Can DISEC Translate Their Vague Ideas into Concrete Proposals?

Dasha ZVEREVA & Yucheng GU

In the first session of DISEC, delegates first chose an agenda. They decided to discuss the second topic – Preventing Terrorists from Building Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), as it is a burning issue in the contemporary world. Then the debates focused on the topics of training of security forces; sharing information; improving securing devices; and illegal trade of components used for IEDs.

During moderated caucuses, delegates divided into two teams. Some mysterious force saw the delegations of Angola, Ghana, Mali, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America form into one bloc. The other bloc consisted of Afghanistan, China, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Morocco and Syria. Although differentiating in some areas, both groups have similar vision in fields of, for example, further training for the security forces and information sharing platform about the experience with IED disposal and deploying technologies.

Outside of those two groups, a quartet in the back of the room was more than happy with their silent debate. They didn’t submit any working paper while the other groups proposed two papers. Curiosity caused the authors to look up and search for the quartet in the hope of catching some thoughts from their discussion, however they were nowhere to be found in the conference room anymore. Could it be that the silence had consumed them?

Nearing the end of first day, there was already the idea in the air that there will be only one working paper, which would combine both groups’ proposals. To combat IEDs, DISEC came to the agreement of measures such as: “general information sharing”; “training sharing”; “scientific research”; and “educating the public”. Although, these ideas are great, it seems to the authors that these proposals are still far away from being practically implemented.

Lack of factual data as a solid foundation renders the arguments rather shallow, but just, as the Honorable Chairs (George Mullens and Alfie Jenkins) pointed out, during a short interview at the end of the first day: involvement is the most important part of a MUN conference and how the delegates managed to find a “balanced cooperative disagreement” is very much agreeable.

The authors are eager to know if DISEC can translate their ideas into more specific and factual proposals in the next committee sessions tomorrow. Since the delegates are working with considerably high speed, the hope of touching on the second topic is on the horizon.

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The Urgent Threat of Improvised Explosive Devices

By Dasha ZVEREVA

The organization, Action On Armed Violence, has now recorded 135,255 deaths and injuries as a result of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) between October 2010 – June 2017, outweighing the harm from all other explosive weapon types. Over 81% of all of these were civilians deaths or injuries (109,745 deaths and injuries in total). Year after year, civilians have consistently borne the burden of IED harm.

In January 2018, in London, nine people were injured when a device partially exploded on an underground subway (?) at Parsons Green station. On 23rd of February, at least three people, including a senior official of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), sustained injuries when an IED bomb exploded in Peshawar. On 31th of March, the Department of Defense identified the American soldier killed after an IED detonated in Syria on Friday. Two explosions rocked Koronadal City in South Cotabato on Sunday April 29. On 25th of May, up to 15 people were injured, three critically, after a bomb was detonated in an Indian restaurant in Ontario, Canada. On 6th of June, five police officers were killed in eastern Kenya when their vehicle hit an IED.

Thus, as the world suffered every month in 2018 from IEDs, all Member States should work towards measures to prevent the proliferation of these weapons.

Russian Contractors in Syrian War: their Role and Consequences

By Dasha ZVEREVA

Officially, Russia is participating only in an air war over Syria. However, in 2016, Reuters published a report that contained evidence that Russian forces were playing a more substantial role in ground combat by employing contractors recruited through private agencies. Two major Russian private military companies taking part in the Syrian Civil War are the Slavonic Corps and the Wagner Group.

In 2013, the Slavonic Corps were first transferred to a Syrian army base in Latakia. Their goal was to guard the oil fields of Deir ez-Zor. In October, the column received orders to reinforce Syrian army forces in Al-Sukhnah. Three hours into its journey, the column came under attack. Six Slavonic Corps members were wounded.

The presence of another private military company, the Wagner Group, in Syria was first reported in 2015. Wagner PMCs were involved in both Palmyra offensives, the Syrian Army’s campaign in central Syria in 2017, and the Battle of Deir ez-Zor in late 2017. They were in the role of frontline advisors, fire and movement coordinators, and forward air controllers. In February, in the battle near Khasham. United States of America aircraft conducted air-strikes against Syrian troops. The data about numbers of Russian contractors had been killed varies from several deaths to over 200.

As we can see, Private Military Companies’ (PMC) have played an essential role in the Syrian wars: they take part in the most dangerous battles, have a lot of human losses and had an influence on the results of battles. As their impact is so extensive, the theme of PMCs’ legalization has risen in political discussions in Russia again.