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Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council

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Agenda items: Middle East

This page contains case studies on each of the agenda items relating to the Middle East which the Council has considered in formal meetings. Each case study includes chronological summaries of the discussions and documents considered at the meetings as well as the full text (1946-1999) or summaries (2000-present) of all resolutions, presidential statements or other decisions taken by the Council on that agenda item. 

Below the links to the case studies, there is a short description of each agenda item prepared on the basis of the content of the Repertoire.  The topics have been listed by the region/area that they primarily relate to and then organized chronologically in the order of its inclusion on the Security Council’s agenda. Under each agenda item, related subsidiary organs of the Security Council featured in the Repertoire are also listed. 

Content

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Middle East region (including Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria)

The Syrian and Lebanese question

In February 1946, Syria and Lebanon requested the Security Council to recommend the withdrawal of French and British troops from their territories, complaining that the 13 December 1945 Franco-British Agreement had made the withdrawal of troops subject to conditions inconsistent with the United Nations Charter.

The Palestine question

Following the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 concerning “the future government of Palestine”, the Security Council considered the issue of the establishment of a future, sovereign government in the territory of Palestine, and dealt with the tensions between Israel and neighbouring Arab States, particularly Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Subsidiary Organs:
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)
Truce Commission for Palestine

The situation in the Middle East

Prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Canada and Denmark urged the Security Council to consider the grave situation in the Middle East which was threatening international peace and security. Between May and October 1967, the Council considered the matter under the agenda item “Letter dated 23 May 1967 from the Permanent Representatives of Canada and Denmark addressed to the President of the Security Council”.  Since October 1967, the item has been entitled “The situation in the Middle East”.

Subsidiary Organs:
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Committee established pursuant to resolution 1636 (2005)
International Independent Investigation Commission
United Nations observers in Beirut (OGB) established pursuant to resolution 516 (1982)
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF II)
Mission under resolution 298 (1971) concerning Jerusalem
Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Middle East

The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question

In accordance with resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975 which extended the mandate of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and decided that the Security Council reconvene on 12 January 1976 to continue the debate on the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question, the Council considered peace and security in the Middle East including the Palestinian question under this agenda item in several meetings from January to March 1976 and in October 1985. 

Request by the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan for consideration of the serious situation arising from recent developments in the occupied Arab territories

In 1976, the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan brought to the attention of the Security Council the deteriorating situation in the West Bank. The Council discussed the matter from 22 to 25 March 1976.

The situation in the occupied Arab territories

In May 1976, Egypt requested the Security Council to consider the deteriorating situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a result of continued Israeli occupation. The Council discussed the situation in the occupied Arab territories under this agenda item until 13 July 1998. See also the “Request by the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan for consideration of the serious situation arising from recent developments in the occupied Arab territories”.

Subsidiary Organs:
Security Council Commission established under resolution 446 (1979) on the situation in the Occupied Arab territories

The question of the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights

From 1976 to 1980 the Security Council considered the report and recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People of the General Assembly at the request of the Committee.

Letter dated 4 February 1986 from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

The Security Council dealt with the forcible interception by Israel of an aircraft carrying an official Syrian delegation from Tripoli to Damascus on 4 February 1986.

Letter dated 5 October 2003 from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council;

Letter dated 5 October 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

The Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon requested an urgent Security Council meeting to address alleged Israeli violations of Syrian and Lebanese airspace and an attack against a civilian site inside Syrian territory on 5 October 2003.

The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

After renewed escalation of Palestinian-Israeli violence in 2000, the Security Council continued to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, under this agenda item introduced in October 2000. 

Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb

Question concerning the islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb

In 1971, several Arab States brought to the Security Council’s attention the alleged occupation of the islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb by Iran, which they considered to be part of the territory of the United Arab Emirates.

Algeria

Letter dated 25 October 1956 from the representative of France to the Secretary-General with complaint concerning: Military assistance rendered by the Egyptian Government to the rebels in Algeria

In 1956, during the Algerian independence war, France complained to the Security Council that Egypt had been providing arms and other military assistance to rebels in the French territory of Algeria.

Bahrain

Question of Bahrain

Iran and the United Kingdom requested the Security Council to consider the 1970 report of the Secretary-General regarding the status of Bahrain and its conclusion that an overwhelming majority of the people of Bahrain wished to gain recognition of their identity in a fully independent and sovereign State.

Egypt

The Egyptian question

In July 1947, Egypt requested the Security Council to call for the total and immediate evacuation of British troops from Egypt and for the termination of the British administration of the Sudan.

Situation created by the unilateral action of the Egyptian Government in bringing to an end the system of international operation of the Suez Canal, which was confirmed and completed by the Suez Canal Convention of 1888

In September 1956, the Security Council addressed the situation following the nationalization of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian Government in 1956, on the basis of complaints from the United Kingdom and France, and a counter-complaint by Egypt following the military action taken by France and the United Kingdom.

Letter dated 25 October 1956 from the representative of France to the Secretary-General with complaint concerning: Military assistance rendered by the Egyptian Government to the rebels in Algeria

See under Algeria for the description.

Letter dated 30 October 1956 from the representative of Egypt addressed to the President of the Security Council

In October 1956, the Security Council dealt with the Suez Canal crisis at the request of Egypt and decided to call an emergency session of the General Assembly to make appropriate recommendations.

Complaint by Lebanon;

Complaint by Jordan;

Letter dated 22 May 1958 from the representative of Lebanon addressed to the President of the Security Council concerning : Complaint by Lebanon in respect of a situation arising from the intervention of the United Arab Republic in the internal affairs of Lebanon, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security;

Letter dated 17 July 1958 from the representative of Jordan addressed to the President of the Security Council concerning: Complaint of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of interference in the domestic affairs by the United Arab Republic

See under Jordan/Lebanon/United Arab Republic for the description.

Complaint by the United Kingdom

In August 1966, the United Kingdom complained to the Security Council of an attack on a town in the Federation of South Arabia under the British responsibility, allegedly conducted by the United Arab Republic (Egypt) operating from an airfield in Yemen.

Iran

The Iranian question

Following the refusal of Soviet troops to withdraw from Iran after the end of World War II, Iran requested the Security Council to look into allegations of Soviet interference in the internal affairs of Iran.

The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company case

In 1951, the United Kingdom brought a complaint to the Security Council against Iran for its refusal to comply with the findings of the International Court of Justice in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company nationalization case, and for the expulsion of all British staff of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company from Iran.

Letter dated 25 November 1979 from the Secretary-General and letter dated 22 December 1979 from the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations

The Security Council was requested to take action in response to the 1979 diplomatic crisis in Iran, during which the American Embassy in Tehran was seized and American personnel held hostage.

Subsidiary Organs:

Good offices of the Secretary-General in connection with the situation in Iran under resolution 457 (1979)

Letter dated 21 May 1984 from the representatives of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates addressed to the President of the Security Council

In May 1984, during the Iran-Iraq war, a complaint was sent to the Security Council regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s alleged acts of aggression against ships to and from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Letter dated 5 July 1988 from the Acting Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

This was a complaint by the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the incident of 3 July 1988, when an Iranian civilian aircraft was shot down by the United States during the Iran-Iraq war.

Iran/Iraq

Complaint by Iraq

Iraq presented the complaint to the Security Council against Iran, claiming that Iran had committed acts of aggression against it on their borders in December 1973 and February 1974.

Subsidiary Organs:

Special Representative of the Secretary-General under Security Council consensus of 28 February 1974

The situation between Iran and Iraq

The Security Council responded to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, monitored compliance by the parties of the ceasefire that came into effect in August 1988 with the assistance of the military observer group it had dispatched, and dealt with allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the conflict.

Subsidiary Organs:

The Secretary-General’s mission of specialists to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons under resolution 620 (1988)
United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) established pursuant to resolutions 598 (1987) and 619 (1988)
United Nations inspection teams in Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq under the letter from the Secretary-General dated 14 June 1984 and letter from the President of the Council dated 15 June 1984
Good offices of the Secretary-General under Security Council statement dated 23 September 1980 and of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General under Security Council statement dated 5 November 1980

Iraq/Kuwait

Complaint by Kuwait, Complaint by Iraq

In July 1961, Kuwait complained to the Security Council that Iraq was threatening its territorial independence by claiming that Kuwait was part of the territory of Iraq. In turn, Iraq complained to the Council about the subsequent intervention of British troops in support of Kuwait.

The situation between Iraq and Kuwait

The Security Council responded to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, by authorizing the US-led multinational force to end the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Subsequently the Council also discussed the sanctions imposed on Iraq, the “oil for food” programme, as well as the issue of  weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that Iraq was suspected of possessing. In 2003, under the same agenda item, the Council considered the situation concerning Iraq following the 2003 military action against Iraq by the US-led coalition, by authorizing the multinational force in Iraq and a political mission until 2005 when the Council decided to discuss the Iraq related issues under a new agenda item entitled “The situation concerning Iraq”. However, issues relating to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, including those relating to the United Nations Coordinator on Iraq/Kuwait on missing persons and missing property, continue to be discussed under this agenda item.

Subsidiary Organs:

Committee established pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003)
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) established pursuant to paragraph 1 of resolution 1284 (1999)
United Nations Compensation Commission established pursuant to resolutions 687 (1991) and 692 (1991)
United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) established pursuant to resolution 687 (1991)
United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) established pursuant to resolution 687 (1991)
United Nations Coordinator for the return of property from Iraq to Kuwait pursuant to resolutions 686 (1991) and 687 (1991)
United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission established pursuant to resolution 687 (1991)
Committee established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait

Iraq

The situation concerning Iraq


Since May 2005, the Security Council started discussing the situation concerning Iraq after the 2003 military action against Iraq by the US-led coalition and supporting the reconstruction and restoration of peace and stability in that country. See also “The situation between Iraq and Kuwait” above.

Subsidiary Organs:

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

Iraq/Israel

Complaint by Iraq

In June 1981, Iraq requested the Security Council to deal with Israel’s air raid against the Iraqi nuclear reactor installations near Osirak near Baghdad.

Jordan/Lebanon/United Arab Republic

Complaint by Lebanon;

Complaint by Jordan;

Letter dated 22 May 1958 from the representative of Lebanon addressed to the President of the Security Council concerning : “Complaint by Lebanon in respect of a situation arising from the intervention of the United Arab Republic in the internal affairs of Lebanon, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security ”;

Letter dated 17 July 1958 from the representative of Jordan addressed to the President of the Security Council concerning: “Complaint of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of interference in the domestic affairs by the United Arab Republic”

In 1958, Lebanon and Jordan complained to the Security Council of provocative acts by the United Arab Republic against the established authorities in their respective country.

Subsidiary Organs:

Observation Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL)

Yemen

Reports by the Secretary-General concerning Yemen

Following a peace initiative by the Secretary-General with regard to the civil war between Royalists and the Republican Government in Yemen that broke out in September 1962, Saudi Arabia agreed to terminate aid to the Royalists while the United Arab Republic (Egypt) agreed to withdraw its troops sent in support of the Republican Government. In 1963 the Security Council created an observer mission to monitor a demilitarized zone established between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Subsidiary Organs:

United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM)

Complaint by Yemen

After an attack on the town of Harib by the British forces on 28 March 1964, Yemen asked the Security Council to consider the deteriorated situation resulting from the use of armed forces by the United Kingdom.

The situation in the Republic of Yemen

In May 1994, the countries concerned in the region urged the Security Council to address the situation in Yemen that was engaged in a civil war over the secession of the southern part of Yemen.

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