Latest in ISIL


Do We Care Less About Air Strikes When Pilots Are in the Cockpit? The Droneless Air War in Libya

Are you paying attention to Operation Odyssey Lightning, the U.S. air campaign underway for a full month now in Libya? Not many people are, which is interesting considering that we are approaching 100 airstrikes there in four weeks.


Unwilling or Unable

Belgian Airstrikes in Syria: More Support for the Unwilling/Unable Test?

Until now, Belgium's contribution to the air campaign against ISIS has been limited to strikes on targets in Iraq.  This constraint reflected, at least in part, a sense that the legal case for strikes in Iraq (from a UN Charter perspective) was clear (in light of the consent of the Iraqi government), whereas the legality of strikes in Syria (where the Assad regime did not consent) was murkier.  


ISIS Detainee Transferred from U.S. to Iraqi Custody

A quick update on a story we've been tracking this week, involving the second publicly-known instance of U.S.-administered military detention of an ISIS member. As noted here, a raid conducted by the Expeditionary Targeting Force last month netted an ISIS member involved with chemical weapons, and fruits from the U.S.-administered interrogation of that detainee appear to have informed some airstrikes on chem-related facilities this week.


U.S. Military Detention in Iraq: Just How Many ISIS Detainees So Far?

Just how many ISIS detainees have been in U.S. military custody over the past year? As I noted earlier this week, the first publicly-known instance arose last summer with the capture and detention of Umm Sayyaf, and the second publicly-known instance happened earlier this week as part of the initial wave of kill-or-capture ground operations conducted by what has been described as a new SOF Expeditionary Targeting Force.


The Expeditionary Targeting Force in Iraq: Putting the Short-Term Military Detention Model to the Test

It is commonly said that the Obama administration rejects the use of military detention, and understandably so. Many factors support that characterization, after all: no new detainees have been brought to Guantanamo under this administration; President Obama himself has depicted GTMO as inconsistent with our values and the rule of law (despite the fact that his Justice Department has been defending the legality of the GTMO detention model for seven years and counting); and in recent years we ended U.S.

Targeted Killing

Pentagon Confirms Death of ISIL's Leader in Libya in Already-Reported Strike, and Also a New Strike (against al Shabaab) in Somalia

In something of a coda to last night's presidential address, the Pentagon has just issued press release confirming that a previously-reported November airstrike conducted by the U.S.


Anonymous vs ISIS Online: Pondering the Intelligence Impact of Social Media Takedowns

In a video posted to Youtube a few days ago, the hacker collective Anonymous proclaimed it would go after ISIS in response to the Paris attacks, in a campaign labeled #OpParis (there's an official twitter feed here, with more than 37k followers at this point).


The Global War on ISIL and Its Associated Forces

For more than a decade we have had controversy and debate with respect to whether there is indeed an armed conflict between the United States and al Qaeda, whether any such conflict applies without geographic limitation, and whether any such conflict applies to related organizations under the rubric of "associated forces." Those questions have receded a bit over the past year, as the rise of ISIL has eclipsed al Qaeda on many levels.


The (Limited) Ground Combat Mission Spreads to Syria

[UPDATE: The Pentagon has released the transcript of a press briefing today, addressing the SOF deployment to Syria among other things. The DOD official explained that, for now, these operators will not accompany the units they assist when those units go into the field, in contrast to current policy for at least some circumstances in Iraq.

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