Montessori Model United Nations. Distr.: Upper Elementary Eleventh Session XX September Security Council

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1 Montessori Model United Nations S/11/BG-Middle East General Assembly Distr.: Upper Elementary Eleventh Session XX September 2016 Original: English Security Council This is a special part of the United Nations. The UN created this group to try to protect peace. They decide what is a danger to peace. There are 15 members of the Security Council: 5 are permanent and 10 change every two years. The permanent members are China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the US. The other members are Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This groups helps peace in several ways. They ask states to solve problems peacefully. They also advise states to do something different or offer ways to resolve the situation. If a problem becomes bad the Security Council recommends sanctions. This means other states will punish the country in a non-violent way. An example might be not buying the country s products or not allowing a country s sports teams to compete internationally. If things get really bad the Security Council recommends the use of force to bring back international peace and security. All the states of the UN must follow what the Security Council decides. All the permanent members of the Security Council get a veto. This means no resolutions can pass unless all the permanent members agree. All the other members get one vote. They have passed resolutions on peacebuilding, the situation in Western Sahara, and starting peacekeeping operations. Middle East (Syria) Background Syria became an independent country on 24 October Before this time French troops were in Syria and had control over most of the country. By 1946, all the French troops left and Syria became an independent democracy. However, in 1949 the military took over. The military stayed in power until 1954 when Syria became a democracy again but most of the power stayed with the military. Over the next ten years there was not a lot of stability in Syria. People kept trying to get power. In 1963 the Ba ath party took over. This party does not believe people should question what the government does. They think they need time to improve the country and so no other political parties should exist. Basically, this party says it wants to help everybody in the country but democracy would stop them from doing that. In 1970 Hafez Al-Assad took complete control over the country. He wanted to stop other members of the Ba ath party from having power. Assad gave power to people who were close to him. He decided most government decisions. In 2000 he died and he passed on his power to his son Bashar Al-Assad. Bashar Al-Assad won an election in 2000 with over 90% of the votes. However, he was

2 Background Recent Developments the only person who was allowed to run. Around this time the Syrian people started asking for more rights. They started the Damascus Spring and protested peacefully against Assad. Things started to improve but by 2001 Assad started to put the leaders in jail and not allow people to speak out. In 2011 the Syrian people began to protest again. This is called the Arab Spring. Most of the people protested peacefully but the government responded with violence. Now, the protest has turned into the Syrian Civil War. According to the UN, people have been killed. There are multiple sides to this war. Assad is fighting to keep control of Syria but controls less than half. Opposition groups are fighting to make Syria a democracy. Another group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a terrorist group and wants to force their ideas about Islamic law on everyone. Another group is made up of mostly Kurdish people. They want to get rid Assad and ISIS but might also want to create their own country. There are hundreds of armed groups fighting in this conflict and so it makes the issue very complicated. This conflict has forced many Syrians to leave the country. Almost 5 million Syrians have left the country and become refugees. Most of these refugees are in 5 countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. This puts pressure on these countries and creates tensions. There are over 6 million people in Syria internally displaced. This means they are in Syria but do not have a safe place to go. This conflict has been going on for 5 years. There is no side that is strong enough to end the conflict. Most of the Syrian refugees are children. This conflict disrupted their school and will have consequences in the future. The UN would like to resettle 10% of the refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. However, only places have been pledged by countries. There have been over 1 million applications to settle in Europe by refugees since However, the EU cannot decide which countries should take refuges and how many. Canada has resettled refugees and has promised to bring in more refugees. The US has promised to resettle refugees by September Very few refugees have yet to come to the US. More needs to be done. The UN says $7.7 billion is needed to take care of all the refugees and displaced people. Last year, the UN only raised half of what was needed. Russia launched airstrikes in Syria. They said it was to fight ISIS but some of their targets were rebels supported by the US and EU. On 24 November 2015 Turkey shot down a Russian plane that entered their airspace. Russia denies it came into Turkish territory. This created a tense situation and threatened to make the conflict even bigger. ISIS controls a large part of Syria and Iraq. They created a Caliphate. This means they follow a religious leader and use Islamic law. However, many religious people believe they use religion to justify horrible acts. The YPG is a mainly Kurdish rebel group fighting Assad and ISIS. It controls a large area of land in Northern Syria. They are supported by the US and EU.

3 Government of Syria ü Led by Bashar Al-Assad. ü Iran and Russia want Assad to stay in power. The EU and US want him gone. ü Has used chemical weapons in areas with a large civilian population. ü In the areas that Assad controls he is very popular. Refugees Key Topics ü 4.5 million refugees are in 5 countries: Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. ü 86% of refugees in Jordan are living in poverty. After 5 years of civil war many refugees are affected by poverty. ü Large numbers of Syrian refugees have travelled to Europe. This is a dangerous journey where many die. It also puts pressure on European countries. Kurdish Fighters ü Kurds are an ethnic group of 30 million who mostly live in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. ü Syrian Kurds are fighting Assad and ISIS. They have control over a large area in northern Syria. ü The US and EU think Kurdish fighters are the most important ally in their fight against ISIS. ü Turkey attacked Syrian Kurdish fighters. There are Turkish Kurds and they have attacked the Turkish government. Some people are afraid the Kurds will try to create a new country after the war. Russian Involvement ü Russia and Syria have been allies for a long time. They both are dependent on each other. ü Syria offers Russia a port in Tartus where they keep nuclear warships. ü Russia supplies Syria with weapons and help fighting its enemies. However, some of the people they have attacked are supported by the US and EU. Syrian Refugees in Neighbouring Countries Egypt Iraq Jordan Lebanon Turkey Turkey Lebanon Jordan Iraq Egypt

4 Guiding Questions 1. How is your country involved in the Syrian Civil War? How might the Civil War affect your country? 2. Has your country accepted any Syrian refugees? Why or why not? 3. What are some actions that all sides in Syria could take in order to help resolve the situation? 4. There are many different groups fighting in Syria. How can all of them be convinced to end the fighting? 5. What would be the positives of Assad remaining in power after the conflict? What would be the negatives? 6. How can people most at risk be protected? 7. China, Russia, France, the UK and the US all have vetoes. What can they agree on? What will they disagree on? How can they work together?

5 Resources Title Hyperlink How is it helpful? Security Council UN main page about what the Security Council does. Security Council Resolution Article Security Council Report Turkey v Syria s Kurds v Islamic State Guide to Syrian Rebels /sc12261.doc.htm org/chronology/syria.php Article about a resolution the Security Council passed asking for the Syrian Conflict to end. A report by the Security Council about everything that has happened in the Syrian conflict. Article from BBC about the many sides of the conflict. BBC article about the different groups fighting in Syria. Syria Refugee Crisis FAQ Syria: The Story of the Conflict The 5 Facts that Explain Assad s Grip on Syria UNHCR Report https://www.worldvision.org/wv/ news/syria-war-refugee-crisis- FAQ 5-facts-explain-bashar-assadshold-in-syria/ 4.html Information about how the war is hurting children. Background information on how the war started. Explains why Assad is still in power and why he might stay in power after the war. UNHRC report about Syrian refugees and the Middle East in general.

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