Security council topic a, b and committee background
Security CouncilThe Security Council has primary responsibility, under the Charter,for themaintenance of international peace and security. It is so organized as tobe able to function continuously, and a representative of each of itsmembers must be present at all times at United Nations Headquarters.On 31 January 1992, the first ever Summit Meeting of the Council wasconvened at Headquarters, attended by Heads of State andGovernment of 13 of its 15 members and by the Ministers for ForeignAffairs of the remaining two. The Council may meet elsewhere than atHeadquarters; in 1972, it held a session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and thefollowing year in Panama City, Panama.When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, theCouncils first action is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reachagreement by peaceful means. In some cases, the Council itselfundertakes investigation and mediation. It may appoint specialrepresentatives or request the Secretary-General to do so or to use hisgood offices. It may set forth principles for a peaceful settlement.When a dispute leads to fighting, the Councils first concern is to bring itto an end as soon as possible. On many occasions, the Council hasissued cease-fire directives which have been instrumental in preventingwider hostilities. It also sends United Nations peace-keeping forces tohelp reduce tensions in troubled areas, keep opposing forces apart andcreate conditions of calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought.The Council may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions(such as trade embargoes) or collective military action.A Member State against which preventive or enforcement action hasbeen taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exerciseof the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly onthe recommendation of the Security Council. A Member State which haspersistently violated the principles of the Charter may be expelled fromthe United Nations by the Assembly on the Councils recommendation.A State which is a Member of the United Nations but not of the SecurityCouncil may participate, without a vote, in its discussions when theCouncil considers that that countrys interests are affected. BothMembers of the United Nations and non-members, if they are parties to adispute being considered by the Council, are invited to take part,
without a vote, in the Councils discussions; the Council sets theconditions for participation by a non-member State.The Presidency of the Council rotates monthly, according to the Englishalphabetical listing of its member States.Topic A) Global controversy over Wiki leaks publicationsSince its July release of over 77,000 classified government documentsfrom the Afghanistan War, the whistleblower website Wikileaks.org hascreated serious controversy over the inherent conflict between nationalsecurity interests and government transparency. Just last week, Wiki leaksreleased over 392,000 documents relating to the war in Iraq, sparkingcondemnation from both sides of the political aisle.Both these and the Afghanistan documents painted a picture of theeveryday fighting of the two wars. They also detailed many militarystrategies and other sensitive information that the Obama administrationclaims endangers troops and hampers the war effort. The Department ofDefense released a press statement saying, “We deplore Wiki leaks… Bydisclosing such sensitive information, Wiki leaks continue to put at risk thelives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghansworking with us.”On the other side of the issue, the site exposed over 15,000 previouslyundisclosed civilian deaths in Iraq and brought to light that the militaryhad lied about militants’ use of heat-seeking missiles against NATOaircraft. Wiki leaks claims that it was merely exposing government abuse,but the government claims that the site has undermined nationalsecurity by exposing classified information. This issue over the legality andmorality of exposing classified information is not new in the United States,but is rather an issue with a rich and complicated history which raises thefundamental question: who should have the authority to determine whatshould and should not be published, the press or the government?Wiki leaks is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide a forum foranonymous sources to leak valuable information to journalists. Theorganization claims as its goals the promotion of a free, unrestrainedpress that closely scrutinizes government action to uncover abuse.According to the website’s about page (accessed here), this goal stemsfrom the belief that “Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption andstronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government,corporations and other organizations.”
Wiki leaks promotes itself as a “new model of journalism” that vows to be“fearless in our efforts to get the unvarnished truth out to the public.” Toachieve this goal Wiki leaks believes that the press should be whollyunrestrained in investigating and exposing government abuse. Thegovernment being investigated necessarily disagrees that the pressshould have free reign over what they choose to publish. In the state’sview classified documents are classified for a reason and revealing suchinformation to the public can have dire consequences when it comes tosecurity.Tension between national security and freedom of the press is anenduring feature of American politics. In 1971, The New YorkTimes published excerpts of the Pentagon Papers, classified DefenseDepartment documents detailing American involvement in Vietnam.When the Defense Department sought to bar the Times from continuedpublication, the case proceeded with lightning speed to the SupremeCourt. “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively exposedeception in government” wrote Justice Black for the majority, astatement also quoted on Wiki leaks’ webpage.The Court ruled that the government must demonstrate that “grave andirreparable harm” would follow from publication in order to justify priorrestraint; a requirement it failed to meet in the case of the PentagonPapers. But though they reached a decision, the justices did not come toa consensus as to the role of government and the press in balancing thecompeting claims of security and liberty. The issue remains unresolved asdemonstrated by the Wiki leaks controversy.Who would you trust to make decisions regarding release of sensitiveinformation?Wiki leaks claims to engage in “principled leaking.” The organization isquick to establish that it does not censor its news, but will take measuresto “protect life and limb of innocent people.” Likewise, editors DeanBaquet of The Los Angeles Times and Bill Keller of The New York Timesclaimed that the decision “to publish or not to publish” is a “responsibilitythat falls to editors.”Weighing the merits of publishing against the risks of making sensitiveinformation known, journalists claim the authority to decide whichmaterials to make public. Needless to say, the government disagrees. Inhis dissent to the Court’s decision in New York Times Company v. UnitedStates, Justice Stewart contended that as the Constitution gives theExecutive “a large degree of unshared power” over foreign affairs andnational defense and that it stands to reason that the Executive mustalso possess the “largely unshared duty to determine and preserve”security through decisions regarding confidentiality and classification ofdocuments.Whether the government or the press is the proper authority to balancethe concerns of national security and liberty is debatable. Thegovernment claims its interest is to protect the people from external
threat, the press from the dangers of over-powerful and uncheckedgovernment.Who do you believe should determine what should and shouldn’t bepublished? Which concern should be paramount, national security orgovernment transparency?Please post your thoughts in this page’s comments section; our goal hereis to spark an academic discussion of this important issue.Topic B) Midle East because Israel, Lebanon and Syria problemsLebanon vs IsraelAs with many of the conflicts in the Middle East, the ongoing war alongthe Israeli-Lebanese border is a part of the longer and larger Arab-Israeliconflict. In 1948, five Arab nations, including Lebanon, invaded Israel in avain attempt to prevent the birth of the Jewish nation on land that theArabs felt belonged to them. The Arabs called the land occupied by theIsraelis "Palestine" and those Arabs living there as "Palestinians." As a resultof this and subsequent outbreaks of war, thousands of Palestinians fled toneighboring Arab countries. Several Palestinian guerrilla armies formed tofight a guerrilla/terrorist war against Israel. Their attacks on Israeli targetsprompted retaliation on the host nations of Jordan andLebanon. Palestinian power became so great in Jordan, that a civil warwas fought in 1970, resulting in the expulsion of Palestinian forces fromthat nation. At this point, the Palestinian resistance moved to Lebanon, asmall nation located on Israels northern border.The newly resettled Palestinian forces, led by Yasser Arafats PalestineLiberation Organization (PLO), had two important effects onLebanon. First, their ongoing cross-border raiding brought violentresponses from Israel. These retaliatory raids caused death anddestruction for the local inhabitants of South Lebanon.Secondly, thelarge influx of mostly Muslim Palestinians upset the population balancebetween Lebanons Christians and Muslims. These two religious groupsfought a civil war in the 1950s, and an uneasy peace had existedsince. By 1975, tensions between the Lebanese Christians on one sideand the Lebanese Muslims and the PLO on the other side, erupted into abloody civil war. The Lebanese Army and government dissolved as rivalChristian and Muslim militias battled for control of their nation. Thisconflict caused Lebanons only two neighbors to intervene in its
affairs. Soon after the wars beginning, Syria sent a 40,000 man-strong"peace-keeping" force into Eastern Lebanon. Though officially a force forpeace, the Syrians soon took the side of the Muslims and PLO andactively battled the Lebanese Christian forces.Israel began aiding theanti-Muslim forces with weapons and other assistance.As the Lebanese Civil War raged on, the PLO continued attacks onnorthern Israel. By 1978, Israel decided to invade Southern Lebanon,which was now almost fully controlled by the PLO.-- Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (1978) --25,000 Israeli troops invadedsouthern Lebanon on March 14, 1978 in a campaign to drive thePalestine Liberation Organization (PLO) out. This attack was in responseto PLO raids into northern Israel from their bases in southern Lebanon.After the 1970 Jordanian Civil War, in which the PLO was driven out ofJordan, southern Lebanon came under Palestinian control, with YasserArafats forces creating a virtual state-within-a-state." Their controlbecame so dominint, that southern Lebanon was nicknamed"Fatahland," after al-Fatah, the name of Arafats main PLO faction.This Israeli military offensive forced an estimated 285,000 people tobecome refugees, with over 6,000 homes destroyed or badlydamaged. Between 1,100 and 2,000 Lebanese civilians werekilled. Twenty Israeli soldiers died, and an unknown number of Palestinianfighters. The PLO forces retreated ahead of the Israelis and continuedtheir attacks on Israel.Tactically, the Israeli invasion was unsuccessful. Their target, PLO militaryunits, left the area. Israel had failed to prevent the PLO retreat.As the Israelis withdrew in June, 1978, they turned control of theoccupied territory over to the South Lebanon Army (SLA), led by MajorSaad Haddad, a renegade Lebanese Army officer who set up his ownmilitia. The SLA served as Israels proxy in south Lebanon, often engagingthe PLO in combat.An estimated 285,000 Lebanese and Palestininian civilians becamerefugees due to Operation Litani.Estimates of civilian deaths in Lebananrange from 1,100 to 2,000. 20 Israelis soldiers were were killed.The PLOsuffered an unknown number of casualties.
1981 --In response to PLO rocket attacks, Israeli forces began heavybombing of PLO targets in Lebanon. The United States negotiated acease-fire.1982 -- Operation Peace in Galilee (June 6, Israel began its 1982offensive into Lebanon in response to two specific terrorist acts; thebombing of a bus in northern Israel, and the assassination attempt on thelife of Israels ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov. Callingthis invasion "Operation Peace in Galilee," (Galillee is the biblical namefor northern Israel), Israel invaded Lebanon up to the outskirts of theLebanese capital, Beirut.While eventually allowing the PLO to leave Lebanon, Israeli forcesremained in control of south Lebanon near the border until 2000, whenthe troops were withdrawn in order to end the ongoing guerilla war withthe Shiite Lebanese militia called Hezbollah.1993 --Israeli Forces launched Operation Accountability (July 25-July 31,1993), a week-long military campaign directed at Hezbollah ( this conflictis called The Seven-Day War by the Lebanese).In June, 1993, Hezbollah launched rockets against a settlement innorthern Israel, and then in July, 1993, both Hezbollah and the PopularFront for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) launched attacks which killedfive Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers in Israeli-occupied southernLebanon. Israel decided to respond to these attacks by making southernLebanon an inhospitable environment for Hezbollah.During Operation Accountability, Israeli forces destroyed or damagedthousands of houses and buildings, causing some 300,000 Lebanese andPalestinian civilians from southern Lebanon to migrate towards Beirut andother areas outside of the combat zone. Israeli forces also targetedLebanese infrastructure, (power stations, bridges, and roadways. This is atactic that would be repeated in future Israeli attacks on Hezbollah andLebanon. Hezbollah responded with more rocket attacks on Israelicivilian targets.At least 118 Lebanese civilians and two Israeli civilians died during thisoperation.1996 -- Operation Grapes of Wrath (April 11-April 27, 1996) --Israelsmassive air and artillery attack on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanonwhich attempted to end shelling of northern Israel by the Iranian andSyrian-backed Lebanese Islamic militia. Israel forces launched 1,100 airraids and fired nearly 25,132 shells at Hezbollah targets during the sixteen-day offensive. A United Nations camp at Qana, Lebanon, was hit byIsraeli shelling, killing 118 Lebanese civilians who sought shelter
there. Nearly 640 Hezbollah rockets hit northern Israel in this time period,particularly the often-hit settlement of Kiryat ShemonaIsraels ally andproxy force, the South Lebanon Army (a mixed Christian and ShiiteMuslim militia under the command of renegade Lebanese Major SaadHaddad), also engaged in ground fighting with Hezbollah. At least 350civilians were wounded in Lebanon , and 62 Israeli civilians werewounded in Israel.2006 --In response to the killing of three Israeli soldiers and the capture oftwo others in July, 2006 Israel found itself immersed in yet anotherLebanese warLebanon vs SyriaIt dominates Lebanons foreign policy and has effectively occupiedlarge sections of its smaller neighbor for nearly 30 years. There arecurrently some 15,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon, and Hezbollah --amilitant Shiite group supported by Syria and Iran--has long operated insouthern Lebanon. The United States has repeatedly demanded thatSyria withdraw its troops and refrain from interfering in Lebanese politics.Was Syria responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri?There are many suspicions that it was, but no proof. On February 14, amassive car bomb in Beirut killed Hariri and more than a dozen othersand wounded more than 100. Syrian officials deny involvement. InSeptember 2004, the Baathist government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pressured Lebanons parliament to amend the constitution andextend the presidential term of Emile Lahoud, a Maronite Christian widelyseen as a Syrian puppet. Then-Prime Minister Hariri, a billionairebusinessman who had led the post-civil war rebuilding of Lebanon,resigned in protest in October.How long have Syrian troops been in Lebanon?Since 1976. Full-scale civil war broke out in April 1975 between theMaronite Christian groups of the Lebanese Front and the LebaneseNational Movement, which was made up of left-leaning Muslims whowanted a greater share of political power.Fighting was intense, and inJune 1976 the Maronite-dominated government asked for support fromSyria.Syria had previously mounted several failed diplomatic efforts to stop thewar. For then-Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad--the current presidentsfather--the Lebanese conflict presented a range of possibilities, all ofthem unappealing: sectarian strife spilling over into Syria, which had itsown Christian-Muslim tensions; an Israeli invasion of Lebanon; or theestablishment of a radical, left-wing Muslim state, if the LebaneseNational Movement won. Assad sent in troops to strengthen the Maronite
government, which he calculated he could manipulate, many Mideastanalysts say.Assads move earned the wrath of the Muslim world,because he backed the Christian side. Still, small contingents of troopsfrom Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Sudan later joined the Syrian-dominated Arab Deterrent Force. The war lasted 15 years.What caused the war?Tensions among Lebanons Christians, Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, andthe Druze Muslim sect. Those groups had long jockeyed for power andinfluence. Under the French occupation, which lasted from the end ofWorld War I until independence in 1943, a "confessional" system evolvedthat reserved certain government posts for each religious group. Underthis system, Christians had the upper hand in the national assembly--theChamber of Deputies--that chooses the president. This arrangementbred resentment among Lebanese Muslims, especially as they grew tooutnumber Christians.In the early 1970s, the arrival of Yasir Arafat and thousands of his fellowPalestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) militants exacerbated Christian-Muslim strains and swelled the Muslim ranks with thousands ofexperienced gunmen. Lebanese Muslim groups supported the PLOfighters, recently expelled from Jordan, while Maronite Christian groupsworried that PLO raids against Israel would invite retaliation anddestabilize Lebanon. Throughout the 1970s, the PLO increasingly usedLebanon as a base from which to attack Israel. Israeli forces invaded in1978 and 1982; after the second invasion, they remained and occupieda strip of southern Lebanon for nearly 20 years. Egypt, Iraq, and Libyasupported Muslim factions in the civil war, while the United States andIsrael backed Christian groups. During the long course of the conflict,Syria alternately supported the Christian amd Muslim sides.What ended the war?The October 1989 Taif Accords , an agreement brokered by Arabnations, particularly Saudi Arabia, that gave Lebanese Muslims a greatershare of political power in Lebanon and formalized "preferred relations"between Lebanon and Syria.Syrias internationally recognized role as "theguarantor of Lebanons security" was also established in these accords,says Murhaf Jouejati , director of the Middle East Studies program atGeorge Washington University.What impact did the Taif Accords have on the Syria-Lebanonrelationship?Experts say the agreement gave Hafez al-Assad effective control overmost of Lebanon in return for a promise to maintain internal stability. TheSyrians were supposed to set a timetable for a withdrawal of their troopsto the Bekaa Valley, a strategic security zone between Syria andLebanon, by 1992 or another date negotiated with the Lebanesegovernment. Lebanon has never asked Syria to leave.Syria maintainsthat its troops--whose numbers reached a high of 35,000-40,000 in 2000--
are a stabilizing factor and claims it would withdraw them immediately ifLebanon asked.What has happened in Lebanon since the war ended in 1990?The country has been rebuilding. Hariri, who became prime minister in1992, spearheaded an ambitious public-private partnership that rebuiltBeirut, which was known as "the Paris of the Middle East" before the civilwar. The skyscrapers and luxury hotels in the citys downtown reflectedan economic resurgence that steadily erased some of the evidence ofthe devastating war. The war also decimated Lebanons security forces;it rebuilt them with Syrian help, Jouejati says, to its current troop strengthof some 70,000. Politically, there has been "a slow mending of thefences--yet you could feel that there was no sense of a Lebanesenational unity. Sectarianism remained the primary definer of identity,"Jouejati says.What is the US position on Syria?The US government has long said Damascus is a state sponsor of terrorismand has banned foreign aid, American investment, and the sale ofmilitary equipment or dual-use items to Syria.What has the United Nations attitude been toward Syria?The United Nations has a long history of urging foreign troops, includingIsraeli, Syrian, and Palestinian fighters, out of Lebanon. In 1978, UNResolutions 425-427called for Israeli troops to withdraw from Lebanon; in1982, after the second Israeli invasion, the Security Council passed a raftof resolutions, including 508 , 509, and 515-521, deploring the violence ofthat year and asking all parties to cease fighting and withdraw theirtroops. Since Israel pulled out in 2000, attention has focused again onSyrian troops. UN Resolution 1559 , passed in September 2004, is the latestSecurity Council action on foreign presence in Lebanon.What does Resolution 1559 say?Resolution 1559, sponsored by the United States and France andsupported by Lebanese reformers like Hariri, calls for "foreign forces" toleave Lebanon and end their interference in Lebanese affairs. It does notrefer to Syria by name.It also calls for the disarmament of militias. All militias were supposed tobe disarmed after the civil war, but the Lebanese exempted Hezbollah,which they call a national Lebanese resistance movement aimed atfighting Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. In January, UN SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan appointed a special envoy for the implementationof Resolution 1559. Terje Roed-Larsen, formerly UN special coordinator forthe Middle East peace process, began meeting with Lebanese andSyrian officials in early February.What impact will Hariris assassination have on the Syria-Lebanonrelationship?
Experts say the killing has focused both national and internationalattention on the Syrian occupation and revealed deep anti-Syrianfeeling in Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of mourners at Hariris Beirutfuneral February 15 called for Syria to leave Lebanon. Angry mobsattacked Baath Party headquarters in Beirut and Syrian workers andtrucks in other cities, including Tripoli and Hariris hometown of Sidon. "Themajority opinion in Lebanon is that Syrian troops should leave," saysRichard Murphy, a former US ambassador to Syria. Expelling all the Syriansfrom Lebanon wont be easy: in addition to the soldiers, there are morethan 1 million Syrian workers in Lebanon, a country of roughly 4 millionpeople, and thousands of undercover Syrian intelligence agents, expertssay. "The Syrians are deeply integrated into the fabric of Lebanesesociety," Murphy says.Was Hariris death the main cause of anti-Syrian agitation?No; experts say anti-Syrian sentiment had been slowly building. "In the lastyear or so, as the economic resurgence continued, Lebanese voiceswere getting louder about the need to redefine the relationship withSyria--namely, to modify or end completely the Syrian occupation," saysHussein Ibish, the Lebanese-born vice chair of the Progressive MusliUnion and former Washington, DC, correspondent of the Beirut-based Daily Star . Syrias interference with the Lebanese Constitution lastfall angered many Lebanese. The constitution states that a presidentialterm is six years, and candidates are required to wait six years beforerunning again. But in September, Syria forced through a change thatextends current President Emile Lahouds term by three years. "It was avery crude and totally gratuitous display of power by the Syrian regime,"Ibish says.What role did Hariri play in the opposition?Before last fall, Ibish says, the opposition had been mostly limited tosupporters of Michel Aoun--a Christian general who declared himselfpresident of a divided Lebanon in the late 1980s and was laterdeposed--and other disparate groups. As anger over Syrias interferencewith the constitution spread, though, experts say the oppositioncoalesced into a more vocal, organized movement. It attracted thesupport of high-profile Lebanese like Walid Jumblatt, a longtime leaderof the countrys Druze community, as well as Maronite Christianleaders. Hariri, who provided financial support to the opposition and hadhinted at a return to politics, would have made a formidable oppositioncandidate: a charismatic, experienced, wealthy, urban Sunni whoappealed to all of Lebanons distinct communities, experts say. "This iswhy people are not hesitating to blame the Syrians" for Hariris death,Ibish says."Theyre the obvious beneficiaries." He says Lebanese angerover these two events--the Constitutional interference and Hariris killing--could mark a tipping point that might cause "a dramatic change in therelationship between Syria and Lebanon."What are the chances of another civil war if Syria pulls out?
This is a concern, experts say. Some see parallels with Iraq, where mostIraqis want the United States forces to leave--but not immediately, forfear of the instability that would result. "Some people say the Syrian ironfist is keeping all these groups together, and if you remove the fist theyllbe at each others throats again," Jouejati says. "I get the sense that therehabilitation of Lebanon has been mostly physical--infrastructure andsuch--but the social structures have not been rehabilitated."Otherexperts agree that the countrys deep ethnic and religious divisions stillexist."In Lebanon, people have been traumatized by [the experience ofthe] civil war," Ibish says. "The only thing that ended that war was Syriancontrol, and people dont forget that."Whats next on the political agenda?Lebanon will hold parliamentary elections in May, which experts say willtest the strength of the pro-Syrian and opposition factions. Lebaneseofficials announced after Hariris death that the elections would takeplace as scheduled. Jouejati and other experts say this election will likelyshow strong gains by opposition leaders energized by recent events.