Simran Singh writes for Al Jazeera.
2012, the year in which the Mayans allegedly scheduled the end of the world, is finally upon us. This is the year the oceans collide, the mountains fall, the climate changes and all of what mankind has built, crumbles. Maybe. But even if these claims are false, humanity has enough horrors to deal with for the next century.
In February of only last year, Libya saw the rise of a revolution against Muammar al-Gaddafi, a totalitarian and despotic ruler. It was triggered by the arrest of a Bengazi lawyer and inspired by the recent Tunisian revolution. Although the movement was successful in liberating Libya, it has created many problems that weren’t present during Gaddafi’s rule. The population is unwilling to vote, troops are untrained and there is no trust between the militia and the military.
In Syria, when Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite Muslim became president in 2000, there was widespread hope that he would bring reform to a damaged nation.
This hope was short lived.
No one foresaw how he would respond to the pro-democracy Arab Spring protests that began in early 2011. Soldiers who refused to fire on civilians were summarily executed, entire towns were bombed, torture was widespread and tens of thousands were arrested. The UN estimates that more than 10,000, mostly unarmed, civilians had been killed in Syria.
It is important to note that while this fight is definitely not about religion, most of the pro-democracy opposition is Sunni Muslim, and that Assad still enjoys significant support among many Alawaits and Christians. Syria now finds itself in a civil war, and while the UN Security Council has tried to act on this, both Russia and China have vetoed all resolutions regarding the middle-eastern State.
Libya and Syria aren’t the only countries that have faced troubles. Iran since 2002 has faced concerns from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its nuclear program, which it claims was for peaceful civilian purposes.
In 2008, DPRK committed two violations of UNSC resolution 1718 by launching a rocket in April and then later in May. This act forced the Security Council to impose stronger sanctions, greater financial restrictions, a comprehensive arms embargo and greater inspection to prevent trade.
The last few years have been eventful, and these events will have further repercussions this year, as well as in the future. It is the United Nations Security Council’s job to make the best of the circumstances and prevent such situations from arising again.