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Category Archives: Biological and Chemical Weapons

Commentary on Bond

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Curt Bradley’s thoughts are at AJIL Unbound, the Volokh Conspiracy has commentary by Nick Rosenkranz and Ilya Somin, and Jean Galbraith and Peter Spiro weigh in at Opinio Juris.

On the Transfer of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

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Friday, November 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In an excellent Lawfare post last month, Does the U.N.’s Syria Resolution Violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?  Faiza Patel asserts that if Syria sent chemical weapons to another country, Syria would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).  The conclusion stems from her reasonable, though (to my eye) exceedingly literal reading of the CWC—which bans the . . .
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Text of Draft Syrian Resolution

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Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:33 AM

The NYT has the text of the draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria.  The most important paragraph is the penultimate one, which states that the Security Council “[d]ecides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab . . .
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Shane Harris on Nathan Myhrvold’s Paper

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Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:48 AM

Over at Foreign Policy, Shane Harris has a story about Nathan Myhrvold’s Lawfare Research Paper Series paper: “Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action.” Along the way, it also contains some nice words about Lawfare. It opens: Add to Nathan Myhrvold’s already eclectic résumé—which includes ex-chief technology officer of Microsoft, co-founder of one of the world’s largest patent-holding firms, and author of . . .
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White House Counsel’s Legal Justification for Syria Intervention

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Monday, September 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Julian Ku is right to poke fun at the administration for conveying its vague and conclusory legal rationale for intervening in Syria through the reporting of the NYT’s Charlie Savage.  But vague and conclusory guidance via the NYT is better than no guidance at all. On the international law rationale for intervention, Savage says: Kathryn . . .
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Manchin/Heitcamp Syria Proposal and the Vienna Convention on Treaties

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Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Senators Manchin and Heitcamp are working on an alternative Syria Resolution that tentatively provides: The failure by the government of Bashar al-Assad to sign and comply with the [Chemical Weapons] Convention clearly demonstrates a disregard of international norms on the use of chemical weapons. If the Government of Syria does not sign the Convention within . . .
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Dehn on Syria and Humanitarian Intervention

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Friday, September 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

John Dehn, a professor at  Loyola University Chicago School of Law and  a Senior Fellow in West Point’s Center for the Rule of Law, writes in with this comment about Syria and humanitarian intervention: Much of the discussion surrounding potential U.S. attacks against the Assad regime seems to assume that the administration is advancing some form . . .
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More on the UN Charter, Syria, and “Illegal but Legitimate”

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Earlier today I said that President Obama’s dismissal of a Security Council authorization as a prerequisite for intervention in Syria “marks the death knell for the long-held USG view that humanitarian intervention without Security Council approval violates the U.N. Charter.”  Marty Lederman responded that the President’s position is, to the contrary, that “because the UNSC . . .
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The Potential Relevance of OLC’s Kosovo-War Powers Resolution Opinion to the Syria Debate

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Monday, September 2, 2013 at 9:33 AM

As Congress moves to debate authorization for the use of force in Syria, and especially since there is some question about whether DOD has adequate funding for a strike in Syria, Congress may want to ponder the votes it took in the not-unrelated context of Kosovo fourteen years ago.  (The original purposes of the Kosovo . . .
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Worth Reading On Syria

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Monday, September 2, 2013 at 6:12 AM

A few items that are in my opinion worth a read: Opinio Juris is having an insta-symposium on Syria.  I recommend in particular Marty Lederman’s two posts on the relevance of the U.N. Charter to the coming authorization debate in Congress.  (Largely overlooked in the President’s speech on Saturday was his back-of-the hand dismissal of . . .
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Congratulations President Obama

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Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 3:19 PM

I have been hard on the President – on this blog last week, and today in the NYT – for what just about everyone (except Philip Bobbitt) thought was going to be his strike in Syria without congressional authorization.  I was thus surprised, but very happily surprised, when the President announced this afternoon that he . . .
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Restoring the Smeared Red Line

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Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 2:39 PM

President Obama has just declared his decision to launch military strikes against Syria, after seeking approval for Congress, in order to hold the Syrian government accountable for its recent chemical weapon atrocities.  The Obama administration and many advocates of military strikes against Syria – including some members of Congress, many security experts, the French President . . .
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Philip Bobbitt on Syria

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Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 5:11 AM

Philip Bobbitt has an interesting piece from yesterday that compares the different British and American outlooks on confrontation with Syria, and recommends a course of action in Washington.  He notes that the Brits conceptualized Syria primarily in humanitarian intervention terms, while the Americans are more focused on credibility and red lines, and he sketches the . . .
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Two Thoughts On Syria, Kosovo and Presidential Power

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Jack’s and Ashley’s analyses have covered the waterfront, so far as concerns the Kosovo precedent’s meaning (legal, moral and so forth) for a possible Syria intervention.  Their remarks raised in my mind two further thoughts about the President’s ability to intervene in Syria without prior congressional approval. The first has to do with the United . . .
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Syria, Chemical Weapons, and Possible U.S. Military Action

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Monday, December 10, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Over the weekend, the United Kingdom joined the United States in warning publicly about Syria’s intentions regarding its chemical weapons. Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that the U.K. was concerned both about recent evidence that the regime could use chemical weapons against Syrian rebels or citizens, and about the possibility that these weapons could . . .
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National Security Law in the News: A Guide for Journalists, Scholars and Policymakers

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Monday, November 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

In the category of shameless self-promotion, I am quite pleased to announce the publication of National Security Law in the News: A Guide for Journalists, Scholars, and Policymakers. The book is a joint publication of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security and the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.  I edited the . . .
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Stuxnet Infected Chevron [Updated]

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Monday, November 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Stuxnet, the virus that targeted Iran’s uranium enrichment program and that is generally thought to have been created jointly by the United States and Israel, also infected the computer systems of energy giant Chevron. Although it breached Chevron’s security systems, the virus apparently did not cause any damage. Chevron . . .
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Philip Bobbitt on the Individual Mandate and . . . Bioterrorism

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Columbia legal scholar Philip Bobbitt just sent in this fascinating article on the constitutionality of the individual mandate as justified by biosecurity. If that sounds like a bit of a non-sequitur, well, take a look at the piece. Written in the form of an amicus brief–and, just to be clear, it isn’t a real amicus brief–it . . .
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Biosecurity License Plate

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Friday, March 9, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Those who liked Lawfare graffiti (here and here) or my license plate (here and here) might find amusing this picture, taken on my street:

Full Research Details on Highly Contagious Avian Influenza To Be Released

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Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

The New York Times is reporting that a group of flu and public health experts at a WHO-convened meeting in Geneva have decided that the full research details will be released regarding the highly contagious and deadly avian influenza developed by researchers last year (My earlier coverage of the story is available here): Most of the group . . .
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