HISTORICAL SECURITY COUNCIL ISSUE : THE USSR INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN LILY BUTLER

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1 HISTORICAL SECURITY COUNCIL ISSUE : THE USSR INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN LILY BUTLER INTRODUCTION In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance. - Joseph Stalin After the Second World War, there were two major powers in the world : The United States of America and the Soviet Union. This lead to a general tension between the two countries, that lasted from 1947 to 1991 and is commonly known as the Cold War. Many events took place during that time, even though some periods were calmer, these periods were called Détente (a french word for relaxation). The invasion of Afghanistan was one of these major events that marked the Cold War. More than 1 million Afghans died during this event, as well as around Soviet soldiers. Along with the Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was a way for the Soviet Union to spread their power. But what decisions can be made to make an agreement between the different countries involved? DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS civil war : a war between two different parties ( can be on a political or religious scale) that takes place within a country. In this case, the war is between Amin s communist government and the Muslim revolutionary Mujahideen party. guerilla : a war which opposes little groups of soldiers using harassment or ambushes. They are often characterised by clandestine groups who continually strike and attack in order to make the government react. Cold War : a period of prolonged international tension from 1947 to 1991, due to a rivalry between two countries : the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The Cold War originated because of different views of democracy: USSR believed in communism which opposed capitalist US. Both wanted to gain international power after the war and so major events occurred such as the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnamese War and the Afghan invasion. However, some periods were less extreme, and are called periods of Détente. Mujahideen : Muslim guerilla force who didn t agree with the government s communist ideologies and wanted the country to stay religious. It was composed of two major alliances who were the Peshawar Seven (who received training from Pakistan and China, as well as supplies in weapons from Saudi Arabia, the US and the UK) and the Teheran Eight (who received support from Iran). Approximately troops fought in the end.

2 U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) : former communist country which started in Russia in 1922 and spread to Northern Asia, composed of 14 soviet socialist republics as well as Russia itself. It ended in BACKGROUND INFORMATION To understand why the Soviets decided to invade Afghanistan, here is some background information on the situation, the short- term and long- term events that took place before the invasion. The Soviets chose to invade the country during a period of civil war. The prime minister of Afghanistan, Hafizullah Amin, wanted to sweep aside Muslim tradition within the nation and wanted the country to look more like the communists. But most of the Afghans did not agree with his idea, as they had strong beliefs in Muslim tradition. Amin began to lead a communist government, rejecting religion and arresting many Muslim leaders. Many were outraged by his government. Gradually, more and more Afghans decided to join the Mujahideen, a Muslim guerilla force, who wanted to bring down the communist government. They declared a jihad (a holy war) on Amin s government. In December 1979, Russian troops arrived in Afghanistan to help maintain Amin s government. They claimed that is was not an invasion, as they simply wanted to support the government, and defined the Mujahideen as only being terrorists. A few days later, Amin was killed by the Russians and replaced by Babrak Karmal. As head of the government, he had to be helped by the Soviets to maintain power ( Russian soldiers were needed. The war between the Russians and the Mujahideen then really began. One should know that the Mujahideen were well equipped and knew the mountains well : they were well prepared for a war, and stood up the Russian troops. Long- term events also pushed the Soviets to invade Afghanistan. Firstly, on a political point of view, both the United States and the Soviet Union competed for power on a global scale after World War II, and the Soviets thought it was a good opportunity to convert the country to communism. Furthermore, an important part of being a superpower is to show might and force : the USSR could use Afghanistan as a proving ground for a new generation of soldiers and military equipment. At that time, the United States had been making headway in the Middle East at Moscow s expense, successfully courting Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. Secondly, there were also economical reasons for the USSR to invade. Indeed, the Soviets saw Afghanistan as a key position for trade in Asia. The USSR hoped to take control of India for example, in order to be able to trade through the ocean, and provide access to trade routes and increase the USSR s naval presence. The USSR could also trade more with the Middle East in general, and therefore rival with the Western block. Afghanistan is also a place full of resources such as gas, uranium, iron ore, and copper. The Soviet Union was also very atheist : they wanted to have control over Muslim countries to counter Islamic fundamentalism on their border and prevent Islamic revolts.

3 MAJOR COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED The UN General Assembly passed a resolution protesting the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan by a vote of 104 to 18. the United States, helped send weapons to Afghanistan, as well as sending the CIA to train militants in Pakistan and beaming radio propaganda to Afghanistan. They also boycotted the Olympic Games that took place in Russia. As the Soviets ignored the USA s proposal of a deal to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the US, as well as 65 other nations refused to attend the Games. In Europe, the British provided missiles and the Swiss anti- aircraft guns, after they didn t think them of any use for their own forces, because the models weren t very good. Countries around Afghanistan helped too : China and Saudi Arabia helped the Mujahideen by purchasing all of Israel's captured Soviet weapons clandestinely, and gave them to the Mujahideen. Egypt sent old weapons to the Mujahideen as well as Turkey, which sold its World War II stockpiles to the Mujahideen leaders. All of resources from the different countries willing to help were brought through Pakistan and Iran. Foreign ministers from 34 Islamic nations adopted a resolution which condemned the Soviet intervention and demanded "the immediate, urgent and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops" from the Muslim nation of Afghanistan. Most countries, especially the ones surrounding Afghanistan, were against this invasion, firstly because of the damages caused by the Soviets, but also to defend their religion (defended by the Islamic countries). The USA however found it was an opportunity to provide propaganda against communism and the USSR. TIMELINE OF EVENTS 1947 : Beginning of Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan : US president Truman s policy of providing help economically and militarily to all European countries, who he thought were threatened by the spread of communism by the USSR : The Berlin Airlift : US sends support (resources in food and fuel) to the people living in West Berlin as the Russians closed land access to the city : - NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) formed - Chinese civil war won by communists : Korean war : Communist north invades non- communist south. The north was supported by the USSR and the South was supported by the US. The South managed (thanks to US military and economic aid) to resist the North. By June 1953, peace talks reached a conclusion and the frontier was restored along the 38 th parallel : SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation) formed 1959 : Fidel Castro communist government installed in Cuba 1961 : Berlin Wall built

4 1962 : Sino- Soviet conflict and Cuban Missile Crisis 1965: US sends troops to South Vietnam which thy los in : Soviet Army crushes Czech uprising 1972 : Chine recognized by the USA (Nixon visits) 1975 : Communist forces take over Vietnam 1976 : Communist government installed in Angola 1979 : Civil War in Afghanistan between the pro- western government and the muslim rebels (Mujahideen) 1979 (December 25th): Russian troops land in Afghanistan to maintain a communist government 1979 (December 27th) : Afghan president shot by the Russians. Replaced by Kamal, supported by Russia. RELEVANT TREATIES AND ORGANISATIONS NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), an organization created to maintain security in the world,, and whose aim is to prevent Soviet aggression, evolved to confront global threats, therefore in Afghanistan. Resources were provided mainly in armement, however the Soviet forces were more powerful, as the Alliance was not very efficient and stagnated for some years. The SALT II agreement was supposed to follow SALT I, Strategic Arms Limitation talks between the USA and the USSR, created to contain the arms race. SALT II was signed in 1979 by US president Jimmy Carter and communist leader Leonid Brezhnev. This treaty set more regulations on the different missiles, and set limits on the number of strategic launchers, as well as the different types of missiles (each side was limited to 2400 weapons each). Unfortunately, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty because of the tension between the two countries. The UN General Assembly also voted 104 to 18 against the Russian intervention. This resolution requested the immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan. Most of the countries disapproved this invasion. However the resolution didn t affect the Soviet Union directly (the USSR had already vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council). PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO SOLVE THE ISSUE As previously stated, the UN tried to intervene as much as it could to help Afghanistan however the powers of Russia prevent the UN to intervene too much. The USA did help to make Russia weaker, by putting a ban on the export of grain to the USSR, as well as Boycotting the Olympic Games due to be held in Moscow. All the other countries against Russia did help Afghanistan, mainly by giving them resources, however no direct cessation of the invasion was made. What made the Soviets retreat was the fact that the Russian army became very poor and the Mujahideen gained power. They knew they couldn t win the war and so retreated.

5 POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS Most countries were against this invasion as proved by the vote that took place at the UN. Instead of helping Afghanistan to fight, shouldn t the countries directly try to convince the Soviet Union to stop? If all the countries against this invasion (who represent a majority of votes against ) work together, other solutions could be found to make Russia retreat, such as a peace treaty for example. Delegates are expected to find solutions concerning this issue as if this debate was taking place in BIBLIOGRAPHY p4/baker_p4_12-01_mj_sz/ july- dec06- soviet_10-10/ ir.info/2010/01/03/the- soviet- union%e2%80%99s- last- war/ and- afghanistan APPENDICES https://history.state.gov/milestones/ /salt https://history.state.gov/milestones/ /nato

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