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Press Article 2: Mr. Rafal Szczurowski speaks on Iraq’s numerous wars

The following press article was written by 11th grader Yada P. during the Global Classrooms Model United Nations, which was held on May 16-18, 2013. To learn more about the event and see other examples of Yada’s articles, you can view Ambika Dani’s full write-up here.

Mr. Rafal Szczurowski, professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and City Hall, spoke for the Historical Security Council. In his presentation, “3 Wars, 3 Resolutions, 1 Country,” he discussed the development of the United Nations’ method of human rights implementation and the Security Council’s power.

The first of three wars that he described was between Iran and Iraq and resulted in Resolution 598, which was passed in accordance with Chapter 7 in the UN Charter. This Chapter, which notably includes articles 31, 40 and 41, focuses on acts of aggression and threats to peace. These articles specify the powers of the Security Council, stating that it may determine actions between warring countries, call temporary measures and sanctions, and assert its authority with legally binding force. The peacekeeping operation in Iraq and Iran was executed in the typical and traditional way. The UN troops, or “blue helmets,” did not need to use force – both Iran and Iraq continued to support the peace.

The second war, which was the Gulf War between Iraq and Kuwait, resulted in Resolutions 678 and 866 – also in accordance to Chapter 7. In 1990, Iraq attacked Kuwait, and after 12 resolutions aimed at extracting Iraq from Kuwait, Resolution 678 authorized the use of force against Iraq. Critics said that there was not a specific timeline and that the resolution was pushed mainly by the US as an abuse of power. Resolution 688, passed on April 1991, aimed at recognizing and establishing the human rights of the Shea and Kurdish population in Iraq. These people were under the control of Saddam Hussein, and this measure marked the first Security Council recognition of a break in human rights as a threat to global peace and security.

The third war, which was a war against weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear bombs, was directed at Saddam Hussein. The speaker emphasized the danger of such weapons, attributing their threat to the fact “there is no defense” against them. Resolution 687, which was passed in response to the situation, urged Hussein to give up all such weapons. Hussein refused, storing hidden supplies during foreign inspections and expelling foreign inspectors out by 1998. In 2002, inspections resumed and inspectors found traces of nuclear weapons. As Mr. Szczurowski said, ”Saddam was playing a very dangerous game.” The problem was that even though there was a resolution made, it did not properly handle the case in which Hussein would not cooperate with the international community at any level.

Mr. Szczurowski believes that the Iraq situation is extremely important in the examination of current issues since it provides context. He further believes that the Historical Security Council at GCIMUN will be “significant for the participants” in that they learn how the internal policies and procedures of the council work. He said that international peace and security was “always” most important. Even though it is possible for all topics to be discussed “hand in hand” without security, there would be no possibility of debating other topics such as the environment and women’s rights. As further research topics for delegates, Mr. Szczurowski suggested Tom Wise, a member of the European Parliament for the East of England, and Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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