The current situation in Syria has been a massive controversial topic in the current news as it trends the current social media networks with disheartening pictures of ruined cities, homeless citizens, orphaned children and mass genocide. The Arab League has at hand a very important topic to which these delegates could provide a very valid solution. But the maze of chairs I had to walk through to find a seat in committee, proved to be a forewarning of the complex politics and ground realities of the Arab world that would bog down progress on Syria.
The delegate of Sudan was the first to speak on the speakers list and starts the first speech on how the strengthening of the Asaad regime is proving to be problematic. Other delegates voiced out their opinion on ISIS’s operation of an oil refinery is proving to be a financial support to strengthening its military power.
An hour into the committee debate one could almost already point out the probable award winners as the committee gets dominated by select delegates of Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Palestine and Jordan. Doesn’t the Arab League consist of 22 countries instead of just 6? But the Head Table is not entirely to blame and it is also the fault of the other delegates for letting such domination take root.
It should be noted that the Syrian delegate in this case is representing the Syrian National Council led by the Free Syrian Army and not the Assad regime. It meant that there was no one in committee to defend the interests of the Assad regime. But this follows an Arab League decision from sometime back.
The problem of Syria is synonymous with ISIS. The focus of the Arab League delegates was as such that they tackled the terrorist group through various moderated caucuses such as cutting the terrorist group’s funding, directing the Arab League task force to regain ISIS controlled areas, and collaborating militant rebel groups within Syria to combat ISIS. All which proved to be very valid solutions as they debated. The delegate of Syria had some very interesting metaphors in his debate as he reminds the committee that in such matters, the US is not the Arab League’s friend.
However Syria’s crisis is more than just focus on a single terrorist group. It’s a country with a large number of missing people, human trafficking, drug trade, degrading economy, food deficiencies, extortion, torture and more. Although much of it is caused by the existence of the terrorist group, you cannot erase them over night. Hence, the most current and necessary concerns such as providing basic necessities to the people were ignored.
The domination by the Arab League “6” meant that new delegates got intimidated by these seasoned MUNers. Only one of them, the delegate of Syria, stated that the point of the Arab League isn’t to eradicate terrorism, it is but a small role and a larger role exists in strengthening its diplomatic ties among the member states. In turn the Head Table had to keep reminding the delegates of the variety of problems that exists for Syria. Yet it made almost no change, as it was obvious the “6” in turn have most probably focused their research on ISIS.
As the committee comes back from lunch, the quality of the debate vastly increased as other member nations joined in on the debate. Topics varied as well, tackling the broadened topic of the situation in Syria. One topic that the committee debated upon was considering giving the Ba’ath party a seat in the Arab League which took much of the committee’s time as it sadly ended with the decision of the Head Table to put it to rest. Quite a bit of the morning session had also been spent clarifying the status of the Syrian delegate and more time made no sense.
The committee had a WhatsApp group instead of typically using chit paper and then showing the Moderated Caucuses on screen. It proved to be more efficient and time-saving in my view. This clearly proves how easy and efficient an MUN conference could be if the delegates are allowed to use their phones, tabs and laptops during committee. And it saves the pile of chit paper that gets thrown away by the Head Table at the end of session. The other MUN conferences in Sri Lanka should reconsider their bans on the use of electronic devices during committee. It might actually end up increasing engagement by delegates in proceedings.
I’m impressed by how the delegates were very motivated in eradicating the issue terrorism and providing a long-lasting solution to the problem of Syria. However, I hope to see more of member countries taking part in active debate on the second and final day of conference.
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