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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 Bishan Bedok Tampines Singapore - What happened in the Suez Canal Crisis - JC History Essay Skills

What happened in the Suez Canal Crisis?

What was the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956?
The Suez Canal Crisis broke out when Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, nationalised the Suez Canal. In response, both the United Kingdom and France retaliated and sought to regain control of the canal. Eventually, Egypt managed to retain control of the canal. Subsequently, Israel invaded Egypt, in which this invasion was also known as the Second Arab-Israeli War.

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 re-trace the historical steps and find out what exactly happened during the Suez Crisis and how the United Nations responded to this conflict. By understanding such case studies thoroughly, you will develop a wholesome comprehension of the political effectiveness of the United Nations in handling different forms of challenges.

1. How did the Suez Canal Crisis start?
As mentioned earlier, Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal angered both UK and France the latter group’s economic interests were at stake. In particular, the Suez Canal Company was a joint enterprise owned by the two countries. Therefore, the British and France were determined to restore control of the canal.

On a separate but related note, Israel perceived Egypt as a security threat due to the latter’s involvement in the 1948 War of Independence as part of the Arab coalition forces. As such, Israel invaded Egypt on 29 October 1956, while UK and France deployed troops under the pretext of defending their economic interests (i.e. Suez Canal).

2. How did the UN respond? 
On 31 October 1956, the UN Security Council called for an emergency General Assembly meeting. The 1950 ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution was invoked to empower the General Assembly in the planning of recommendations to end the conflict. The UN came to a decision of restraining the aggressor nations and facilitating a ceasefire. As such, the UN formed the first-ever task force, known as the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) to oversee the resolution of the Suez Canal Crisis.  The UNEF played a supervisory role of ensuring the withdrawal of the opposing forces.

3. What was the outcome?
At the initial stage, UN was unaware that these three nations (i.e. Israel, UK and France) launched coordinated attacks. Over time, the realization of this combined military effort angered USA, which threatened to impose economic sanctions should they refuse to back down. Faced with international criticisms and pressures, both the British and French forces complied and withdrew their troops by December 1956. Similarly, Israel acceded to political and economic pressures of the US and withdrew its troops in March 1957.

In the wake of the crisis, Egyptian ownership of the Suez Canal was recognised by the United Nations. By April 1957, the canal was re-opened for shipping. Although the crisis had come to an end, the absence of a peace settlement between Egypt and Israel led to the outbreak of the Six-Day War.

Unfortunately, given the principal requirement of respecting sovereign rights, Egypt’s request for the departure of UNEF could not be ignored. Hence, the withdrawal of the UN allowed tensions to rise and manifest in the form of another military confrontation.

What can we learn from this case study?
Once you have understood the general idea of this UN case study, consider the following points:
– Did the UN play an important role in the resolution of this conflict? If so, how? 
– Were structural factors of the UN more important than the domestic conditions of the conflict zone in affecting the political effectiveness of the UN? [to be discussed in class]

In the subsequent articles, we will examine other related case studies to derive a more comprehensive understanding of the UN’s role in upholding international peace and security from 1945 to 2000. As part of the Paper 1 Theme 3 topic, you are expected to be familiar with a wide range of case studies to provide evidence to support your arguments on the assessment of the UN’s performance. You can consider joining our JC History Tuition to become better in organising your content and applying your knowledge to A Level History essay questions.

Additionally, you can complement your revision for the Preliminary and Promotional examinations by attending classes, like Economics Tuition and GP Tuition that will impart you with the essential knowledge and exam-smart skills to ace the A Level examinations. 

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