Commentary on State Department Legal Adviser Brian Egan's speech has largely overlooked what Egan said, both explicitly and by omission, about the contours of the “unwilling or unable” test.
Doug Cantwell is an International Law Fellow at the American Society of International Law (ASIL). He is currently on reserve status as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, M.A. from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and B.A. from Stanford University. The views expressed here are his personal views and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Navy, or any other department or agency of the United States Government. The analysis presented here stems from his academic research of publicly available sources, not from protected operational information. Any views expressed are those of the author and not those of the American Society of International Law.
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ETF operations across the Iraq-Syria border reignite questions about the legality of U.S. intervention in Syria under international law, and the US misses an opportunity to shape norms on the use of force against non-state actors by failing to offer a detailed international law argument.