United Nations Suspends Aid Operation in Syria

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In late 1945, the U.N. replaced the League of Nations.

Reuters recently reported that The United Nations was suspending its aid operations in Syria and withdrawing all non-essential international staff due to the worsening security situation.

Up to 25 of about 100 foreign staff were expected to leave the country. Officials say they need more armored vehicles to counter attacks.

Some convoys had been caught in crossfire between Syrian government and rebel forces, including an incident near the airport in which two staff were injured, it said.

In all, more than 1,000 national and international workers connected to the U. N. are in Syria,   but conditions have affected safety, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

"Mortars have landed and shoot-outs have taken place just steps away from UN offices; shelling can be heard on an hourly basis both from their offices and places of residence," according to the U.N., reported Reuters.

Eight U.N. staff have been killed along with seven volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent during the 20-month-old conflict, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The UN was founded in late 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.

There are 193 member states, including every internationally recognized sovereign state in the world but Vatican City. The organization has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive).

United Nations Headquarters in New YorkThe United Nations Headquarters resides in international territory in New York City, with further main offices at Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states and has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The U.N. is an outgrowth of the Atlantic Charter. It appeared in the Declaration by the United Nations on January 1, 1942, in which 26 nations pledged to continue fighting the Axis powers.

In 1945, representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco for the United Nations Conference on International Organization. They deliberated on proposals that had been drafted by representatives of the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference between August and October 1944. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin reviewed the Dumbarton Oaks proposal during the Yalta Conference in February 1945. The purpose of the conference was to discuss post-war settlements and to reach a final agreement concerning “the UN’s structure and membership and set the date of the San Francisco organizing conference”

The world leaders eventually agreed on Roosevelt’s proposal to give certain members a veto power so “that the Organization could take no important action without their joint consent.” Though the veto power question created a lot of disagreement among the different signatories, its inclusion in the charter was never a matter of negotiation for Roosevelt and his allies Finally, during the Yalta conference, Stalin agreed to make the U.S.S.R. a member of the United Nations.

The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter was ratified by the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States as well as a majority of other signatories.

The United Nations was the first international governmental organization to receive significant support from the United States. Its forerunner, the League of Nations, had been championed by Woodrow Wilson after World War I to prevent future conflicts. While it was supported by most European nations, it was never ratified by the United States Congress.

Shortly after the establishment of the United Nations, the United States came into conflict with another member of the Security Council. Since the Soviet Union was a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, it had the power to veto any binding UN resolution.

Visit your local library for more resources:

The League of Nations from 1919.-1929: An Illustrated History and Chronology of the First Ten Years of the League of Nations
Gary B. Ostrower, (1996).
Professor of history Ostrower presents a detailed yet highly accessible look at the first decade of the organizational predecessor to the UN. Reflecting both the horrors of World War I and the optimism of the 1920s, the League of Nations “was the first international organization designed to prevent war by means of a system of collective security.” An enlightening overview of the League’s origins, struggles, and successes. (Reviewed March 15, 1996)—REVIEW. First published March 15, 1996 (Booklist). Brian McCombie

       
Great Debates at the United Nations: An Encyclopedia of Fifty Key Issues 1945-2000
Robert F. Gorman, (2001).
This important work conveys the crucial concerns the United Nations has tackled in its first half-century. The debates are arranged chronologically “based on the time when they first appeared on the U.N. agenda,” from “Disarmament (1946)” to “Kosovo Situation (1998).” Each entry consists of an initial paragraph on the significance of the issue; a page or so background information; several pages on the history of the debate, including events before and after the date; and outcome of the issues in later years. Suggestions for further reading at the end enable the user to continue the quest for information.  The value of this work is that it brings information on the “great debates” together objectively, succinctly, and clearly. REVIEW. First published September 1, 2001 (Booklist).

 

Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War
Stanley Meisler, (2007).

Great Debates at the United Nations: An Encyclopedia of Fifty Key Issues  1945-2000
Robert F. Gorman, (2001).

An Insider's Guide to the UN
Linda Fasulo, (2004).

United Nations: The First Fifty Years,
Stanley Mesler, (1997).

Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, Stephen Schlesinger, (2003).

The United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice since 1945
edited by Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum, (2010).

The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations,
edited by Thomas G. Weiss and Sam Daws, (2007).

Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos
 Dore Gold,  (2004).

"Think Again: The United Nations", Madeleine K. Albright, Foreign Policy, September/October 2004.

 

Images:

1. Article illustration:
Men walk past a Syrian government tank in a suburb of Damascus. Troops loyal to President Bashar Assad recaptured the Harasta suburb from rebel forces.
Freedom House
Date: 11 March 2012

2.UN building in New York
Stefan Schulze
Date: 06.08.2005

 

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