Latest in Jus ad Bellum/UN Charter/Sovereignty

Jus ad Bellum/UN Charter/Sovereignty

Strikes in Syria: The International Law Framework

[Cross-posted at Just Security]

As is now well-known, the United States last night hit approximately 25 targets inside Syria, some of which were directed at ISIL, and some at a group that has only recently been brought to the public’s attention – the Khorasan Group, which is 


Narrowing Down the U.S. International Legal Theory for ISIS Strikes in Syria

In late August, I suggested several possible theories the Administration might invoke to argue that the use of force against ISIS in Syria is consistent with international law. In the wake of President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night and supplemental Administration statements, do we know anything more about which theory or theories the Administration has picked?

We might, even though the President did not say anything directly about the issue.

International Law

U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria? Possible International Legal Theories

In the wake of Thursday’s statements by Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey and Friday’s comments by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, it sounds like the U.S. Government is at least considering whether to conduct air strikes against ISIS in Syria. A decision to do so clearly is not a done deal.

Targeted Killing

Report of the Stimson Center Task Force on Drone Policy

The Stimson Center released today the report of its Task Force on US Drone Policy. The ten-member task force, of which I was a member, was chaired by General John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks. The report makes eight recommendations for overhauling US drone strategy; improving oversight, accountability, transparency and clarifying the international legal framework applicable to lethal drones; and improving export controls for drone technology.

International Law

A Call for Article 51 Letters

In past week, Kenya has conducted air strikes in Somalia against al Shabaab. Israel has undertaken airstrikes in Syria against Syrian military targets in response to a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager.  And the Syrian air force reportedly has carried out air strikes in western Iraq against ISIS.  Each of these actions seems to have been taken in reliance on a theory of self-defense, and at least the first two strikes took place without the consent of the host state.  (It is not clear whether Iraq consented to Syrian air strikes against ISIS.)  But in none of these cases
International Law: LOAC

Readings: Can Non-State Actors Mount an Armed Attack? by Kimberly N. Trapp

Among the issues separating the American understanding of international law regarding transnational non-state actor armed groups from that of the "international community" (or at least an influential and significant part of UN officialdom, international law academics, international tribunals, international human rights NGOs, and governments particularly in Europe) is whether it is even possible for a non-state actor to mount an "armed attack" against a state, within the meaning of the UN Charter.

International Law

Targeting Non-Al Qaeda Members in Yemen (?): The Role of Consent

The other day both Bobby here and Ryan Goodman at Just Security here picked up on news reports that DOD may be willing to provide additional military cooperation (including logistics and direct fire capabilities) to the Yemeni government.

Ryan then takes the opportunity to ask: what type of force is the U.S. government undertaking in Yemen already?

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