States and other stakeholders can use Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter to bar not just uses of force in cyberspace but also threats of such force by equal measure.
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[Update: Several people reached out after I posted last night, drawing attention to the fact that al-Mourabitoun (also spelled al Murabitun) apparently reunited with AQIM after its initial separation from the group. On the other hand, others reached out to point to indications that the particular leader at the center of the current storm—al Sahraoui—may still lead a splinter faction that resisted/resists the return to the AQIM fold.
Many of us think about international agreements as inherently public documents, but states commonly employ secret agreements as diplomatic tools. Russia and the United States concluded such an agreement in July to bar Iranian-backed foreign fighters from certain areas in Syria.
Editor's Note: This post also appears on Just Security.
The U.K. House of Commons Library has released a briefing paper on the "Legal basis for UK military action in Syria." The paper includes a full discussion of the implications of UN Security Council Resolution 2249, and cites to commentary from Lawfare's own Ashley Deeks.
You can read the full report here:
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:
Recent reports that Russia is using its military might to assist Syrian forces in defeating rebel groups trained by the United States have prompted concerns about the effectiveness of the United States’ strategy in Syria. Attacks by Russian forces also create risk of direct conflict with United States and other nations who are assisting Iraq and Turkey in defeating ISIS. But there is an additional risk to the international strategy to defend Syria’s neighbors from ISIS attacks.