United Nations response




Iran complained to UN that USSR troops stationed there since the war, were interfering with internal Iranian matters. Due to complexities of Cold War, UN did nothing. Iranians and USSR sorted the issue out for themselves. May 1946, USSR withdrew its troops from Iran.

1946- 48


Greek Communists attacked the government in an attempt to overthrow it. UN investigated Greek complaint that several communist Balkan states were assisting Greek communists. UN Special Committee set up. UN failed to stop fighting in Greece. This only ended in 1949 when the Yugoslavs stopped sending weapons to the Greek communists.



Who owns Kashmir? A dispute between India and Pakistan.

Security Council arranged a ceasefire between the two and monitored the situation. Ceasefire kept for 16 years but UN failed to persuade either side to withdraw military forces from Kashmir.

1947- 49


Indonesia declared itself independent of Dutch rule. Dutch sent in troops to sort out a ‘domestic matter’. 1947, the Security Council ordered a ceasefire between the two. Both agreed to this. The UN sponsored Indonesia’s call for independence. 1949, Dutch agreed to this.

1947- 49


From 1920 to 1947, Palestinians and Jews had been clashing in British governed Palestine. In 1947, Britain asked the UN to take over. UN set up a special committee and agreed that a separate Jewish state should be created. Arab nations made their anger known but such was sympathy for Jews post-1945, that Israel was created lead by Ben Gurion.  The creation of Israel lead to war in 1948 when the Arab nations surrounding Israel attacked her. UN arranged for a 4 week truce but it did not last. The UN did get a longer lasting truce but could not get the involved nations to sign a peace treaty.



North Korea suddenly attacked South Korea. Condemned by UN and a military force created to push North Korea out of the South. The UN force attacked Northern forces but its action provoked a response from China. Stalemate by 1953 when ceasefire signed. Still in force today.



USSR sent troops into Hungary – part of the Warsaw Pact. Security Council called on USSR to withdraw. USSR vetoed Security Council resolution. UN powerless to do more.



War between Egypt and Israel. Security Council ordered Israel to withdraw from Egypt. GB and France vetoed this. This issue was then handled by the General Assembly. The UNEF was established which remained on the border until 1967.



Anti-government rebellion in Lebanon. Government claim it was funded and orchestrated by Syria. Asked United Nations for help. UN created 100-man  team to monitor border activities.  Team monitored border for 6 months. Reported little activity. Lebanon accepted this UN report. UN left December 1958.

1960- 64


1960 Belgium granted the Congo its independence. The Congo army mutinied against its white officers and 100,000 Belgium’s living in the Congo were seen as being at risk. Belgium sent its own troops in. The Congo’s government called on the UN for help. 10,000 UN troops sent to the Congo. UN managed to get stability in Congo by 1964. But France and USSR angered at role of UN and many felt that Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Secretary-General, had exceeded his authority.



Ownership issue: who owned West Irian? Indonesia or Dutch? UN persuaded Dutch to transfer West Irian to Indonesia. UN took care of West Irian for 7 months in lead up to a smooth transfer to Indonesia.



Civil War. Saudi Arabia backed the Royalists and Egypt the Republicans. Royalists appealed to United Nations for help. UN not involved as Egypt and Saudis agreed to leave Yemen. UN monitored both nations withdrawal from the country. UN stayed in Yemen until September 1964. It then withdrew.



Cyprus gained independence from GB in 1960. Civil war between Greek and Turks on the island. 6000 man force sent to Cyprus by UN to act as a buffer between both sides UN force kept peace for 10 years but violence occurred in 1974


Dominican Republic

Civil war after the overthrow of the president in 1965.  UN sent observers to monitor the situation. UN stayed until 1966 when withdrawn. Peace keeping done by OAS.*

1966- 80

1966, a minority white government declared UDI from Britain. Black majority prevented from having voting rights. Security Council condemned Rhodesia and imposed economic sanctions. UN sanctions failed to work as the then apartheid South Africa supplied Rhodesia. 1980 white rule overthrown by ‘Patriotic Front’.



Who owns Kashmir? A dispute between India and Pakistan. UN set up a monitoring body and ordered both nations back to the 1947 ceasefire line.  Both agreed to peace talks in USSR and UN supervised a withdrawal to 1947 line. But renewed violence in 2002. made worse as both nations possess nuclear weapons. UN no success to date.


Middle East

Israel launched strikes against Arab nations leading to 6′ Day War’. Security Council called for ceasefire and drew up Resolution 242. Resolution 242 was signed by all involved in the war but the Arabs and Israelis interpreted it differently. UN did succeed in getting an exchange of prisoners.


Middle East

Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur starting another Middle East war. UN passed Resolution 338. Called for peace and for talks to be based on Resolution 242. UN conference – to search for peace – called in Geneva but achieved nothing. A 7,000 UN force was established between Israel and Egypt after USA pressure. In 1977, UN openly criticised Israel for creating settlements in occupied territories.



Greek Cypriots tried to unite Cyprus to Greece. Turk Cypriots seized northern Cyprus in response. UN arranged for a cease fire. UN set up bases along the island’s dividing line. 2,500 UN troops guard this line to date. Peace maintained since 1974.


East Timor

East Timor occupied by Indonesia and declared it part of Indonesia. UN called on Indonesia to withdraw but could not enforce its resolution. Many examples of human rights violations by Indonesia in East Timor. UN could do nothing. But international pressure lead to East Timor becoming an independent state in 2002.


Afghanistan USSR invaded and occupied.  Security Council called on USSR to withdraw. USSR vetoed Security Council resolution. UN unable to do anything. 


Iraq v Iran Long running dispute between the two ended with Iraq invading Iran. Security Council resolution called for a ceasefire between the two. Resolution ignored. War continued for 8 years. UN supervised a ceasefire in 1988.



Israel invaded Lebanon to drive out PLO.  UN organised the PLO’s leaving of Beirut.  UN could not stop Beirut from descending into civil war but maintained men in southern Lebanon – on Israeli border. 


Falkland Islands

Argentina invaded and occupied Falklands – British territory.  Security Council demanded that Argentina withdrew it forces. Ignored. Britain retook the islands by force. 



South Africa illegally possessed Namibia. UN persuaded South Africa, Angola and Cuba to accept UN supervised elections prior to independence. In 1989, UN forces arrived to supervise lead up to independence. But Un could not stop violence that left 2,000 dead. Namibia became independent in 1990.

* OAS = Organisation of American States