Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 9 Kurds are not Arab, ethnically they are considered Caucasian. Most Kurds practice the more liberal form of Sunni Islam with perhaps only 15 per cent practicing Shiite Islam. 16 When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein came to power, he viewed the Kurds as a threat to national security, and many of his policies persecuted the Kurds. When the Kurds expressed their discontent, the dictator sought to eliminate all Kurds from Iraqi boarders, and to take over their resource rich land. During the 1980s, Saddam Hussein attempted to eliminate the Kurds utilizing chemical and biological weapons. His attacks succeeded in killing more than 200,000 Kurds and destroying hundreds of villages, resulting in numerous human rights violations. 17 After the First Gulf War, the Kurds attempted to take control of Kurdistan only to be violently attacked by Iraqi forces. President Hussein’s troops attacked Kurdistan, forcing more than a million refugees to flood into neighboring Turkey and Iran. 18 After Hussein’s actions came to light in the worldwide media, the United Nations and the United States acted in order to protect the Kurds. Four million Kurds living in Iraqi Kurdistan enjoyed relative autonomy after the first Gulf War, additionally being supported by the United States and United Nations. Current Status Basque Provinces Basques strategies have evolved significantly, now using political tactics in order to gain independence. Instead of using violence, which it has employed since the 1970s, Basques and ETA have turned to political means to gain independence. The Batasuna, the political wing of ETA, now called Sozialista Abertzaleak, is banned in Spain. Batasuna, however, continues to advocate that local officials to work with the local Basque Parliament. The local Basque Parliament voted on 30 December 2004 to approve a referendum asking Basques whether they would like to become “a free state associated with Spain.” 19 The results of this referendum resulted in 22 per cent of Basques 16 Michael Ruben. Are Kurds a Pariah Minority? Social Research; Spring2003, Vol. 70 Issue 1, p295-330, 296 17 Andrew Cockburn. Iraqi Resilient Minority. Smithsonian Dec2005, Vol. 36 Issue 9, p42-55. 18 Cockburn. 19 “Spain and the Basques” Economist Vol. 374 Issue 8409, 15 January 2005
Rutgers Model United Nations 10 supporting independence, an additional 33 per cent supporting independence depending on the circumstances, and the remaining 32 per cent opposing independence. 20 Opponents of the Basques called for a repeal of a constitutional amendment to end any possible debate. Another opponent of the Basques called for the dissolution of local governments under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Many in the Spanish government feel that if the Basque province were to gain independence, it would spawn a similar revolution in the province of Catalonia, which maintains many differences from the rest of Spanish society. It is not clear at this point whether a measure to become a “free state associated with Spain,” otherwise known as a mandate will become a peaceful solution for both sides. Chechnya The situation in Chechnya today is marred by corruption and violence. Premier Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-recruited leader of Chechnya, runs the day to day activities of Russian forces in Chechnya. Kadyrov was once a Chechen separatist, but converted, for unknown reasons, to a Kremlin supporter in recent years. Kadyrov gathers support from Chechens tired of war, and most of his followers are among the young population that has known nothing but conflict. In addition, Kadyrov’s support extends to the Kremlin. President Putin is dependant on Kadyrov to maintain peace in Chechnya in order to suppress media from exposing Chechnya. A scandal of corruption is evident in Kadyrov’s case. Despite being a region of abject poverty, the Kadyrov estate boasts a zoo, lavish parties, and a Ferrari on his state income. 21 Additionally, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Kadyrov of using tactics amounting to war crimes including rape, civilian massacres, and kidnapping. Due to media restrictions, news out of Chechnya is limited. Reporters live in fear due to the possibility of retribution, leading to inaccurate reporting of the news. Anna Politkovskaya, an internationally celebrated investigatory journalist critical of Russian 20 Ibid. 21 Sebastian Smith. The War that is Gone but not Forgotten. US News and World Report, 12 March 2007 vol 142 issue 9, 12 March 2007. 32.