Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, he was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela. Annan studied economics at Macalester College, international relations at the Graduate Institute Geneva, management at MIT. Annan joined the UN in 1962, he went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996. He was appointed the Secretary-General on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council, confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself, he was re-elected for a second term in 2001, was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2007. As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy.
He was criticized for not expanding the Security Council and faced calls for resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme, but was exonerated of personal corruption. After the end of his term as UN Secretary-General, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. In 2012, Annan was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there. Annan quit after becoming frustrated with the UN's lack of progress with regards to conflict resolution. In September 2016, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis. Kofi Annan was born in the Kofandros section of Kumasi in the Gold Coast on 8 April 1938, his twin sister Efua Atta, who died in 1991, shared the middle name Atta, which in the Akan language means'twin'. Annan and his sister were born into one of the country's Fante aristocratic families. In the Akan names tradition, some children are named according to the day of the week on which they were born, sometimes in relation to how many children precede them.
Kofi in Akan is the name. Annan said. From 1954 to 1957, Annan attended the elite Mfantsipim school, a Methodist boarding school in Cape Coast founded in the 1870s. Annan said that the school taught him that "suffering anywhere, concerns people everywhere". In 1957, the year Annan graduated from Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast gained independence from the UK and began using the name "Ghana". In 1958, Annan began studying economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, now the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana, he received a Ford Foundation grant, enabling him to complete his undergraduate studies in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, United States, in 1961. Annan completed a diplôme d'études approfondies DEA degree in International Relations at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, from 1961–62. After some years of work experience, he studied at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the Sloan Fellows program and earned a master's degree in management.
Annan was fluent in English, French and some Kru languages as well as other African languages. In 1962, Kofi Annan started working as a budget officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations. From 1974 to 1976, he worked as a manager of the state-owned Ghana Tourist Development Company in Accra. In 1980 he became the head of personnel for the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva. In 1983 he became the director of administrative management services of the UN Secretariat in New York. In 1987, Annan was appointed as an Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management and Security Coordinator for the UN system. In 1990, he became Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning and Finance, Control; when Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali established the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 1992, Annan was appointed to the new department as Deputy to Under-Secretary-General Marrack Goulding. Annan was subsequently appointed in March 1993 as Under-Secretary-General of that department.
On 29 August 1995, while Boutros-Ghali was unreachable on an airplane, Annan instructed United Nations officials to "relinquish for a limited period of time their authority to veto air strikes in Bosnia." This move allowed NATO forces to conduct Operation Deliberate Force and made him a favorite of the United States. According to Richard Holbrooke, Annan's "gutsy performance" convinced the United States that he would be a good replacement for Boutros-Ghali, he was appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia, serving from November 1995 to March 1996. In 2003, retired Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, claimed that Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Dallaire asserted that Annan held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, from providing more logistical and material support.
Dallaire claimed that Annan failed to provide responses to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository. In 2004, ten years after the genocide in which
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
The Cedar Revolution or Independence Intifada was a chain of demonstrations in Lebanon triggered by the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. The popular movement was remarkable for its avoidance of violence, peaceful approach, its total reliance on methods of civil resistance; the primary goals of the activists were the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the replacement of a government influenced by Syrian interests with more independent leadership, the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, the resignation of security officials to ensure the success of the plan, the organization of free parliamentary elections. The demonstrators demanded the end of the Syrian influence in Lebanese politics. At the start of the demonstrations, Syria had been maintaining a force of 14,000 soldiers and intelligence agents in Lebanon. Following the demonstrations, the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon on 27 April 2005.
With the disbanding of the Pro-Syrian government, the main goals of the revolution were achieved. The opposition has taken as its symbol the white and red colored scarf, the blue ribbon; the main goal of the cedar revolution was the ending of the Syrian military occupation of Lebanon, which had lasted about 30 years. In addition, many Lebanese called for the return of former Prime Minister Michel Aoun, in exile since 1991, the release of the imprisoned Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. Additional goals of the revolution are: Uniting all Lebanese in their fight for freedom and independence Ousting Karami's Pro-Syrian government Firing the six Lebanese commanders of the nation's main security services, along with the State Prosecutor Unmasking the killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Running free and democratic parliament elections in spring 2005 free from Syrian interference The name "Cedar Revolution" is a term, coined by the U. S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky in a news conference, used to draw a comparison with the Rose Revolution of Georgia, the Orange Revolution of Ukraine, the Purple Revolution of Iraq.
In the Arab world, it is better known as Lebanon's Intifadat al-Istiqlal. The term was coined by Democratic Left Movement leaders Hikmat Eid. Other names include the Cedar Spring, referring to the season when protests first broke out, as an allusion to famous freedom and independence movements such as the Prague Spring and Damascus Spring; the names used by the local media, like the LBC and Future TV, to describe this event include Lebanon Independence, Lebanon Spring, or just Independence 05. The word Cedar refers to a national emblem, the Cedar of Lebanon, a tree featured on the flag of Lebanon. Qornet Shehwan Gathering: Gathering of Christian Lebanese politicians ranging from center left to center right. Democratic Forum: Multi-confessional gathering of Lebanese politicians from different political parties with leftist tendencies, led by Habib Sadek Citizens for a Free Lebanon: A Non-governmental organization The Center for Democracy in Lebanon: A non-governmental grass-root movement The Global Organization of Democratic Believers: An all volunteer group of various religious backgrounds In Alphabetical Order: Democratic Renewal Movement Multi-confessional Movement Leader: Nassib Lahoud, former MP and presidential hopeful.
Democratic Left Multi-Confessional Movement Leader: Elias Atallah, former MP and former member of the communist party Free Patriotic Movement Movement Leader: Michel Aoun, MP. Presides the "Change and Reform" coalition, he was one of the first to demand the Syrian withdrawal. The movement left the 14 March coalition before the 2005 elections after General Aoun came back from his Paris exile. Syrian Traces Leader: unknown Future Movement Muslim Sunni Movement Leader: Saad Hariri, MP and son of Rafiq Hariri Lebanese Forces Christian Party Leader: Samir Geagea, jailed 11 years by the Syrians Lebanese Liberation Movement Leader: unknown Lebanese National Bloc Christian Party Leader: Carlos Eddé nephew of former leader Raymond Eddé; the Lebanese National Bloc left the 14 March Coalition in June 2009 after the parliamentary election National Liberal Party Christian Party Leader: Dory Chamoun, son of former President Camille Chamoun Phalangist Party Christian Party Leader: Amin Gemayel, former President of Republic.
Progressive Socialist Party Druze Party Leader: Walid Jumblat, MP and son of former leader Kamal Jumblat. Social Democrat Hunchakian Party MP Sebouh Kalpakian. On 14 February 2005, the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a truck bomb attack, which killed 21 and wounded nearly 100. Former Ministe
Secretary-General of the United Nations
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General serves as the chief administrative officer of the United Nations; the role of the United Nations Secretariat, of the Secretary-General in particular, is laid out by Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter. As of 2019, the Secretary-General is António Guterres of Portugal, appointed by the General Assembly on 13 October 2016; the Secretary-General was envisioned by U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a "world moderator", but the vague definition provided by the United Nations Charter left much room for interpretation; the Secretary-General is the "chief administrative officer" of the UN "in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council, shall perform other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs". They are responsible for making an annual report to the General Assembly.
They may notify the Security Council on matters which "in their opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security". Other than these few guidelines, little else is dictated by the Charter. Interpretation of the Charter has varied between Secretaries-General, with some being much more active than others; the Secretary-General, along with the Secretariat, is given the prerogative to exhibit no allegiance to any state but to only the United Nations organization. The Secretary-General is dependent upon the support of the member states of the UN. Although the Secretary-General may place any item on the provisional agenda of the Security Council, much of their mediation work takes place behind the scenes. In the early 1960s, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev led an effort to abolish the Secretary-General position; the numerical superiority of the Western powers combined with the one state, one vote system meant that the Secretary-General would come from one of them, would be sympathetic towards the West.
Khrushchev proposed to replace the Secretary-General with a three-person directorate: one member from the West, one from the Eastern Bloc, one from the Non-Aligned powers. This idea failed; the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. As the recommendation must come from the Security Council, any of the five permanent members of the Council can veto a nomination. Most Secretaries-General have little prior fame. Unofficial qualifications for the job have been set by precedent in previous selections; the appointee may not be a citizen of any of the Security Council's five permanent members. The General Assembly resolution 51/241 in 1997 stated that in the appointment of "the best candidate", due regard should be given to regional rotation of the appointee's national origin and to gender equality, although no woman has yet served as Secretary-General; the length of the term is discretionary, but all Secretaries-General since 1971 have been appointed to five-year terms.
Every Secretary-General since 1961 has been re-selected for a second term, with the exception of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, vetoed by the United States in the 1996 selection. There is a term limit of two full terms, established when China cast a record 16 vetoes against Kurt Waldheim's third term in the 1981 selection. No Secretary-General since 1981 has attempted to secure a third term; the selection process is opaque and is compared to a papal conclave. Since 1981, the Security Council has voted in secret in a series of straw polls; the Security Council submits the winning candidate to the General Assembly for ratification. No candidate has been rejected by the General Assembly. In 2016, the General Assembly and the Security Council sought nominations and conducted public debates for the first time. However, the Security Council voted in private and followed the same process as previous selections, leading the President of the General Assembly to complain that it "does not live up to the expectations of the membership and the new standard of openness and transparency".
The official residence of the Secretary-General is a townhouse at 3 Sutton Place, Manhattan, in New York City, United States. The townhouse was built for Anne Morgan in 1921, donated to the United Nations in 1972; this is a graphical lifespan timeline of the Secretaries-General of the United Nations. They are listed in order of office
The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization, tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and The Hague; the organization is financed by voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law; the UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; the UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, adopted on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House, signed on 26 June 1945 in the Herbst Theatre auditorium in the Veterans War Memorial Building. This charter took effect on 24 October 1945; the UN's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted of unarmed military observers and armed troops with monitoring and confidence-building roles; the organization's membership grew following widespread decolonization which started in the 1960s. Since 80 former colonies had gained independence, including 11 trust territories, which were monitored by the Trusteeship Council. By the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.
The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly. The UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, UNICEF; the UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work; the organization, its officers and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes. Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed; some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, biased, or corrupt. In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.
In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war. In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months the Allies met with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson wanted peace, but the United Kingdom and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies; the League of Nations was approved, in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the US Senate for ratification.
On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect. However, at some point the League became ineffective when it failed to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria as in February 1933, 40 nations voted for Japan to withdraw from Manchuria but Japan voted against it and walked out of the League instead of withdrawing from Manchuria, it failed against the Second Italo-Ethiopian War despite trying to talk to Benito Mussolini as he used the time to send an army to Africa, so the League had a plan for Mussolini to just take a part of Ethiopia, but he ignored the League and invaded Ethiopia, the League tried putting sanctions on Italy, but Italy had conquered Ethiopia and the League had failed. After Italy conquered Ethiopia and other nations left the league, but all of them realised that they began to re-arm as fast as possible. During 1938, Britain and France tried negotiating directly with Hitler but this failed in 1939 when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia.
When war broke out in 1939, the League closed down and its headquarters in Geneva remained empty throughout the war. The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the U. S. State Department in 1939; the text of the "Declaration by United Nations" was drafted at the White House on December 29, 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins
Assef Shawkat was the deputy Minister of Defense of Syria from September 2011 until his death in July 2012. He and three other top Syrian government officials were killed on 18 July 2012 in Damascus during a deadly bomb attack organized by the Free Syrian Army. Assef Shawkat was born into an Alawite family in the village of Al-Madehleh in the Tartus region of Syria on 15 January 1950, he grew up in modest comfort and studied law and history at Damascus University before joining the Syrian army in the late 1970s. During this time, Shawkat had five children. After joining the army, Shawkat began working his way up through the ranks, by 1982 he was an officer in the Defense Companies paramilitary force headed by Rifaat al-Assad, the brother of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad; the Defense Companies were responsible for putting down an Islamic uprising in the city of Hama, In 1983, after Hafez al-Assad suffered an apparent heart attack, he named governing council of six men he believed were unlikely to seize power to run the country in his absence.
Rifaat al-Assad was not among them. Hafez al-Assad’s prolonged absence caused supporters of Rifaat al-Assad to rally around him, in 1984 Rifaat launched a bid to take control of Damascus which nearly escalated into a civil war; the tensions only eased when Hafez al-Assad, still ill, addressed the nation and the attempted coup d'état collapsed. Shawkat remained loyal to Hafez al-Assad throughout this period, he was rewarded with a promotion to colonel. In the early 1980s, Shawkat met Bushra al-Assad, at that time studying pharmacy at Damascus University. Bushra was the first child and only daughter of Hafez al-Assad, she had a close relationship with her father. Bushra's father and her younger brother Bassel al-Assad were opposed to Bushra’s relationship with Shawkat, ten years her senior and a divorced father of five from a modest background. Bassel had Shawkat jailed in 1993 to block their relationship. However, there is another report stating that the reason for his imprisonment was related to his wrongdoing.
However, in January 1994, Bassel died in a car crash, a year in 1995 Shawkat and Bushra al-Assad eloped. Despite failing to obtain her father's blessing prior to the marriage, Hafez al-Assad accepted Shawkat into the family, Shawkat was soon promoted in rank to Major-General. Assef and Bushra had five children, all named for immediate members of Bushra’s family: Bushra, Bassel and Anisa After his marriage to Bushra al-Assad, Shawkat built a close relationship with her brother Bashar, recalled from London after his brother Bassel’s death to be groomed as his father's successor. Bushra nurtured this relationship. On the other hand, he is said to have had a fractious relationship with Bushra’s and Bashar’s younger brother Maher al-Assad, alleged to have shot him in the stomach in 1999. By the time Bashar al-Assad became President of Syria in June 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, Shawkat was considered one of the most powerful people in Syria. In 2001, Shawkat was named Deputy Director of Military Intelligence, one of the main branches of the Syrian intelligence apparatus.
His portfolio included liaising with militant Palestinian groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he was a key architect of Syria’s dominance of Lebanon. After the 11 September 2001 attacks, Shawkat was a primary contact with intelligence agencies in the United States and Europe and coordinated a US intelligence operation in Syria, shut down after relations between the two countries irremediably deteriorated. In February 2005, Shawkat was promoted to Director of Military Intelligence, replacing Hassan Khalil. Shortly before his promotion, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut on 14 February 2005; the size and sophistication of the device used in the blast was considered to have involved a state intelligence agency, United Nation investigators implicated Shawkat in the plot. In 2006, Shawkat was named a Specially Designated National by the US, allowing his assets to be frozen in the US, he was implicated in the assassination of Imad Mughniyah in Damascus on 12 February 2008.
In July 2009, he was dismissed as head of military intelligence,'thus ridding the regime of the key suspect in the international investigation into Hariri's assassination' given the rank of general and named as deputy chief of staff of the armed forces. He held this post until September 2011, when he was appointed deputy defense minister, ostensibly under General Dawoud Rajiha. After the appointment of General Dawoud Rajiha to head the ministry of defense, Shawkat became an important figure in the ministry of defense, though the army was under the de facto control of Maher al-Assad, the president's brother. However, Shawkat had more than one conflict with Maher al-Assad. Together with President Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher al-Assad, Shawkat was a principal architect of the crackdown that followed in response to the Syrian uprising that began in March 2011, he was a member of a military crisis unit created by President al-Assad, which included Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, intelligence chief Hisham Bekhityar, special security advisor Ali Mamlouk, head of military intelligence Abdel-Fatah Qudsiyeh and Mohammad Nassif Kheyrbek, a veteran operator from the era of Assad's father.
In May 2012, the Free Syrian Army’s Damascus council claimed that one of their operatives from its Al Sahabeh battalion had poisoned the eight members of Bashar Assad's military crisis unit, including Assef Shawkat, inaccurately reported to have died. On 18 July 2012, Shawkat attended a meeting of the military crisis
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with ensuring international peace and security, accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations and international sanctions as well as the authorization of military actions through resolutions – it is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states; the council held its first session on 17 January 1946. Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of a previous international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace. In its early decades, the Security Council was paralyzed by the Cold War division between the US and USSR and their respective allies, though it authorized interventions in the Korean War and the Congo Crisis and peacekeeping missions in the Suez Crisis and West New Guinea.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN peacekeeping efforts increased in scale, the Security Council authorized major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait, Cambodia, Rwanda, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Security Council consists of fifteen members; the great powers that were the victors of World War II – the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and the United States – serve as the body's five permanent members. These can veto any substantive resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or nominees for the office of Secretary-General. In addition, the council has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve a term of two years; the body's presidency rotates monthly among its members. Resolutions of the Security Council are enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget; as of 2016, 103,510 peacekeepers and 16,471 civilians were deployed on sixteen peacekeeping operations and one special political mission.
In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations and conferences had been formed to regulate conflicts between nations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Following the catastrophic loss of life in World War I, the Paris Peace Conference established the League of Nations to maintain harmony between the nations; this organization resolved some territorial disputes and created international structures for areas such as postal mail and opium control, some of which would be absorbed into the UN. However, the League lacked representation for colonial peoples and significant participation from several major powers, including the US, USSR, Japan; the earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the US State Department in 1939. US President Roosevelt first coined the term United Nations to describe the Allied countries."On New Year's Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, T. V. Soong, of China, signed a short document which came to be known as the United Nations Declaration and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures."
The term United Nations was first used when 26 governments signed this Declaration. By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states had signed. "Four Policemen" was coined to refer to the four major Allied countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China. And became the foundation of an executive branch of the United Nations, the Security Council. In mid-1944, the delegations from the Allied "Big Four", the Soviet Union, the UK, the US and China, met for the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington, D. C. to negotiate the UN's structure, the composition of the UN Security Council became the dominant issue. France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK, US were selected as permanent members of the Security Council; the most contentious issue at Dumbarton and in successive talks proved to be the veto rights of permanent members. The Soviet delegation argued that each nation should have an absolute veto that could block matters from being discussed, while the British argued that nations should not be able to veto resolutions on disputes to which they were a party.
At the Yalta Conference of February 1945, the American and Russian delegations agreed that each of the "Big Five" could veto any action by the council, but not procedural resolutions, meaning that the permanent members could not prevent debate on a resolution. On 25 April 1945, the UN Conference on International Organization began in San Francisco, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the United Nations Charter. At the conference, H. V. Evatt of the Australian delegation pushed to further restrict the veto power of Security Council permanent members. Due to the fear that rejecting the strong veto would cause the conference's failure, his proposal was defeated twenty votes to ten; the UN came into existence on 24 October 1945 upon ratification of the Charter by the five then-permanent members of the Security Council and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. On 17 January