JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the United Nations Security Council - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the United Nations Security Council?

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

Examine the role of the Security Council to understand its significance in maintaining international peace and security.

Role of the UN Security Council (UNSC)
The Security Council is the primary organ that bears the responsibility to maintain international peace and security. It is comprised of 15 members: Five permanent members (known as the ‘P5’ in short – namely USA, Russia, UK, France and China) as well as ten non-permanent members (elected for two-year terms).

In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.

In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII

Article 24, Chapter V of the United Nations Charter

#1: Empowerment of the UNSC
As outlined in Article 24, the UNSC is granted the empowerment tools to invoke Chapters VI (Pacific Settlement of Disputes), VII (Actions with respect to Threats to the Peace), VIII (Regional arrangements) and XII (International Trustee System) to fulfill its primary role.

The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

Article 25, Chapter V of the United Nations Charter

Furthermore, the resolutions of the UNSC are binding, implying that affected parties, including members of the United Nations must comply.

Chapter VI: Pacific Settlement of Disputes
We will be examining three aspects to understand the significant role of the UNSC in invoking the relevant ‘Chapters’. First, Chapter VI involves the diplomatic and peaceful approach of encouraging warring parties to cooperate with the UN and resolve the conflicts without violence.

1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.

Article 33, Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter

In practice, the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) is instructed by the Security Council to act on these resolutions through peaceful means, if possible.

Chapter VII: Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression
Another critical option that the UNSC can introduce is Chapter VII. Should diplomacy fail, the use of force is considered as the next possible option. According to the UN Charter, a ‘Military Staff Committee’ is established to oversee the procedures on how it can be carried out appropriately.

The ‘Collective Security’ principle was applied in practice notably in two situations: the Korean War (1950) and the Gulf War (1990).

The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

Article 39 and 42, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter

Chapter VIII: Regional Arrangements
Lastly, the UNSC can employ the assistance of ‘regional arrangements’, which simply can be referred to regional organizations to fulfill its resolutions. The benefit of relying on these groupings is that UN can gather operational resources, including troop contributions, rapidly to conduct swift crisis responses. This is backed by the observation that the United Nations lacks a ‘permanent standing army’. Throughout the UN-sponsored operation, these ‘regional arrangements’ must adhere to the principles of the UN Charter to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

In particular, the UNSC must authorize any form of enforcement before the ‘regional arrangement’ can do so.

The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council

Article 53, Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter

Yet, there were instances in which authorization was not sought after, as exemplified by the Kosovo War. During the conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) carried out its bombing campaign in Yugoslavia from March to June 1999. China and Russia opposed NATO’s proposal for military action.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the view that structural limitations were the greatest hindrance to the functioning of the United Nations Security Council from 1945 to 2000. [to be discussed in class].

Join our JC History Tuition and find out how you can organise your areas of study for these comprehensive topics, such as ‘Safeguarding International Peace and Security’ and ‘Economic Development after Independence’. Additionally, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to register now!

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly?

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

Examine the role of the UNGA to understand its contributions to the world.

Role of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)
The General Assembly is the principal deliberative organ of the United Nations. It comprises of the representatives of all member states that admitted the international organization.

#1: Discussions and recommendations on matters affecting international peace and security
In particular, the UNGA is charged with the responsibility to facilitate discussions among member states to address matters pertaining to international peace and security.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.

Article 10, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

However, it is imperative to acknowledge the advisory role of the UNGA as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) bears the primary responsibility in the authorization of use of force in dealing with such matters.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.

Article 11(2), Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#2: Voting Process and Resolutions
After much deliberation, member states of the UNGA would undertake a voting process to decide whether to adopt a resolution (i.e. a course of action). Each member state is entitled to one vote. A two-thirds majority must be made before the resolution can be passed.

These resolutions can be passed to address matters, such as the admission of new member states to the General Assembly.

Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include: recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security, the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council…

Article 18, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#3: ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution
Although there were Charter limitations that inhibited the UNGA’s role, a reform was introduced on 3 November 1950, known as the ‘Uniting for Peace’ (UfP) resolution.

If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Resolution 377(V), 3 November 1950

In practice, the UfP resolution was first invoked during the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. Due to the vetoes by France and the United Kingdom, the resolution empowered the UNGA to act. This lead to the successful formation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) that supervised the cessation of hostilities in Egypt.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the view that great power politics impeded the role of the United Nations General Assembly during the Cold War [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition as we teach you to organise your content for the United Nations topics, which is one of the most comprehensive chapters that JC History students will cover in the A Level History syllabus. Also, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

What is the role of the United Nations Secretariat

What is the role of the United Nations Secretariat?

Role of the UN Secretariat
The Secretariat is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is headed by the UN Secretary-General [UNSG].

The UNSG is described as the ‘de facto’ head’ of the international organization and acts as the ‘chief administrative officer’ as stated in Article 97 of the UN Charter.

Additionally, as outlined in Article 99, the UNSG has the responsibility of ‘[bringing] to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security’.

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 examine the contributions of each UNSG during their respective terms in the period of 1945 to 2000.

1. [1946-1952] Trygve Lie
As the first official Secretary-General of the United Nations, he took the lead in managing various international issues, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948 and the Korean War in 1950. However, Lie was impeded by Cold War politics during the latter conflict.

Lie condemned the North Korean invasion and supported the US-led UN coalition that repelled the attacks. As such, Soviet Union perceived Lie as a pro-West, biased UNSG and blocked Lie’s reappointment. Eventually, Lie resigned from the UN.

2. [1953-1961] Dag Hammarskjöld
In contrast to Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld was looked up to by many as the role model for United Nations, given his outstanding contributions during his term.

First, Hammarskjöld’s negotiations with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai had paid off as the latter agreed to release the American pilots, who were prisoners-of-war during the Korean War.

Second, Hammarskjöld oversaw the creation and deployment of the first-ever peacekeeping troops, known as the United Nations Emergency Forces [UNEF], that facilitated the withdrawal of foreign troops in Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Third, Hammarskjöld once again led the formation of the United Nations Operation in the Congo [ONUC] to deal with the Congo Crisis in 1960. He made sure that the ONUC comprised of ‘middle powers’ to circumvent great power politics that frequently caused political deadlock within the Security Council.

However, the UNSG died in a plane crash in 1961, causing the abrupt end to his illustrious career.

3. [1961-1966] U Thant
Following Hammarskjöld’s untimely death, U Thant was appointed to replace him. Although U Thant was recognised for his efforts in overseeing the management of Third World issues, given the growing membership in the 1960s [due to the decolonization of the Afro-Asian bloc], his achievements were marred by several failures.

After the Suez Canal Crisis, the UNEF I oversaw a ten-year transition period and was stationed in Egypt. Yet, U Thant quickly acceded to Egyptian president Nasser’s request to withdraw the UNEF I from Sinai, thus indirectly causing the start of the Six-Day War in 1967.

Furthermore, U Thant’s harsh criticisms towards American involvement in the Vietnam War proved detrimental to his role as the UNSG. In 1966, he put forward a three-stage proposal for conflict resolution. Yet, the US ignored and bypassed his efforts.

4. [1972-1981] Kurt Waldheim
The Austrian diplomat, Kurt Waldheim, played a significant administrative role during his term. Partially, his cautious approach to avoid being criticized or hindered by the Great Powers proved successful, as evidenced by his reappointment for the second term.

For example, Waldheim was successful in responding to the apartheid regime [institutionalized racial segregation] in South Africa and Namibia. His open statements towards the inhumane regime galvanized the General Assembly into action, as seen by the adoption of the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

However, Waldheim proved to be unsuccessful in managing conflicts that involved Great Powers directly, especially the superpowers. For instance, Waldheim was hindered by Soviet Union during the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979.

5. [1982-1991] Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
The Peruvian diplomat, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, was recognised for his successful efforts, partly due to the changing international climate. In the 1980s, the Cold War continued to be a hindrance as observed by the lack of progress during the 1980 Iran-Iraq War. Likewise, the US-backed proxy conflicts in Central America, such as Nicaragua, were problematic as US constantly relied on the use or threat of veto to block de Cuéllar’s diplomatic efforts.

Fortunately, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the end of the Cold War proved fortuitous for him as the superpowers became more supportive of UN efforts.

For example, the UNSG was now able to set up the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan [UNGOMAP] to facilitate the withdrawal of Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Clearly, this was a stark contrast as compared to his predecessor’s time.

6. [1992-1996] Boutros Boutros-Ghali
In the post-Cold War period, Boutros-Ghali contributed to several noteworthy successes. During the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia [1978-1993], he oversaw the deployment of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC] to facilitate a smooth political transition, such as the monitoring of elections.

However, Boutros-Ghali also encountered failures, such as the Somali Civil War [1992] and Rwandan Genocide [1993]. For example, unfavourable local conditions led to the departure of UN forces in Somalia, resulting in the failed attempts to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians.

7. [1997-2006] Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan explored other roles besides the monitoring of peacekeeping missions, as observed by his pursuit of structural changes within the United Nations.

For example, Annan engaged in UN reforms to overcome structural issues through the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ [R2P] framework. Also, he advocated the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, which covered objectives like the proliferation of education, gender equality and poverty reduction.

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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics 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 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Under the guidance of experienced and engaging JC and Secondary 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Under the guidance of experienced and engaging JC and Secondary 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics 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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. We teach you to think critically, discuss expressively, and write persuasively.