“Proxy War” in Balkans Harks Back to Cold War

BY JEREMY HOLT, Le Figaro

Two years after the outbreak of ethnic conflict in the rapidly disintegrating Yugoslavia, Cold War-era tensions between the N.A.T.O. nations and Russia have reemerged as a “proxy war” that threatens to escalate and draw in the remainder of Europe. Caught in the middle of the conflict is the former Yugoslavia’s civilian population of over 23 million people, many who have been forced to flee their homes, and whose future remains uncertain.

Russia has deployed roughly two thousand soldiers to Yugoslavia – which now comprises the regions of Serbia and Bosnia – in support of the Serbian plurality, whose leader, Slobodan Milosevic, had taken control of the Yugoslav government in 1988. Serbia has traditionally held pro-Russian sympathies based on a common Orthodox Christian faith. N.A.T.O., in turn, has deployed comparable forces in support of the newly-formed Croatia to balance Russian influence.

Complicating the issue is the arrival of Islamic militants, allegedly from Egypt, who have deployed to ethnically-fragmented Bosnia in support of the Bosniak Muslim population. Bosniak Muslims, a significant minority in the Balkans, have faced persecution by the Milosevic government.

The General Assembly has convened to discuss draft resolutions supporting regional de-escalation and ensure the security of Yugoslavia’s multiplicity of ethnic minorities. Australia’s representative told Le Figaro, “it’s looking pretty bad but we’re here to prevent it from getting worse.”

Two competing draft resolutions have been proposed. One, signed by the United States, Russia, Kenya, and the United Kingdom, titled “Law and Order,” calls for Milosevic and Croat leader Franjo Tudman’s removal and the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation” committee, similar to that employed in South Africa, to address minorities’ grievances. It also provides for proportional, graduated withdrawal of the Russian and N.A.T.O. forces; and increased counterterrorism efforts by U.N. member states.

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The delegate of the  United States addresses the General Assembly

The other draft resolution, signed by France, Guatemala, Poland, and others, titled “Diplomacy with Direction for Resolution,” (D.D.R.) calls for Russia and N.A.T.O.’s immediate withdrawal and for a capacity increase of the United Nations Peacekeeping Taskforce, which would oversee ceasefire efforts and protect the lives and security of civilians “by any means necessary.”

The delegate of Afghanistan, a signatory of the D.D.R. resolution, decried N.A.T.O and Russian influence in Yugoslavia and in the stabilization process, calling their involvement “neocolonialism.” Neither Russia nor the United States, N.A.T.O.’s largest contributor, has signed onto the resolution, and their cosignatory Kenya has described the competing resolution as “extreme.”

Nick Dorzweiler, an assistant professor of political science at Wheaton College, in Massachusetts, says that the stakes in the conflict have been very high for Europe, even those countries are as far from the Balkans as France and the United Kingdom: “European powers [are] very much concerned that a breakdown in the Balkans [will] spill over into their countries.  Not in the sense of the conflict itself spreading, but there [is] real worry about refugee flows, arms trades, black market economies, and so forth.”

The resolutions are due to be voted on tomorrow. In the meantime, the U.N., and its European countries in particular, have the world’s eyes.

BREAKING: Gabby Schultz Doesn’t Lose Bets

BY KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

Gabby Schultz isn’t your average committee director. She loves her delegates, but she also knows how to crack the whip when she needs to.

Gabby Schultz, Director of UNEP, and lover of all things Noah Cominsky.

“Some of the delegates stayed up really late last night. They need to finish on time, but I guess my deadlines are too harsh,” Schultz laughed. “I’m a strict girl.”

For Schultz, there’s only two things a delegate needs to be successful in her committee.

“All I’m asking for is common decency, and above average working papers,” said Schultz.

When Schultz began to write the background guide for UNEP, she emphasized a passion for the environment and policies to protect it. Now, that’s all changed.

“I’m really into fossil fuels now,” said Schultz.

Environmental protection to fossil fuels…we’ll have to simply wonder where things changed.

While Schultz may not have a decisive opinion on the future of the environment, she does have an efficient work ethic. With a whole summer to write the background guide, Schultz knew that three months was more than enough time to produce a measly guide for delegates.

“I actually spent about two weeks in October writing it. After the summer. And…after the August 31 deadline,” said Schultz.

Outside of committee, Schultz wanted to clarify to The Boston Globe that she has the hots for Noah Cominsky.

“I LOVE Noah Cominsky. He wears an earpiece at conference. I’m a sucker for a man in a suit, what can I say?” swooned Schultz.

Besides winning a bet against Noah Cominsky, Schultz wants to take a moment to thank her mom for the Valentine’s Day package she hasn’t picked up from the mail center yet, as well as Press Corps Director Yash Kumbhat for the feature story (Yash loves you too, Gabby).

The Boston Globe would also like to note that during an interview with Schultz, a colleague walked by and asked Schultz, “Are we getting drunk tonight?”

Schultz casually looked up at her colleague, responded with a simple yes. So suave, so cool. They high-fived, and the passerby went on her way – we’ll be covering where Gabby ends up later tonight.

Press Corps: Bringing You the Facts You Deserve

By KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

26 committees. 14 news outlets. 14 reporters all looking for the big scoop of the weekend. We are the Press Corps, and we work to bring live, breaking news via social media and written web stories. With the diverse subject areas that committees hold, reporters from Press Corps work continuously to educate others on the legislation that delegations pass, which ultimately impact international policy.

Over the past four days, Press Corps has covered topics ranging from human trafficking, to the environmental protection of the Artic, to reunification of Italy in 1861. The Press Corps are soldiers when it comes to bringing HNMUN the accurate news and information it deserves.

“It’s been a different experience from normal MUN. You face many obstacles as you go, from moving from room to room, and having to make things in less time,” said Alejandro Cespedes, reporter for the New York Times.

Left: New York Times Reporter Alejandro Cespedes. Right: Fox News Reporter Mitchell McFarlane.

One of the many responsibilities of a Press Corps reporter includes preparing for press conferences in the committees they cover. Reporters spend much of their time reading working papers and draft resolutions, acting as meticulous watchdogs over the content that delegations are producing.

“You have to research a little of every committee. You figure things out as you go, but it’s a lot of reading, and a lot of talking to people. It actually feels very real,” Said Jeremy Holt, reporter for French newspaper, Le Figaro.

Reporter Jeremy Holt, Le Figaro

For some, Press Corps was a way to try out new skills.

“I’m not a journalism major, I actually study Psychology. I’m a total novice, total newbie, so it was fun to learn how to be a journalist, and what they do as a job,” said Vishal Nagda, reporter for the South China Morning Post.

And for others, it was about overcoming personal biases.

“It’s against everything I stand for. I’m standing on the opposite of what I believe in, trying to report facts in a manner that do not reflect my point of view. It’s new to me,” said Mitchell McFarlane, Fox News.

While some may not agree with the opinions of their outlet, Korean Central News Agency Reporter Alexander Meltzer-Werner admits that acting as North Korea’s only news outlet was a little more than just “fun”.

“It forced me to take the worst part of myself and place it center stage, shamelessly,” Meltzer-Werner joked.

Whatever your ideology may be, you can look to the HNMUN Press Corps for all your Model UN news needs.

What’s China’s Next Move on the Rohingya Crisis?

MITCHELL MCFARLANE, Fox News

HRC—Religious and racial conflicts lie at the center of Rohingya crisis. The majority of Rohingya people in Myanmar believe in Muslims, an identity that could be used to label them as threats to the nation. Myanmar is a Buddhist country, which makes the Rohingyas pagans in the eyes of prominent political and religious figures. They are at their most vulnerable: stripped of their citizenship, their homes burned down, their lives threatened, and their voice muted.

Again, we see the cycle of history repeating. By making the Jews an enemy of the people, Adolf Hitler transferred public dissatisfaction, and the social pressure that went with it, to one specific group. The unity of Germany was reached at the cost of the blood of the Jewish people. The Myanmar government is doing the very same thing. Apart from Germany, the doings of Myanmar officials are also reminiscent of the 2009 Ürümqi riots in China, which centered around the religious and racial differences between Muslim Uyghurs and Han Chinese.

It therefore makes sense that China will respond in favor of the Myanmar government, especially given the similar political standing the two countries hold. Internationally speaking, few countries in the western world are satisfied with China’s policies with the Uyghurs, even today. It would also make a lot of sense to stand behind a neighboring friend who’s caught up in the same religious disputes. Because if Myanmar was ever successfully intervened, China can easily be the next.

If we look at the works that China has done in the last ten years, it is clear that China aggressively tries to assimilate the Uyghurs into Chinese society, including building railroads at national debt, relocating Han Chinese in Xinjiang, and opening up reeducation camps for the Uyghurs. The effectiveness of these measures remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, that the Chinese government chooses governmental control over the uncertainty of a diverse, open nation.

That said, China will not blindly side with the Myanmar regime. Should the time come when their actions go so far that they cross the line—which seems inevitable—China will not sit idly by. This is mainly because China needs to uphold its reputation as global peacekeeper, which demands China not step aside in the event of a major human right violation.

However, the degree of China’s participation is going to be largely bound by its principle of nonintervention—choosing not to infringe on the sovereignty of other nations. It can be anticipated that China will share experiences on religious and racial assimilation with the Myanmar government, while protesting a significant intervention in the nation’s domestic affairs.

Cavour IV’s Cabinet Splits In Two

BY KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe

It is the spring of 1861. The Kingdom of Italy has something to celebrate. They’ve declared independence, finally accomplishing the daunting task of unifying. Italy now falls under the jurisdiction of King Vittorio Emanuele II, with Camillo Benso, better known as Cavour, serving as Italy’s first Prime Minister. It seems as if Italy has achieved the impossible – for years, the nation struggled, and finally there is peace.

The Sicilians exit Cavour IV’s Cabinet.

Little did they know, this simply would not be the case.

One of the first acts of business for Cavour’s Cabinet was to move the capital from its home base of Turin to the flourishing region of Florence. Why? For some, it was to secure power away from Rome (dominated by France at this time). For others, it is a non-religious sanctuary, with possibilities to pave endless economic opportunities.

This move though, was not all happy news. The Sicilians, feeling left out and disregarded, began to resent Italy’s aristocracy and dominance.

“Second-class citizens quote” said by Giuseppe Sirtori, Commander of the Order of the Italian Military.

The significance of Sicily has a large impact on the general functions of the Italian state. Sicily is an agrarian region of Italy, and accounts for the largest amount of food production. Sicily also holds allegiances to France, which puts Italy in a dangerous situation should any conflicts arise.

As Sicily became more and more disgruntled, a small bloc of individuals formed, looking to force Italy’s hand in granting justice. For Sicilians, that day came today. Sicily officially seceded from Italy, forcing one room to split into two.

The committee has now transitioned into a Joint-Crisis Committee as the tensions between the two powers had become too powerful. As the Sicilians left the room, the Italian cabinet members let out a sigh of relief, finally hoping to unify Italy permanently.

All smiles after the Sicilians leave the room.

Hope continues to grow for the Italians, the Ambassador to Prussia has led the charge in allying Italy and Prussia on the military front. Sicily though, still has French troops occupying and surrounding most of Italy’s borders. It will be a toss-up as to who can walk out on top.

How does Italy plan to get power?

“When we get there, at that point it’s going to be like no mercy, we’re going to brutalize them probably, burn the fields. We have a whole plan to burn the Vatican too, because they’re against us. We’re going to steal all of their stuff too,” said the Ambassador to Prussia.

The Ambassador to Prussia also informed The Boston Globe that Prussia will be invading France to end the conflict once and for all.

Ambassador to Prussia (Middle).

With two states on the brink of war, it will be a fight to the end to see who controls the Mediterranean, and all of its riches.

Crisis in Spain: An Imminent Catalonian Civil War Slows Down Transition After Franco

BY ALEJANDRO CESPEDES, The New York Times

General Franco died, and new waves of democratic restoration have returned to life in Spain. However, the changes that this country needs are not an easy job. That is why, the new government led by president Carlos Arias Navarro is discussing what is next to solve this political and social crisis, that has left thousands of dead and missing people. In this group, we can find the Archbishop of Madrid, the ministers of Justice and Interior, and also, some leaders that are not from the government as the Socialist Catalonian leader and the Secretary General of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party).

Whether Spain has already been significantly transformed since Franco died in November 1975 is a topic of intense among many people here, but not for the Catalonian Revolutionary Front that is pretending to fight for its autonomy, even though many civil people die.  

The New York Times reported as breaking news that is coming from the northeast of Spain. The United Revolutionary Front composed of socialist-loyal Catalonians and KGB operatives have overtaken three of Catalonia´s top military bases, and have cited the lack of European Economic Community integration for protection. Furthermore, France is providing military protection for Cataluña. Meanwhile, in Madrid, a joint force of ETA, former Catalonian exiles and angry peasants have stormed Madrid demanding tolerance of their language and independence of the region. Right before the Catalonian exiles undertook their public protest, there was a massive blackout of solar panels that left the city in horror and confusion.

If Spain’s famed transition brought it democratic institutions, the present moment might well be exposing the limits of their promise. Many Spaniards are still proud of the transition as a model for achieving civic maturity. However, in a newer age of enfeebled democracy, a younger generation has a falling-out with the government itself.

The Times, as a news agency advocated on the production of very high-quality content from on-the-ground, expert, and deeply reported independent journalism, alert and calls upon the political leaders to react coherently to democracy and freedom and to take instant actions on this. To the Spanish citizens, to be prepared for this crisis that, apparently will not pass soon.

Spain after Franco seems to be more difficult as many thought, showing to the rest of the world an uncertain Spanish future.

BREAKING NEWS: (UNEP) POLAR BEARS ATTACK VILLAGES IN RURAL ALASKA; DELEGATIONS FROM U.N. MEMBER NATIONS DISCUSS A SOLUTION AT UNEP.

BY FRANCISCO MANUEL MATALLANA PACHECO, Reuters

Attending the United Nations Environmental Programme, Reuters News Agency was notified about the recent developments in rural Alaska. In the past few days, polar bears have begun attacking indigenous communities in the more desolated regions of the state of Alaska.

These events, though not impossible, have a relatively low probability of occurring, making the high frequency that they have seen in the past 48 hours especially troubling. It has been reported that numerous locals have required medical attention after suffering serious injuries in these encounters.

These encounters with polar bears come as a result of the continuous melting of the polar ice caps, a direct consequence of rising global temperatures. The damaging effect of greenhouse houses and carbon emissions have led to the degradation of this region, and consequently, the damaging of the polar bears’ habitats, and the delicate ecosystems that constitute them. The displacement of wildlife is a direct result of such changes in the environment.

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Reuters approached the delegation of Korea for comments regarding what is currently unfolding in Alaska.

“We’ve been looking into adaptation mechanisms”, began the delegate, referring to her and her coalition within the committee, “and if this doesn’t work, we are going to use permanent relocation strategies”. The committee is currently engaged in contentious, yet productive and progressive, talks and discussions regarding the displacement of human populations in these regions.

“We are also trying to give special focus on animal protection; given that this is a U.N. Environment Programme, we think this is really important as well”. A facet of UNEP’s function does include the protection and conservation of wildlife as well, as populations are equally susceptible to rapid environmental changes. The numerous polar bear population is also a central issue being discussed in the committee.

Further, the delegations in UNEP, among them the Republic of Korea, have stated that they are pushing for an “Ecosystem Based Disaster Risk Reduction”. The implications of this program, aimed to establish realistic and definite parameters on the damages that could be done on the environment, are being redirected and tailored to quickly suit the rapid climate changes that the arctic region is experiencing. Korea’s “Adaptation Mechanisms” have served as a pathway for other delegations, and their propositions and programs, to be integrated and put forth on a viable, proportional, and efficient solution to manage—and to certain extents suppress—the dire effects of the present issue.

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Additionally, the “Adaptation Mechanisms” include guidelines on internal displacement. This encompasses a “Capacity Building Program” for the “Disaster Risk Reduction”, in order to involve the affected communities. These different programs or “pilot projects” will be tested in the local communities to find the best and most efficient fit to counteract the effects of polar bear presence.

The recent polar bear attacks come as a reminder to many delegations at UNEP of the dire need to counterattack the effects of climate change, and its consequences in the displacement of populations.