(Editors’ Note: This is the latest in Just Security’s weekly series keeping readers up to date on developments at the United Nations at the intersection of national security, human rights, and the rule of law.)

Iraq Files Complaint Against Iran at Security Council

On Wednesday, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry announced that it had filed a complaint against Iran at the U.N. Security Council alleging “aggression.” This complaint comes in reaction to Iran’s missile attacks against what it called an Israeli “spy headquarters” in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with the Prime Minister of Iraq’s Kurdish region on Tuesday, strongly condemning Iran’s reckless ballistic missile attacks and reaffirming U.S. support for Kurdistan, according to a White House summary.

Note: Readers may be interested in our Iran coverage.

U.N. Announces First Phase of Peacekeeper Withdrawal from Eastern Congo

On Saturday, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) announced that approximately 2,000 U.N. troops will leave the region by the end of April in the first phase of MONUSCO’s planned withdrawal from the country.

MONUSCO currently stands at 13,500 troops and took over from an earlier U.N. operation in 2010 to help maintain security in a region where armed groups are fighting over territory and resources. The U.N. force has faced criticism for its alleged failure to protect civilians from militia violence and was the target of deadly protests.

After a September request by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi to speed up the withdrawal, the Security Council approved the end of the mission in December.

Note: Readers may be interested in our Democratic Republic of the Congo coverage.

U.N. Chief Warns of “Existential Threats” Posed by Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change

In his Wednesday speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called on world leaders to address the risks posed by artificial intelligence and climate change. 

Noting artificial intelligence’s “enormous potential for sustainable development,” Guterres reminded his audience that the International Monetary Fund has warned that artificial intelligence could exacerbate global economic inequality. He also condemned large technology companies for “pursuing profit with a clear disregard for human rights, personal privacy, and social impact.” Last October, the U.N. created an advisory body composed of tech company executives, government officials, and academics to address issues in the governance of artificial intelligence.

On climate change, Guterres noted the prevalence of climate-induced natural disasters and his experience seeing firsthand the effects of climate change during his travels. He condemned the U.S. fossil fuel industry for continuing to spend large sums of money to resist efforts to combat climate change and reiterated that phasing out fossil fuels is “essential and inevitable.” At COP28, the U.N.’s annual climate conference which concluded last month in the United Arab Emirates, nations agreed to begin transitioning away from fossil fuels but fell short of calling for a full phase out. 

Note: Readers may be interested in our broader United Nations coverage.

IMAGE: The United Nations Headquarters, in New York city, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)