By Jan Sedlacek
About the Security Council:
When the United Nations were established at the end of World War II to prevent any other conflict of such magnitude, the United Nations Security Council was tasked with the great role of maintaining international peace and security and preventing the escalation of a conflict into an armed struggle at all costs. In the last decade, the Security Council has been meeting almost continually to address ongoing issues of global importance that pose a threat to the maintenance of peace. It consists of 15 nations, 5 of which are permanent (Also known as the P5, consisting of UK, USA, France, China and Russia), who possess the veto power over which there has been a great deal of debate over, as it is misused by certain members more often rather than not. The other 10 member states are elected for two year terms and typically there should be a representation of each geographic region of the planet.
The Security Council is the only UN body whose decisions are legally binding. It is also the only body which can authorize military action. Nevertheless, this is often the last choice as the purpose of the Security Council is to, as previously mentioned, prevent armed conflict at all costs. As such, the council elects to impose economic sanctions on nations unwilling to cooperate. Since its establishment, the Security Council has established a number of important peacekeeping operations, for example MINUSCA, which will be discussed alongside the issue of Central African Republic. Currently, there is significant discussion happening over the reform of the Security Council, taking into consideration the distribution of the veto power, the permanent status of nations and methods of refining the inner workings of the council.
About the Question of the Central African Republic:
The ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic is one of the many that cannot be easily summarised in one paragraph. It is the direct consequence of religious, political and social instability, fueled by ethnic divisions and unstable government. (It is said that since its independence from France, the country has been everything but a Republic). From an empire to a dictatorship to the hideout of some of the worst African War Criminals, the citizens of the Central African Republic have seen it all, and little improvement is one on the horizon. With the transformation of a relief mission called MISCA to a UN peacekeeping operation called MINUSCA, the UN Security Council realised the volatility of the region and the importance of maintaining peace there. The issue of the Central African Republic appears regularly on the Security Council agenda, yet a satisfactory resolution is not reached very often. Support for the country is underway, both at a peacekeeping and a humanitarian status, but the Security Council has yet to effectively apply long term solutions to the problem, establishing a secure environment in one of the poorest, yet tremendously important players on the African political field.
About the Question of Syria
Nearly 6 years of civil war has entrenched Syria, managing to amass an astounding death toll of more than 450,000. What started as a peaceful anti-government protest escalated into a full wage multinational conflict pooling in countries such as the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran into the conflict. Internally, Bashar al-Assad and his army have clashed viciously with opposition groups in bids to gain control over territory. Additionally, the so-called Islamic State (IS) has been rising in authority in the region, making Syria a cauldron of both internal and external conflicts. As a result of the Syrian Civil War, today, Syria is the world’s largest generator of Sunni-Shiite sectarianism.
Furthermore, the Syrian conflict has forced more than 11 million people into displacement, causing yet another crisis, as a result – the refugee crisis. Ultimately, it is the mixture of international interventions and internal disarray that has made the “Question of Syria” one of the deadliest conflicts of the 21st century.
The UN Security Council has worked actively on the conflict, and has usually ended up in a state of division when it came to the agreement between China and Russia on one sides and the United States, United Kingdom, and France on the other. Regardless, it managed to facilitate the entry of international aid and support through resolution 2268.
Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts:
Terrorism has been present for many years and as of the past two decades it has been on a rampant rise. The act of terrorism has always been to invoke fear and panic within a population, intending to cause major physical and psychological damage to all those involved. Just ten years ago in 2006, almost two hundred thousand casualties had been recorded as a result of terrorist acts, and this number has only continued to grow within the past ten years with most recent attacks in countries such as France. Furthermore, the rise in terrorism has increased with the alibi of religious extremism with groups such as Boko Haram and ISIL. The threat of terrorist acts being committed have increased around the globe with one of the major causes towards the rise being increased funding to terrorist groups, especially from state sponsors, as in many cases terrorist groups while a threat to certain nations, can also provide strategic advantages for others. The Security Council works tirelessly to be able to create resolutions towards being able to hinder terrorist groups and eventually work towards the removal of all terrorist groups across the world.