Aaron Zelin brought us the latest edition of the Jihadology Podcast, which features Aymenn al-Tamini in a discussion of the Islamic State’s finances and economic situation. Specifically, the two shed light on ISIS funding before 2013, the differences between ISIS and al Qaeda funding, some of the lesser known sources of revenue, and other related topics.
Speaking of funding, Jack told us that “Congress is about to vote on an AUMF against ISIL, quietly and without debate.” He pointed to the omnibus bill that contains the fiscal year 2016 defense appropriations bill and noted that the bill appropriates funds for the fight against the Islamic State. He argued that “from the Executive branch perspective, and probably objectively, Congress is about to vote on an authorization of force against ISIL for at least the duration of this funding.”
Ben posted the “Carpet Bombs and Chicken Hawks” edition of Rational Security, which features a discussion of ISIS, the Republican candidates’ proposed strategies to fight the group, the recently announced Saudi coalition of Muslim countries, Star Wars, and a thank you to DC interns. In this edition, the Rational Security crew is joined by guest Will McCants while Ben is away.
I provided a roundup of the relevant quotes from the 5th Republican presidential primary debate, organized by topic. The debate featured candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a discussion on national security.
Paul Rosenzweig noted that the idea that the Visa Waiver Program is “inherently a security risk” is “nonsense.” He shared remarks on the program from Marc Frey, a former director of the VWP program at the Department of Homeland Security.
Colin Geraghty considered France's misguided response to the Paris attacks as French leaders seek to develop a brand of "French Islam," which "explicitly acknowledges French secular values." He concludes that Western governments need to steer counterterrorism policies away from debates over values and instead towards the prevention of extremist beliefs translating into acts of violence.
Cody shared a statement from the 9/11 Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins at the end of last week’s pre-trial hearings. Ben summarized the afternoon proceedings from the December 9th hearings, which discussed the issue of whether or not Judge Pohl’s order to ban female guards from physical contact with the detainees impacted operational readiness. In her first post for Lawfare, Julissa Milligan discussed the proceedings from the December 10th morning session, in which the current commander discussed the role of female guards.
After attending a briefing on the Israel Defense Forces’ targeting practices during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Ben shared a few thoughts on Israeli targeting procedures and the concept of proportionality. Yesterday, he posted an update with some additional information about how Israel counts civilian casualties and a response to his post from LOAC scholar Chris Jenks.
Paul Rosenzweig walked us through the key provisions of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. He suggested that privacy would both win and lose and that industry would win big. He later pointed to provisions in the omnibus that may be “read as a rebuke to the SEC.”
Cody posted the 150th Lawfare Podcast, which features the Economist’s Edward Lucas during his appearance at the third Hoover Book Soiree. Lucas discusses his latest book in a conversation with Ben on the “rapid increase in cybercrime, the difficulties of identity verification on the web, and why, even today, we still do not take cybersecurity seriously enough.”
Stewart Baker shared 93rd episode of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, which features an interview with “cybersecurity’s Renaissance Man,” Rod Beckstrom. He also suggested that “encryption has become the Donald Trump of tech issues.” Listen to the podcast to discover just what that means.
Bobby pointed us to the debate between Charlie Savage of the New York Times and Steve Griffin of Tulane over whether presidential administrations have actually denied the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution.
Paul Rosenzweig shared the third report of his working group “chartered to design a series of accountability measures that would replace US oversight of ICANN with an internal system of checks and balances.” In the report, the working group concludes that “on both procedural and substantive grounds the current transition proposal should be rejected.”
Cody highlighted Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks on encryption, which phrase the issue as a problem to be solved. The former Secretary of State and presidential candidate outlined her national security plan against the Islamic State in a speech at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Arun Mohan Sukumar shed light on India’s ongoing debates about going dark and how the Wassenaar Arrangement may push India to break encryption. He suggested that India's regulation of encryption is important because of India's position as one of the fastest growing digital economies in the world. It could thus provide a template for other growing economies; indeed, Indian encryption policies could "re-orient the locus of the emerging cyber-order."
Sarah Freuden and Alex Zerden examined corporate liability and the Alien Tort Statute following a ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Jesner v. Arab Bank. In this ruling, the court considered whether the statute applied to corporations and decided that corporations may not be sued under the statute in the Second Circuit—at least for the moment.
In the latest edition of Hot Commodities, Ellen Scholl wrote about the recent climate agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions reached in Paris. She also considered the smog crisis gripping China, OPEC’s decision against production cuts, the fate of the largest gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, and the diminishing prospects of Turkish Stream.
Julian Ku argued that China’s harassment of civilian ships and aircraft in the South China Sea is a dramatic reminder of why we need more U.S. freedom of navigation operations in the region. While more U.S. naval operations might not resolve the ongoing disputes, Ku suggested that the region would be worse off without them.
Finally, Ben reminds us of why we should donate to Lawfare this holiday season! There's still time to enter to win the "Handmaiden of Power" Starter Pack!
And that was the week that was.