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A Possibly Comprehensive Guide

A (Possibly)

By Your EB

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A Possibly Comprehensive Guide

1. What is Munning?
HEAVEN! Okay, perhaps not, in fact some people would probably
disagree with me on this, but MUNs or Model United Nations, are events
where people can attend the proceedings as delegates, representing
various nations. The atmosphere is of intense debate, competition
(ruthless at times) and activism. MUNs are of varied levels, and the most
common ones are at the interschool level.
Without further ado, lets jump right in.

1.1: The MUN Society

Ok, so there are just three sets of people in any MUN.
One, the Executive Board- These people are the guys who judge your
performance, give you permission to talk and can take almost any
decisions inside committee. So, yeah be on their good books ;D
Two, the Organising Committee- These people are the hardworking
ants of any MUN. They are the spine of the MUN and run the
organisation of the MUN, along with the EB. They help in passing chits,
Three, the most important, delegates- They, rather you, are the
participants of the MUN. They get allotted into various countries and
committees. Hence, they (you) represent a country in a committee.

1.2: The Ultimate Yeses and No-Nos

In a MUN, the first thing that you should remember is that once you
enter the committee room, where the delegates are seated, you lose your
individuality to a large extent. Your thoughts and ideals will have to
shift and mould into what your country yes, yours, the one youre
representing believes in. Although you might be, say, a staunch
socialist who hates America and its foreign policy, if youre the delegate
of an American ally or, though unlikely, the US itself, then your ideals
cannot stay the same. You have to become your country.
Secondly, you will have to forget the use of words such as you, he, she
and they. Referring to anyone in the delegates room is only in third
person. That is, the delegate of so-and-so country for example.

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I believe that terrorists sole goal is to endanger our institutions and

our way of life. Thank you all for standing in solidarity with us; yes,
France has been indeed the victim of several unfortunate attacks
The delegate of France believes that non-state actors sole goal is
to endanger our institutions and our way of life. France is forever
grateful to all the delegates here who have extended their solidarity;
yes, France has been indeed the victim of several unfortunate attacks
That said, you must also realise that the proceedings are solely in
English. You may know the language of the country you are representing,
but speaking in any other language other than English is frowned upon.
Next, switch off your mobile phones and ensure there is no
internet connection in them. Most MUNs allow laptops for our
convenience (i.e. proofs for our statements) so you may bring those;
however, internet is a strict no-no. You cannot, absolutely cannot use it.
The consequences can be very dire if you do.
As for your attire, generally, a business suit (or similar western formal
clothing) is encouraged. Some MUNs have special dress codes which
may include Indian formals (i.e. salwar-kameez, sherwani etc.). Either
way, respect the dress code. If you turn up in jeans, chances are youll
be thrown out. You dont really want that.
Dont make eye contact with other delegates while you are
speaking. That is considered impolite and undiplomatic behaviour.
This rule is rarely followed, but make sure you do follow it, as it might
fetch you brownie points (read: slang for points that determine if you
win a prize or not).
Every time you speak, acknowledge the head table. Say, With
the prior permission of the executive board (shortened as EB), the
delegate of so-and-so-country would like to present his/her stance on the
issue, or something along those lines. Politeness can go a long way in
impressing the EB, i.e. the guys who conduct the proceedings and grade
you and your performance. Being on their good side is always helpful.
Dont speak out of turn. You will be given placards that have your
countrys name on them. Raise them if you wish to speak, and only if any

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member of the EB acknowledges that you are given the right to speak,
can you speak. Also, go back to the previous paragraph. This is the
reason youre saying that.
Be civil and somewhat formal in your communication. MUNs
have the possibility of using chits/notes to facilitate communication.
However, all notes are read by the EB and the OC member in the
committee, and if deemed appropriate, are sent to the recipient. The
format for a chit/note is
To: Countrys name
From: Countrys name
Message: _________________________________
Okay, I assure you, the boring part is now over.

1.3: Helpful Sources and Links:



2. The Preparation:
Most delegates really struggle with this part. Its hard where to start, how
to start, what to do and generally everything is a huge question mark.
These are the things that I found helpful while preparing. I highly
encourage you to see the same too.
Step 1: Analyse the agenda, if any.
Most committees of the MUN have agendas a clear-cut and decided
range of topics that would be covered in the session. Let me give you an

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Agenda: The emergence of non-state actors promoting violence with

special emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa.
First up, what are non-state actors? Look that up. They are not affiliated
to the government, and include organisations like rebel groups fighting
in Syria, for example. Once thats done, youll have research deep into
the whole situation. This agenda has obviously narrowed the focus down
to two regions: and the first two groups that come to your mind are ISIS
and Boko Haram. With this in mind, lets move on.
Step 2: Background information on the Agenda
Research, research, research. Get yourself completely aware of the
agenda at hand. Leave nothing unknown. For this, you can tune in to
many international news channels. For example, the BBC, Al Jazeera,
France24, DW, CCTV, Russia Today, etc.
I also suggest you look into your countrys news channels for your
nations perspective. Read your countrys constitution.
Heres an amazing page I found: (

CIA World Factbook Page: The go-to for MUNers, the CIA World Factbook is filled with
information about your country. The CIA Factbook has information about your countrys
geography, its economy, its government, its population, and many more facts and figures!
Speeches at the UN: Want to find out what your country has actually said about the UN on
your topic? Using the UN Member States on the Record tool, you can find all the statements your
country has made to the UN General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Security
Council in the past few decades.
Official Government Website: As a Model UN delegate, youre representing the government
of the country youre assigned. Check out their website to see what your government has to say
about the issue.

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UN Permanent Mission: Check out your countrys permanent mission to the UN to find out
who your Permanent Representative to the UN is, find quotes, and search for your countrys
position on the most important issues to your committee.
BBC Timeline: Find the most important events in your countrys history! This can help you
figure out why your country has the policies it does, and what your history may be with the other
countries in your committee.
IMUNA Country Profile: The International Model United Nations Association has some quick
facts and resources for MUNers on each country- check out yours!

Also, store most of your information sources as screenshots or

documents. The EB generally accept it as valid proof, provided
they are taken from globally-accepted sites (like the BBC, Al Jazeera,
CNN, UN Permanent Missions, UN site of the committee, country
constitutions, nationally accepted newspapers, etc). Proof can be asked
by other delegates or the EB, mostly on points of information/order
(well discuss it later). But, the decision of the EB stays final.

Step 3: Writing your opening statement/GSL Speech

Every delegate has a first speech. This may be in the form of a General
Speakers List (GSL) speech. In this speech, you are given time to
clarify your countrys stance on the issue at hand, highlight sub-issues
that you feel are important, and also indicate if you want to make
Remember. Alliances are super important.
Im adding our speeches here, highlighting the points that are wonderful,
and those that arent quite. These were our first speeches, so its bound
to have its flaws.
With the prior permission of the EB, the delegate of Germany would
like to address the committee.
To the members of the dais and the delegates assembled, a very good
morning. It is indeed very pleasing to see so many delegates here, as
the UN Women is a council that needs a lot of empathy and sensitivity
to be a part of; and this is very tough to find in todays world. A few
months back, a certain article of news spread like wildfire boosting up
the already-ablaze inferno of feminists in India, The Aligarh Muslim

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University of India. The university supposedly introduced an

amendment in their book of rules saying that girls will not be allowed
into the library of the university because the clothes that the girls wore
disturbed the focus of the boys reading there. The universitys
authorities too agreed and let this be made officially as an amendment
into their book of rules! Funny though it might sound, this is a minute
case; women all around the globe are facing problems because of this
main issue: If the law itself is biased, where else can they turn to for
justice?!! Hence, the first step to be taken towards womens global
development is indeed changes in governmental legislation.
Germany is known to be a country that respects and gives women their
freedoms and rights. It indeed is and the delegate of Germany is proud
of that. But beneath the glossy picture that is often presented lies many
miseries of women. First of all, Germany has this particular right given
to police officials under section 44. It states that police are allowed to
check all people under their protection and jurisdiction even without
suspicion. The delegate of Germany wonders how this law could even
have been passed! This gives police officials complete freedom to do
anything in their area of control!!! Women are often victims to verbal
and physical abuse. Unnecessary taunts are made at them. Mrs.
Khalid-El-Masri, a normal Muslim who lives in Germany, was kept in
prison for a fortnight. Why? No reason. In 2009, a girl as tied from
behind by the police all of a sudden and she was made to kneel down.
To make matters worse, she died of asphyxia. Why tie her up? No
reason. Inspector Wolfgang Daschner is famous in Germany due to his
style of questioning people through torture; women in the suspects
family. The inspector justifies his actions saying that this strikes the
suspect emotionally and makes it easier to find the criminal.
How can ultimate power rest with one sect of people? The reason this
law came into being was to protect people from foreign terrorist
attacks. And now the people have to be afraid of their own countrys
policemen rather than from foreign terrorist groups. Worse, section 44
of the Grundgesetz permits it! Hence, the delegate of Germany would
like to have the following legislation, also mentioned in the European
Conference for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, introduced
in the German Constitution for the welfare of women. Section 44 shall
be modified to see that people are searched only if there is a search
warrant presented. In other cases, the surveyed has the right to a fair
It is advised that in the GSL, you give a broad view. Do not confine
yourself to tiny locales. Do not point out your countrys flaws. A GSL

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speech, also, is typically rather short. Either way, this is indeed a good
GSL speech, but for its tiny flaws that matter little.
Another GSL speech:
With the prior permission of the executive board, the delegate of France
would like to express his views on the agenda.
France solemnly confirms that the world is becoming increasingly
turbulent. Crises dominate the headlines and new threats have emerged
threats, that unlike before, are affiliated to no nation-state and act
against our very ways of living and the very ideas of our nations.
The emergence of radicalisation, extremism and terrorism, primarily
by non-state actors, is a major concern. They internally displace
innocent civilians, and also form a cause for refugees undertaking the
perilous journeys to Europe, in search of asylum. France has accepted
that it will indeed take in these refugees with open arms, as has the rest
of Europe.
Recently, our nation suffered a horrific tragedy, on the 13th of
November. We know how extremist elements endanger us: how they
strike at our very hearts. Yet were not afraid well never be (pause).
This is exactly why France has joined the much-needed coalition
against Daesh. We implore more and more nations to join, particularly
those which have shown unreasonable reluctance in doing so.
Another major problem facing us today is the emergence of more and
more border conflicts. Nations fighting each other, people losing their
lives in skirmishes this, certainly, has to stop. France is also deeply
concerned about the increasing distances between nations, as
ideologies clash and policies conflict. This era of polarisation in foreign
relations has only one casualty: the people themselves. Sanctions,
embargoes and the like put economic pressure on corrupt institutions,
no doubt; but in the end, it is the people who suffer, people who have no
hand nor interest in the world of diplomacy.
Perhaps it is high time that we, as nations, realise that we are nothing if
not for our people, and work for them. The delegate ends his speech
with the hope that there would be cooperation and cohesion in the

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proceedings today. Our enemy is one: our cause is one. Then why are
we divided?
The delegate yield his time to points of information and comments, if
This speech is a minefield, when it comes to tough questions being
asked. Look at this sentence: We implore more and more nations to
join, particularly those which have shown unreasonable reluctance in
doing so. A sure-shot question would be, Which nations? This would
put the delegate in a fix, and lead to complications (and unwanted
retreat of allies) that are unwarranted. Try to avoid this as much as
As for the last paragraph, its too patronising and come-lets-unitewere-saintly-like. Its not working. Generally, leaving all this out of the
speech is advisable. Be to-the-point and precise.
There are some differences, and flaws, in the two speeches, but they
follow a certain format. Ive identified it as follows:

Acknowledgement of EB, and/or greeting;

Stance of the nation
Addressing the agenda
What your nation has done so far
Your appeal to other nations
Yielding, if so desired

This is making me want to write a GSL speech already! Anyways, heres a

mock agenda and a mock-GSL-writing-space.
Mock Agenda: The creation of the state of Palestine and its opposition
GSL Speech Space:
With the prior permission of the EB, the delegate of
would like to start their speech.
What is the issue?

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Supporting facts and figures:
Your countrys stance and achievements, in relevance to the
Call to action
Step 4: Getting the International Relations and Geopolitics
Ive seen this is a recurring trend. In most MUNs, countries stray away
from the real-life policies and become heavily influenced by the
delegates opinions themselves (Ive seen China being against
censorship. Duh). This is acceptable to a certain degree, but is not
considered the mark of a good delegate. It could be one massive error in
geopolitics and youre out.

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What is geopolitics?
Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand,
explain and predict international political behaviour through
geographical variables. (Wikipedia)
A delegate needs to have a basic understanding of foreign
relations. You must know the stance of all major nations and your
neighbours on specific issues. As an example, India and Pakistan cannot
agree on some issues. It would be a gross error to go about making an
alliance with them. Similarly, being Iran, you cant say you deny
Palestinian statehood because you support Israel. Thats not how it is. If
you do that, itll be considered that you lack basic awareness of
international relations. That will go against you.
And for gods sake. Dont quit the NATO just because you dont like the
delegate of USA. Ive seen that happen. Approach like-minded people
and blocs during unmoderated caucuses. Dont go to a bloc that shuns
you and makes you feel like you dont belong there. Make wise decisions.
Sometimes, issues you feel strongly about may be discussed, and if suits
you, join the group that aligns with your views.
Dont compromise on what you believe in (except if its an issue of
geopolitics; DPRK cant say yes to nuclear disarmament).
















































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An addition here: Sometimes, certain extent of changing the foreign

policy is allowed. Normally, this is allowed only on issues where the
government of your country hasnt officially given any statements. Then,
you can take up a relative yet opinionated statement to make.
Step 5: Getting proactive and thinking of the solutions
Most committees give their agendas and background guides beforehand.
So its pretty easy to spend adequate time thinking of solutions to
pressing issues and then suggesting them in committee. I would advise
you to read the committees actual website and learn whats being
discussed. Get an inkling of what your leaders have said. Quote them if
you want. But always keep in mind; the solutions give you a huge bonus
because that is what the MUN is conducted for!

3. Must-Knows
(Caution: This part is lengthyyyy.)
As a delegate at a MUN, youre supposed to know whats going on
currently in the world. A leader of a nation surely would be well-aware of
international crises, wars, epidemics, etc. Your duty is to be a wellinformed delegate. Ive compiled a list of must-knows, as of March-April
2016. This is subject to change, especially if something major happens
along the way its bound to.
Anyway, get at least some background information about the following
issues. If you dont know how to start, Id gladly help you if you wish.
(a) The Syrian Civil War and offshoots thereof;
South China Sea disputes;
(c) ISIS and the terror situation;
Refugee crisis in Europe;
(e) Israel-Palestine conflict;
(f) The outbreak of i) Ebola and ii) Zika virus;

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(g) Any other relevant issue that pertains to your countrys

region/your committee/both.
The most obvious thing that every delegate must know is whats been
going on in Syria. Ill try my level best to simplify everything so that
you a get a crude picture of the complex issue at hand.

3.1. The Syrian Civil War

3.1.1: The Context
Before delving right into the conflict, we need to establish a few facts.
Islam is a religion with multiple sects like the Shia, Sunni,
Ahmediya, Alawite, etc. Many of these sects are fiercely
competitive with each other, and this fundamental set of
divisions in the religion is the source of many conflicts in the
Middle East.
Much of the Middle East as we know it today, comprising of the
Gulf of Arabia, the Gulf of Persia and the Fertile Crescent, was a
region occupied by colonial powers much like the rest of Asia.
At the end of WWII, Britain and France (among other colonial
powers) drew up political boundaries and created independent
nation-states. The thought behind these was as flawed as behind
the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. The results were
equally, if not more disastrous.
The Middle East consists of a varied set of people. Contrary to
the misconception, no, the region is not just home to Muslims.
In the Middle East, Islam is not a unifying force rather, a
dividing one. The various sects are constantly at war or at least
engaged in proxy wars against each other.
Christians and Jews too are part of the Middle Eastern
populace, amid pagan religious groups (like the Yazidis of Iraq)
Such social differences were not considered during the
creation of independent countries. As a result, the newly
formed states of the region comprised of diverse sets of people
who had historically been at odds with each other.
Most regimes in the region were also autocratic in nature. The
reason for this is of course a subject of debate.

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The social makeup and governments of the region made it a

recipe for disaster, be it civil wars or worse.
As you can see in the map, the Middle East is complicated.

3.1.2: The Assads and the Arab Spring

It is useless to talk about Syria without
touching upon the infamous Assad family and
the Arab Spring that erupted across the
region in this decade. The Assads are a rich
and powerful political family in Syria, who
belong to the Alawite sect of Islam, associated
with the Shia sect of Islam. The Alawites
comprise a mere 12% of Syrias entire
population, while the majority are Sunni. The
current President of Syria (Bashar al-Assad) is the son of Hafez al-Assad,
the previous President of Syria. Under the familys rule, Syria
transformed into an authoritarian state with little freedom, high

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censorship, and political imprisonment became common. The Assads

(pictured on the right) became infamous.
Syria was influenced heavily by its neighbours thanks to the Arab Spring,
a wave of nationalistic movements that demanded the deposal of
autocratic, oppressive regimes. In Tunisia, this saw the deposal of its
leaders and the establishment of a healthy democracy. In Egypt, too,
Mohammed Morsi was deposed and democracy was established, though
momentarily. In Libya, Gaddafi, the military leader, was assassinated
and the power vacuum created accounts for the current crisis in the
Anyway, seeing Im going off track here: Syrias people saw the countries
around them getting freer and obviously felt compelled to protest against
the regime of the Assads. This was the year 2011, and by now, the son of
Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad had come to power. He initially
promised to be a great ruler, trying to listen to the peoples demands, but
soon became as bad as his father in suppressing dissent.
And then a bunch of peaceful protests
happened around the country. The pivotal
protest is the one that happened in Deraa,
where a procession of protestors were shot
at by riot police not tear gas or anything
harmless but actual, live bullets. In the
exchange that followed, fifteen people died.

Over time, the number of civilians dying

increased as the Assad regime fought back with repression reminiscent
of the British raj. The military was also called in to attack peaceful
protesters. Over time, the anger simmered up (less press freedoms, a 48year long emergency law, political prisoners being taken in at a rapid
rate, etc. causing this plus the violent crackdown) and local, armed
militias started cropping up.
These militias were rebel groups against the Assad government, and
largely consisted of the ignored Sunni majority of the country. They were
attacking the Shia dominated Assad regime.

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3.1.3: The Proxy Wars Begin (DISEC, pay attention.)

Important. Proxy wars in the Middle East often base themselves on
sectarian lines. Iran is the Shia-supporter, while Saudi Arabia and
much of the so-called Gulf States support the Sunnis.

As expected, the fighting worsened as Iran supported the Assad regime

by funding Hezbollah (a Lebanese-Shia militant organisation), and
sending military aid to Syrias government under Assad. On the other
hand, the Gulf States started funding the rebel groups in Syria fighting
against Assad including, arguably, the Jamat al-Nusra, the Syrian
wing of Al-Qaeda.
Effectively, the Syrian nation was
undergoing civil war.
The war was also a proxy
war on two fronts Iran-Saudi Arabia
and USA-Russia. Russia began
supporting the Assad regime while the
US opposed it and questioned its
crimes against humanity including
the usage of chemical warfare, killing
hundreds of
innocent civilians.
Whats a proxy war?
When two countries dont actually go to war, but are engaged in a power
struggle elsewhere, supporting/funding opposing groups in a war or
conflict, the resultant war is a proxy war. Over the years, proxy wars have
become increasingly common. They are obviously a cause of worry
because the people of the countries directly affected have little to no say
in what is happening.
This is exactly what is happening in Syria right now. The human cost is
huge more than four million refugees displaced. The country is pretty
much in shambles. The Syrian government is losing territory as we

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speak. People are dying - deaths that are unwarranted, deaths that could
easily be avoided.

3.1.4: The New Player, a Gamechanger? ISIS and its Rise

ISIS, the largest terrorist organisation we know of today, has risen
largely due to the ineffectiveness of local governments and the civil war
in Syria both of which created a healthy environment for groups like it
to thrive. This is called, in international relations terminology, a power
vacuum. ISIS was created as an offshoot of Al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda
affiliated group in Syria. It arose due to some differences of opinion.
However, its rise has been dramatic and worrying. ISIS doesnt want to
topple the Assad regime. Nor does it want to support the regime. Its sole
goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate: a medieval empire with Sharia
law and Islam being the sole religion. It has been eating up territories in
Iraq and Syria.
ISIS has created a new question: who is the
greater enemy, Assad or ISIS? Who is worse, and
who is to be left worse off? These questions have
been of little use in doing anything on ground in
Syria, though, as the fighting continues and
hundreds of European-Muslims are going to
Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, or rebel groups to
fulfil the need to bring justice to their brothers
in Syria.
As for Turkey, its been reluctant to attack ISIS, and rather has been
attacking the Kurds in Syria.
The US has put together a coalition that is holding air strikes against
ISIS as such. The Pentagon has been putting up programmes to fund
rebel groups in Syria and to provide them training if required. Obama
has even pondered upon the possibility of having US troops on ground in
Syria can you imagine? After Iraq, that much must be learnt.
Intervention is costly and detrimental.
You, as delegates, will surely have to ponder upon this. The situation is
bleak, and the need for action is immediate.

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The topic at hand is vast, and requires deep understanding; something

that cannot be assured through a mere overview, which is what Ive given
here. Feel free to research more on the topic. Ill leave a few helpful links
and suggestions here.

3.1.5: Links, Articles, Videos and More

(Approach Wikipedia articles with caution; read the
citations if you detect any bias. Approach all news outlets
reports with an eye for bias. There is a lot of that.)
NOTE: All of these are important. (excuse the
French accent.)
I completely forgot about the Kurds. You NEED to know about
them, its actually pretty important.

3.2. South China Sea Disputes

3.2.1: The Context
The South China Sea, broadly speaking, is a geographical area (surprise
surprise!) to the south of China. However, this doesnt necessarily equate
to the body of water belonging exclusively to China or being integral to
its sovereignty. Where words would fail, maps wouldnt, so heres a map
of the South China Sea.

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Im terribly sorry, but a little bit of Geography here might help. For us
tenth standard students, this concept is no doubt familiar, but to the
rest, maybe not. So heres the concept: Exclusive Economic Zones. They
are well-defined areas that are beyond the shores of a countrys
landmass, which can be used by the said country for its development (i.e.
extracting resources, building military bases, killing aquatic life,
whatever). These are part of the territory of the country. They cannot be
encroached upon by some other entity. Going back to the map, we can
see very clearly that the South China Sea isnt Chinese far from that,
actually. Most of the sea is closer to ASEAN nations, and the southeastAsian nations. Most of the sea is part of their Exclusive Economic Zones.
But heres the thing. China is being an international bully and claiming
the whole of the South China Sea. Whys it doing that? Whats been done
about it? And why is this even a big deal?

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3.2.2: The Why and the What

Why is the South China Sea important, you ask? Well, for starters, it is
believed that the area contains massive deposits of oil and gas,
which hold huge economic importance in a world already running out of
fuel (although thats debatable: oil overproduction is at an all-time high,
what with Iran joining the party and all). Im digressing; secondly, a
large and I mean HUGE significance in maritime trade. More than
one-third of the ships on the planet sail through this region.
And its no surprise its hotly contested.
Whos contesting for it? Well
There are many island chains and archipelagos in the region, but they
are all uninhabited and are partly or permanently submerged
underwater. However, they still remain a large cause for disputes
between the southeast-Asian nations. There are three archipelagos that
we are primarily concerned with:
a) The Spratly Islands
b) The Paracel Islands
c) The Pratas Islands
Lets cover them individually. The Spratly Islands
Condensed Info:
Who Claims It: China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), Vietnam, the
Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei
Who Operates it: Same. Its a massive archipelago, so each country
has a military presence, bar Brunei, which despite claiming the
islands to be a part of its Exclusive Economic Zone, is actually not
present on the ground. The Paracel Islands
Condensed Info:
Who Claims it: Vietnam, Taiwan, China
Who operates it: China. Its within their Exclusive Economic Zone
to a large extent. The Pratas Islands
Condensed info:
Who claims it: China, Taiwan
Who operates it: Taiwan. Its a national park with non-permanent
There have been constant skirmishes and measures of possible
escalation of the situation, but to a large extent, a crisis has been
avoided. The US, of course, does have a presence in the region, and is

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vying to counter the Chinese influence by actively supporting the

ASEAN countries.
I encourage you to delve further into the issue. This is to a large extent
irrelevant to any of the agendas, I think but its certainly worth
being aware of the situation so that you dont fumble when confronted
with it. As MUNs go, a totally out-of-the-topic agenda might be
proposed and even passed. So dont take any chances.

3.3: The Israel-Palestine Issue

3.3.1: The Context
Israel and Palestine have a very complex and venomous history with
each other. It is considered to be an age-old conflict, but that is a
misconception. The conflict began about a century ago before that, the
region that we today call Palestine was a land more-or-less peacefully
inhabited by Jews, Christians and Muslims. There was considerable
peace and coexistence back then.
Fast forward to the 1900s. This was a time when nationalism and the
idea of a nation was spreading all over the world. Two very distinct
identities were being formed around this time: the Israeli identity, and
the Palestinian identity. Israel did not exist at all as a country a century
ago; it was born in the minds of Zionists, i.e. Jewish thinkers who tended
to be radical, in Europe. Much of the Jewish population had migrated
out of the general area of Israel into Europe and elsewhere.
Unlike their ancient home, Europe saw a lot of persecution of Jews. They
were stereotyped, ostracised and even denied citizenship. Jews felt as if
they didnt belong in Europe. They spoke their own dialects of languages
in Europe not the European languages themselves. Yiddish, for
example, was spoken by Jews in Germany which was a mixture of
Hebrew and German.
Jews were in search of an identity: a state, a nation which they could call
home. They turned to religion for help. Israel, the Promised Land, was a
dedicated area given out to the Jews in Christian religious texts. Since
the original Jewish people hailed from the general area, migration began.

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Jews from Europe, from Asia (India too) started migrating to what we
today call Palestine. They called it aliyah. The holy migration.
At the same time, in the region, local Arabs (who were mostly Muslim)
also had caught hold of the idea of nationalism, and were developing the
idea of a Palestinian state. The Arab people who lived in the land of
The problem? Both these groups claimed the same land.
Now, in this time period, the region that is today Israel-Palestine was
part of the huge Ottoman Empire. It was part of the Central powers
during the First World War. As we know, the Central powers lost.
Ottoman Turkey, as a result, has to give away lots of its territories
including Israel-Palestine to the Allies i.e. Britain, France and Russia.
These powers, as discussed earlier, cared little about the vast diversity of
the Middle East and just haphazardly made borders.
Britain was given control of Israel-Palestine. At that time, Israel didnt
even exist it was called British Palestine. Influenced by the Zionist
movement in Britain, the British government agreed on allowing the
migration of Jews to the land of British Palestine. This happened in large
numbers. The Jews who migrated were primarily
engaged in farming.
There were slight tensions between the migrant
Jews and the already present Palestinians, but on
the whole, the picture was pretty much peaceful.
Then the Holocaust happened.
Over six million Jews were killed during this time.
Obviously, the international community felt
obliged to listen to the victims of one of the largest,
if not the largest genocide the planet has seen as
a result, the United Nations set up the state of
Israel for the Jews, as promised to them in
religious texts. They didnt give Israel Palestinian
land just as it was. Instead, they demarcated clear
borders between the Israeli nation and the
Palestinian state. Right: Land for Israel in blue;
Palestinian land in orange.

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(Jerusalem was to be an international territory under nobodys control.)

This didnt work. The map of Israel and Palestine is very different today.
Why was that?

3.3.2: Arab-Israeli Wars

The Arab states were fiercely jealous of Israel and denied its right to exist
as a nation-state. They thought it encroached on Arab sovereignty and
was yet another ploy by the colonialists to rob their land. So, expectedly,
almost immediately after the creation of Israel, the Arab states
neighbouring it Egypt, Syria, Jordan started a war with Israel.
However, Israel wasnt the conventional fledgling nation. Thanks to
some very good tactics employed by Zionist lobbyists in the west, Israel
had acquired much more advanced military technology and training than
its Arab neighbours. So, two years after the UN deal (Israel was
established in 1947), Israel had defeated its Arab neighbours and
acquired more territory.
Specifically: a) Golan Heights from Syria; b) West Bank from Jordan; c)
Sinai peninsula from Egypt. During the wars, more Jews migrated from
the nearby Arab states to Israel and more Arabs migrated from Israel to
the Arab states. Effectively, Israel cemented itself as a Jewish state.
There were many battles after that too. This
dramatically changed the map of Israel. The
new map looked something like the one on
the right.

Israel also did one more thing deemed illegal

by the international community: it started
creating settlements in the West Bank where
Israelis started living in Palestinian land.
These people were given incentives by the
Israeli govt. by introducing cheap housing,
etc. This made the Palestinians even
As of now, more than 5,00,000 Israelis

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live in the West Bank in settlements like the one on the right.
Then, the anger boiled over.

3.3.3: The Intifadas and the Split of Palestine

Intifada, (Arabic: )or revolution, was what happened when the
Palestinians decided that enough was enough. This was initially peaceful,
and then became violent. Israel fought back, with equal violence. This
resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of
Israelis. There was a militant organisation now, Hamas, based primarily
in Gaza in the south, bordering Egypt. This organisation was tired of
Israel and believed it shouldnt exist. It was secretly supported by Iran,
the staunch enemy of Israel.
A decade later, another Intifada happened. This one was even worse in
terms of the violence and casualties. Both of these culminated to even
worse relations between both the
states. The international
community tried hard to solve the
crisis. It failed, every single time.
(Look up Camp David.)
Now, Palestine is split in two: the
Gaza Strip (controlled by Hamas,
the supposed terrorist
organisation that radically hates
Israel) and the West bank (controlled by the Palestinian Authority,
largely moderate). The Gaza Strip is blockaded by Israel, with massive
unemployment, mismanagement, and poverty. This region is among the
most densely populated in the world, but it is still highly dependent on
the UN for aid.
The West Bank is comparatively
better, but it still has some amount
of problems one, the illegal
Israeli settlements, and two, a
large wall being built along its
border with Israel that will almost
surely hinder its economy. The

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Palestinian Authority officially represents Palestine in forums abroad,

including the UN.

Two State Solution

Creates Palestine as a country
May cause violence
Cant deal with Gaza
Does not compromise on Palestinian

One State Solution

Unifies Israel-Palestine
May not cause violence
Can deal with Gaza
Compromises on Palestinian identity;
also, Palestine is poor while Israel is
highly developed. This dichotomy
isnt sustainable.

3.3.4: The Possible Solutions

As of now, the international community has two polarising solutions.
They are the two-state and one-state solution. The two state solution
supports the creation of Palestine as an independent nation and is most
widely accepted as the way to go. It has however been consistently
rejected at the UN thanks to the US vetoing it. The other possible
solution, though controversial, but perhaps more effective, is the
creation of a single unified state: Israel-Palestine. Ive compared the
solutions above.
Heres a comparison. Palestine vs. Israel. The difference screams at you.

3.3.5: Links, Articles, and More

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4. A Handy Rule-Book:
For all the lazy people like me, it just doesnt help at MUN to be
complacent (your EB always finds out). But, in case you want a small
flip-through of just the rules, here it is:
1. MUN =Model UN.
2. DELEGATE: The person representing a country in a committee is called a
4. DRESS CODE is to be respected.
5. AGENDA: The agenda says what you need to research upon and talk upon. It
is the topic for your committee debate.
6. COMMITTEE: A hall with you and delegates of other countries of the same
7. EB/OC: Executive Board and Organising Committee. They run the entire
8. NOTE: The way of communication inside committee. All notes are read by
the OC/EB. The format for a note is: From: (country); To: (country) Message: ------------------.
9. ROLL CALL: Answer when your countrys name is called and say present
or present and voting. If you say voting, then you cannot abstain from
voting on substantial issues (Substantial issues basically means stuff not
relevant to your country directly. For example, NATO has barely anything to
do with India, making it a substantial issue for India). If you do not say
voting, then you can abstain from voting in issues that are substantial to
your nation.




Point of Personal

Personal Discomfort


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Point of Order

Point of Information

Factual Inaccuracy,


To question a
delegate after his/her


Point of Parliamentary To clarify doubts

regarding rules of


Motion to Move into a

Moderated Caucus

To propose a motion
for a moderated

Simple Majority (1/2

+1 the total number of

Motion to move into a

unmoderated caucus

To form working

Simple Majority (1/2

+1 the total number of

Motion to Resume

To continue session
after a break/day

Motion to Introduce
Draft Resolution

To debate on draft
resolution submitted

Simple Majority (1/2

+1 the total number of
Simple Majority (1/2
+1 the total number of
Simple Majority (1/2
+1 the total number of

Motion to reorder draft To change the order

of debating/voting on
draft resolutions
Motion to Close

To close session for

the conference

2/3rd Majority

11. GENERAL SPEAKERS LIST: GSL is where you put forward the countrys
stances on the issue. And you should always begin by saying With the prior
permission of the EB, the delegate of so-and-so-country would like to begin
their speech. Then you put forward the countrys stance on the agenda. If
you have time left after your speech, then you can yield time. You can yield
time to the Chair, who can ask you questions OR yield your time to
something called points of information. Then other delegates can question
you on the basis of your speech.
12. CAUCUSES: There are 2 types of caucuses: Moderated (shortened MOD) and
Unmoderated (shortened UNMOD).

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13. MOD: For the motion of a moderated caucus, you need to specify the time
limit, purpose and Speakers time. For example, The delegate of Germany
would like to motion for a moderated caucus for 20 min, with speakers time
of 1 min and for the purpose of discussing FGM in most Asian and European
countries. It is used to debate upon sub-topics of the agenda. Points of
Information and Order are entertained, as per the EBs wishes.
14. UNMOD: For the motion of an unmoderated caucus, you will need to say
only this-The delegate of so-and-so-country would like to motion for an
unmoderated caucus for a time limit of 30 min (no speakers time, as you
wont be speaking in an unmoderated caucus), for the purpose of creating a
draft resolution. It is used for informal discussion of certain topics or
creating working papers/draft resolutions
15. WORKING PAPER: Working papers are a rough idea of what your bloc
wants from the committee. It has a formatThe heading: It should have the committee name, the authors, the co-authors
and the agenda. Authors are the ones who brought out most of the solutions
and co-authors are the next in importance.
The solutions: They are to be submitted in points.
16. DRAFT RESOLUTION: It has a formatThe sponsors: Delegates who are strongly for all the parts of the draft
The signatories: Delegates who are ok with most of the resolution, but are
The committee: name of the committee
The agenda: the topic
The committee again: mention it again
The pre-ambulatory clauses: The issues that the paper talks of are covered in
it. The reasons why the issues are talked of and previous resolutions/ UN
issues/ international conventions brought up regarding it can also be
included. The first words of every clause should be an underlined preambulatory clause. Then, write your issue down. Also, end with a comma.
The operative clause: Specific solutions to the pre-ambulatory clauses should
be written here. The first words of every clause should be an operative clause.
Then, write your solution down. Also, end with a semi-colon.
17. AMENDMENTS: There are 3 types of amendments:
Friendly amendment: An amendment that all the sponsors agree on. After all the
sponsors sign and the chair agrees to it, it is made into a draft resolution.
Unfriendly amendment: An amendment to which all the sponsors do not agree.
It is introduced prior to voting on it and it requires a certain number of

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compulsory signatories. Delegates who were not part of the sponsors (like the
signatories) can also put forth their opinions in this case. Voting will be held and
a decision will be arrived upon.
E-mendments: Grammatical errors are changed in amendments.
Note: Pre-ambulatory clauses cant be amended.
18. RIGHT TO REPLY: A delegate whose national integrity has been impugned
by another delegate may submit a Right to Reply only in writing to the
Executive Board. The EB will grant the Right of Reply at his/her discretion. A
Right to Reply to a Right to Reply is out of order.
19. EMERGENCY CRISIS: Sometimes, an emergency crisis situation can be
brought into your committee. In that time, no chits/notes will be entertained.
You will keep getting regular information about the crisis at hand and you
have to react on it.
20. DIRECTIVES: A working paper on the emergency submitted individually by
the nations is called Directives.
21. JOINT STATEMENT: When two or more nations, come together and make a
statement, it is called joint statement. A copy of the statement needs to be
submitted to the EB.
22. PRESIENTIAL STATEMENT: The delegate can speak on behalf of their
President and convey messages using this statement. A copy of the statement
needs to be submitted to the EB.
23. 1 FOR 1 AGAINST: On any topic, two delegates can debate for an interval of
a specified time (min 3 mins, max 6 min) at an alternate of 30 seconds per
speaker. This can be extended to 2 for 2 against. Also, the delegates can
change on a rotational basis.
24. CHALLENGE: Basically, it is when delegates debate over any issue but the
number of participants on each side can be infinite (just that both sides should
be equal). The time limit remains the same.
25. QUESTION ANSWER SESSION: In case a particular delegate needs to be
questioned by many delegates, a maximum of 10 questions will be
entertained on a particular delegate in a QA session.
26. DOUBLE DELEGATION: Two delegates represent one country with one
vote. Hence, they share their speeches and ideologies.
27. Examples of pre-ambulatory clauses:
Alarmed by
Bearing in mind

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Deeply concerned
Deeply conscious
Deeply convinced
Deeply Disturbed
Deeply Regretting
Expressing its appreciation
Fully aware
Expressing its appreciation
Fully aware
Further deploring
Further recalling
Guided by
Having adopted
Having considered
Having examined
Having received
Keeping in mind
Noting with deep concern
Nothing with satisfaction
Noting further
Taking in concern
Taking note
Viewing with appreciation

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Operative clauses:
Calls upon
Declares accordingly
Draws the attention
Emphasizes Encourages
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its hope
Further invites
Draws the attention
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its hope
Further invites
Further proclaims
Further reminds Further recommends
Further requests
Further resolves
Has resolved

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Solemnly affirms
Strongly condemns
Takes note of