Paris attacks

Latest in Paris attacks

Immigration

A Primer on Refugee Law

Typically, this blog does not focus on immigration law. That seems to me appropriate. After all, most immigration questions are, while matters of profound importance to Americans, not really questions of national security. To be sure, the immigration function resides within DHS because Congress thought that security concerns needed to be paramount, but any fair assessment of the immigration law begins with the reality that the vast majority of immigration decisions are related to economics and politics and that by and large national security plays a background role in the discussion.

Syria

Who Are those Syrian Refugees Really?

By land, by sea and, occasionally, by air, they come carrying with them all what they have left in this bedlam world, which is often nothing more than the clothes on their back. They come seeking shelter and the promise of a better future for themselves, their children and their siblings. Many of them have probably lost a family member or more, many more, to Syria's five-year old conflict, and they have seen many horrors on their way. They arrive weary, injured and in some ways even broken and in need of healing, in need of compassion.

International Governance

Threading the Needle in Security Council Resolution 2249

On November 20, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2249, condemning ISIS’s recent attacks and exhorting all states to prevent and suppress the group’s terrorist activities. The Resolution is in some ways a predictable response to recent developments, but it contains one interesting provision that is worth parsing from an international law perspective.

Operative Paragraph 5 (OP5) reads as follows:

Paris attacks

France's Extended State of Emergency: What New Powers Did the Government Get?

Yesterday, French President François Hollande signed into law a bill that extends the state of emergency for three months and expands the government’s already broad police powers. Passed in haste, the law avoided a preliminary constitutional review. Meanwhile, the government has urged other far-reaching legal and policy changes to enhance counterterrorism.

Foreign Policy Essay

We Were Wrong About ISIS

Editor’s Note: For over a decade, the Islamic State and its predecessors focused almost exclusively on Iraq, Syria, and their neighbors. The downing of the Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula and especially the recent killing spree in Paris suggest that the Islamic State is now going global. Jennifer Williams, long my Lawfare colleague and now at Vox, explains why I and other terrorism experts may have missed this change.

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Paris attacks

The Limits of The Panopticon

The modern world is a virtual panopticon, a surveillance state which records huge quantities of data about our every action and provides an easily retrievable metadata record of our movements, our contacts, our purchases, and our activities. This panopticon has two potential functions: prospective and retrospective. The prospective function is to stop the bad guys before they do the bad thing. The retrospective function allows intelligence and law enforcement authorities to comb through data following an event and piece together what happened.

Islamic State

Russia and ISIS and International Law

Russia now says that it believes that ISIS was behind the crash of a commercial Russian aircraft, Metrojet 9268, over the Sinai desert on October 31 which killed the 224 people on board. Like the Paris attacks, the Metrojet bombing targeted civilian lives. And in the Russian case, those lives included 25 children. Russia has vowed to find and punish the terrorists responsible.

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