General Assembly mulls over Course of Action in Erbil Hostage Crisis
Aishwarya reports from the UNGA
The United Nations General Assembly Disarmament and International Security Committee (UNGA-DISEC) reconvened on the 14th of March, 2015 to debate the legitimacy of the internationalization of internal armed conflicts between state parties and groups seeking the right to self determination; and to brainstorm possible solutions to any threats to international peace and security posed by the same.
Several member nations reaffirmed their stance on the idea of the legality and legitimacy of movements by factions within nations seeking the right to self-determination, and the internationalization of these conflicts. The council also debated the benchmarks that determined when a self-determination protest could be termed as a full blown conflict requiring the attention and intervention of the international community. A few member nations, including the Syrian Arab Republic, China and Turkey firmly stated that they believed certain caveats to the right to self-determination exist. While China believed that any movement seeking the right to self-determination could not demand secession from its parent nation, Turkey stated that these movements were valid and legal only in regions in which the revolting factions were being subjected to major human rights violations and atrocities by tyrannical states. The Syrian Arab Republic and Brazil stated that the granting of the right to self-determination constitutionally would lead to it being misused by rebel groups to revolt against their governments without legitimate concerns. The Syrian Arab Republic also accused the United States of America of breaching its sovereignty and spreading propaganda amongst the people of Syria, against the government that they had voted in democratically in a free and fair election (President Bashar Al-Assad won by an 89% majority). The United States of America curtly dismissed the allegations by stating that the anti-government protests were a mere reflection of the people’s discontentment with the Syrian government and that the United States would champion the cause of any group of people in the world being subjected to gross human rights violations by their respective governments.
China expressed support for working against intervention by nations that involved funding weaponry used by rebel forces against the state.
In a similar face-off, the United Kingdom accused Russia of intervening in the Crimean secession from Ukraine. Russia denied the allegations of acting in self-interest by stating that the Crimea was a region that was neglected by Ukraine ever since it was granted autonomous status in 1991, which drove Russia to intervene. South Sudan expressed the need for the United Nations to establish objective metrics to determine which warring faction within a troubled nation would be the correct group to support in the best interest of world peace and stability, in a worst case scenario in which both rival groups had committed atrocities and violated human rights.
The Council’s attention was diverted to a crisis in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan that was under siege of the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 15,000 heavily armed fighters took control of the city, severely outnumbering the Peshmerga, the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan. The ISIS reportedly took up to 50 hostages, most of whom were United Nations workers in Kurdistan, of multiple nati0onalities (reportedly 25 Chinese, 13 Brazilian and 5 Swiss hostages). The ISIS demanded the withdrawal of Western “infidels” from the Middle East, and the suspension of air strikes by the USA, the failure of which, they threatened, would lead to one hostage being beheaded every hour, and other dire consequences. The ISIS also claimed to possess a lethal weapon that they would unleash and wreak havoc in the world, should the USA or any other nations antagonize them or make any decisions that could incur their wrath. Findings also alleged that the information required by the ISIS to conduct this attack was sourced by spies working within the Turkish Embassy. The Council rapidly brainstormed immediate plans of action to tackle the crisis. Turkey denied allegations being made against it by other nations including the Syrian Arab Republic of granting passive support to the cause of the ISIS, and categorically stated that Turkey as a nation viewed the ISIS as a terrorist organization, and would work to combat it.
The Council engaged itself in a debate as to whether it was advisable for the United States to withdraw air strikes in the Middle East temporarily in order to ensure that the hostages were released. The United States of America stated that it would not withdraw its troops in order to meet the ISIS’s demand for it would set the wrong precedent for other nations, and would weaken its stronghold in the war against terror. China asserted that the safety of the hostages was its prerogative, and that it would consider launching a military attack on the ISIS. Certain other member nations, including Argentina, Israel, Brazil and South Sudan, however, believed that it was advisable for the United States to temporarily withdraw air strikes in order to save the lives of the hostages, and urged the USA to act wisely, given the threat of a lethal weapon capable of causing mass destruction. Other member nations requested the Council to debate in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis or the establishment of a Special Task Force to rescue the hostages as opposed to the launching of a military attack.