the ICJ asserted that the UN was “legally qualified to discharge the supervisory functions formerly exercised by the League of Nations”. Also, South Africa “had no competence to modify the international status of South West Africa unilaterally”.

If the reason for the South African government’s refusal to cooperate or negotiate with the United Nations about the status and administration of South West Africa was the fear that its racial policy would be discussed in the world forum, its tactics were a complete failure. On December 6, 1955, the General Assembly adopted a resolution which emphasized racial policy in the territory as the chief issue. It reminded the Union government “of the faith it had re-affirmed in signing the Charter, in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and called on it to observe Article 56 of the Charter.

An excerpt taken from “South Africa and the World: The Foreign Policy of Apartheid” by Amry Vandenbosch.

Even so, South Africa did not relent with its repressive policies towards South West Africa. With mounting pressure from the member states in the Sub-Saharan region in the UNGA, the UN Security Council (UNSC) passed resolutions in 1969 and 1970, denouncing South Africa’s occupation of South West Africa.

On 12 June 1968, under UNGA Resolution 2372 (XXII), South West Africa was renamed as Namibia.

The second key response by the Court
On 29 July 1970, the UNSC requested the ICJ to give an Advisory Opinion on the legal consequences for states of the continued presence of South Africa Namibia. On 21 June 1971, the Court declared that South Africa’s presence in Namibia was illegal, thus the former should withdraw its administration. At the same time, the Court stated that all member states of the UN had to recognise the “illegality of South Africa’s presence in Namibia and the invalidity of its acts on behalf of or concerning Namibia”.

In the Namibia Opinion, the ICJ drew another set of limits, this time in the context of treaty law, to the responses that states may legitimately adopt, even where this concerned an obligation erga omnes (towards all), the breach of which was invoked by, and the reaction to the breach authorized by, collective bodies. The ICJ held that the obligations of states flowing from a Security Council resolution (in this case, Resolution 276 (1970)) not to enter into treaty relations with South Africa could not “be applied to certain general conventions such as those of a humanitarian character, the non-performance of which may adversely affect the people of Namibia”, a holding reminiscent of Article 60(5) of the 1969 Vienna Convention.

An excerpt taken from “The International Court of Justice: Its Future Role After Fifty Years” by J. M. Thurnszky Sam Muller and A. S. Muller.

This time, the UNSC passed Resolution 418, imposed a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa to put sufficient pressure on the latter to comply with the Court’s Opinion. On 22 December 1988, the Tripartite Accord was signed by Angola, Cuba and South Africa, granting independence to Namibia from South Africa.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the International Court of Justice was effective in managing the legal dispute over South West Africa.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did the UN respond to the Suez Canal crisis - UN Notes

How did the UN respond to the Suez Canal crisis?

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

Historical Context: Trouble in Suez
In October 1956, Egypt, Jordan and Syria formed a joint military command that alarmed Israel. When the USA and UK backed down on their decision to finance the development of an Aswan dam project for Egypt, President Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal, declaring that the transit fees would be used to pay for the infrastructure.

In retaliation, Britain and France orchestrated an attack on Egypt to reclaim the Suez. In the process, Israel was brought into the picture. On 29 October 1956, Israel invaded Sinai. On 5 November, the British and French deployed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. From October 1956 to March 1957, the Suez Canal was closed as a result of the crisis.

The [Suez] canal had been built during the 1860s under French management in partnership with Egypt. The canal itself was Egyptian, guaranteed as an open waterway under an international treaty, the Convention of Constantinople, signed in 1888. But the canal was operated by an unusual private firm, the Universal Suez Canal Company, headquartered in Paris. The British had bought a large minority of the stock from a bankrupt Egyptian government in 1875. The company had a concession to operate the canal until 1968. Surrounding the canal, loaded with infrastructure such as railroads, harbors, and warehouses, was the Canal Zone – an elaborate British base operated under an Anglo-Egyptian treaty signed in 1936.

An excerpt taken from “Suez Deconstructed: An Interactive Study in Crisis, War, and Peacemaking” by Philip Zelikow and Ernest May.

The First United Nations Emergency Force: UNEF I
On 7 November 1956, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 1001, leading to the creation of a peacekeeping force, known as the First United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I). UNEF I was tasked to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities, including the withdrawal of foreign troops (France, Britain and Israel) from Egyptian territory. Also, the UNEF I functioned as a buffer between Egyptian and Israeli forces, monitoring a ceasefire agreement that lasted for ten years.

Through the efforts of Canada’s Minister for External Affairs Lester Pearson and various European delegates, on February 2 the General Assembly passed two resolutions that focused on both Egypt and Israel. The first deplored Israeli noncompliance with the earlier General Assembly resolution that had mandated a complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territory and called upon Israel to complete its pullback without delay. The second resolution called upon both countries to observe the armistice agreement and, after Israeli troops withdrew, mandated the stationing of UNEF troops on the Israeli-Egyptian border.

An excerpt taken from “The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis” by Diane B. Kunz.

With the help of the charismatic Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, Nasser agreed to the presence of UNEF I on the condition that Egypt could revoke its agreement at any time. Furthermore, the peacekeeping troops stationed in Egypt have no authority over the people. On the other hand, Israel refused to give UNEF consent to enter its territory.

By February 1957, UNEF I had 6073 personnel, which were contributed by eleven member states of the United Nations (Yugoslavia, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark and Norway).

Six-Day War: A political bystander?
However, Egypt no longer welcomed UNEF’s presence by 1967. Given Israel’s participation in the invasion of Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis as well as its hostility following the Palestinian War of 1948, tensions were high.

In May 1967, the Soviet Union delivered reports to Egypt, claiming that Israeli troops were amassing on the Syrian border. In anticipation of a possible military incursion, Nasser withdrew consent, forcing Secretary-General U Thant to comply with the expulsion of UNEF stationed in the Sinai Peninsula.

On 13 May 1967, [Nasser] received a Soviet intelligence report claiming that Israel was massing troops on Syria’s border. Nasser responded by taking three successive steps that made war virtually inevitable: he deployed his troops in the Sinai close to Israel’s border, he expelled the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai, and, on 22 May, he closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. In Israeli eyes, this was a casus belli, a cause for war. On 5 June, Israel seized the initiative and launched the short, sharp war that ended in a resounding military defeat for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

An excerpt taken from “The 1967 Arab-Israeli War: Origins and Consequences” by Avi Shlaim and William Roger Louis.

Egypt then declared its intention to impose a blockade through the Straits of Tiran, which would have hampered Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Israel was outraged by this announcement, declaring the blockade as an act of war. On 5 June 1967, Israel commenced Operation Focus, which was a series of pre-emptive air strikes that disabled Egyptian air operations. This marked the start of the Six-Day War.

Evidently, the UN peacekeepers were helpless to the situation in spite of their initial success in response to the Suez Crisis.

An illustration on the changes to Israeli-controlled territories before and after the Six Day War of 1967. [Source: BBC]

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the key factor that determined the successes of United Nations peacekeeping was the cooperation of member states?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as JC Math Tuition and JC Chemistry Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition, Social Studies Tuition, Geography, History Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English, Math and Science Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.