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Potential & Difficulties of Effective UN Actions

They thus pose difficulties of a sort not encountered as recently as 1990, when the forces of one sovereign state, Iraq, invaded and occupied another recognized sovereign state, Kuwait. In this case, there was a clear victim state with a recognized sovereign government (albeit in exile) on whose behalf the United Nations could intervene. In cases of internal conflict, however, two or more parties may claim to be the legitimate government, or (as in the case of Somalia) there may be no group or body having any of the characteristics of a government. There is thus no specific victim, in the sense of a recognized sovereignty, which can appear before the United Nations to seek redress. Yet the human victims of such conflicts may be very numerous, and the world community rightly acknowledges a right and obligation to intervene.

Such intervention may be difficult in practice, so difficult that no effective intervention can be undertaken. Moreover, because the United Nations is dependent upon its member countries to provide intervention forces, internal political circumstances may render adequate forces unavailable. Bosnia and Somalia, respectively, are instances of these two classes of circumstances. In the Bosnian civil war, the terrain is not favorable to intervention. Much of the country is mountainous and forested, eliminating the advantages of armored move


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Potential & Difficulties of Effective UN Actions. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:36, October 23, 2014, from
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