Posts

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.

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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition.

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. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition.