Topic A: The Situation in Lebanon, 1988
The Lebanese Civil War, beginning in 1975, was the culmination of religious tensions coupled with economic hardships and Cold War politics that greatly increased the scale and scope of the war. Tensions between Lebanese Christians and Lebanese Muslims have existed since the colonial era, but these tensions were aggravated when an influx of Palestinian refugees tripled the number of refugees in Lebanon to a total of 300,000. This overwhelmed the Lebanese economy and highlighted the differences between Muslims and Maronites in Lebanon. As violence between Palestinians and the Israeli military grew, many ethnic and religious groups independently took up arms in the form of local militias. Two events, a 1975 clash between protesters and security forces in Sidon and an attack on a Palestinian bus in Beirut, resulted in the beginning of a civil war. Since the outbreak of war, the situation has continued to grow in both scope and level of violence. In 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in hopes of driving out the PLO, which resulted in the creation of Iranian-backed Hezbollah, an Islamist group that has increasingly committed violent acts of terror throughout Lebanon. As this conflict continues to grow, the humanitarian situation and prospects for peace worsen. With no end in sight, it is vital that the Security Council take action to quickly diffuse the conflict in Lebanon before irreversible damage is done in the region.
Topic B: The Situation in Somalia, 1988
After the country gained independence from colonial rule in 1960, Somalia enjoyed two free elections. However, following the second election, Siad Barre, a major general in the Somali gendarmerie, obtained power through a military coup in 1969. Barre’s government implemented institutional and legislative changes to allow the state complete jurisdiction over all aspects of civilians’ lives. Barre created a secret police force, implemented legislation that punished actions protected under international law with death, and changed the judicial system to ensure it would act in accordance with his beliefs. While Barre’s government established total control from the beginning of his rule, in 1988, the situation significantly worsened. The Somali National Movement, an organization dedicated to deposing Barre, attacked Burao and Hargeisa, prompting the beginning of the Somali Rebellion. The war over control of northwest Somalia was primarily fought between the Somalian government and the Somali National Movement. Throughout the civil war, numerous human rights violations were committed by armed forces on both sides. The Somalian government systematically killed civilians and intentionally targeted members of the Isaaq clan. In 1988, Somalia is in a disastrous state. It is an important year for the Security Council to address the issue as it is the beginning of the severe inflammation of humans rights violations. The Security Council will have to carefully consider the effects of any attempts to assist Somalia, as efforts to help civilians can often be used to further the government’s goals.