On Tuesday, U.S. forces shot down an armed Iranian drone in southern Syria, a few days after a similarly justified strike on a Syrian aircraft that dropped a bomb near a U.S. training outpost. Combined with the U.S. decision to ramp up support to Syrian Kurds seeking to retake Raqqa, these actions could be interpreted as initial steps on the road to war with Syria.
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Emory University School of Law's Laurie R. Blank (who heads Emory's International Humanitarian Law Clinic) is a leading and prolific scholar and practitioner in the field of the law of armed conflict (and occasional Lawfare contributor).
The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law (edited by the highly distinguished Cambridge University international law scholar Marc Weller) labors under two handicaps before ever reaching the book's content.
Charlie Savage’s piece on the legal basis for the March 5 U.S. strike against an al Shabaab training camp, which allegedly killed 150 fighters, raises the intriguing question of whether the AUMF has been stretched yet again, this time to justify U.S. operations against al Shabaab as a whole.
Within the U.S. military, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has issued an instruction (CJCSI 3121.01B) regarding “Standing Rules of Engagement”. The focus of this instruction is contained in the following paragraph titled “Inherent Right of Self-Defense.”