On Friday, the British House of Commons overwhelmingly voted (524-43) to approve the U.K.’s participation in airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq. The success of the vote was largely predicted after Prime Minister David Cameron reached an agreement with Opposition Leader Ed Miliband on the motion, but the nearly seven-hour debate (full text) contained notes of skepticism and caution.… continue »
International and Foreign
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, adopted on September 24 after a debate involving dozens of world leaders, including United States President Barack Obama, is legally and strategically significant, reflecting the magnitude of the danger posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).… continue »
On Wednesday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls addressed the Assemblée Nationale regarding France’s actions against ISIL (“Daech” in French). Valls called ISIL a “double lie”– because “there’s nothing of a state, about it, and it in no way represents Islam”—and a “triple threat: to Iraq, to the world and to France.” Valls made several key points in his speech:
1.… continue »
Significant public discussion has focused on whether airstrikes against ISIL in Syria violate the international legal prohibition on the use of force. Remarkably what has largely escaped attention is that the very same question applies to the ongoing arming and training of the Syrian rebels.… continue »
Fallout from European action during the “War on Terror” is ongoing in national and regional courts. The European Court of Human Rights has taken up a number of cases related to secret detention, with decisions rendered against Poland and Macedonia. In December 2012, in the case of El-Masri v.… continue »
Full Text: House of Commons Motion on ISIS for Debate Tomorrow and Accompanying Summary of the Legal Position
The following motion, for the House of Commons debate tomorrow, was agreed at today’s Cabinet meeting.
That this House:
Condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi and the humanitarian crisis this is causing;
Recognizes the clear threat ISIL pose to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the request from the Government of Iraq for military support from the international community and the specific request to the UK Government for such support;
Further recognizes the threat ISIL poses to wider international security and the UK directly through its sponsorship of terrorist attacks and its murder of a British hostage;
Acknowledges the broad coalition contributing to military support of the Government of Iraq, including countries throughout the Middle East;
Further acknowledges the request of the Government of Iraq for international support to defend itself against the threat ISIL poses to Iraq and its citizens, and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq;
Notes that this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign, and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament;
Accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with allies, in supporting the Government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity, including the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces’ efforts against ISIL in Iraq;
Notes that Her Majesty’s Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations;
Offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s armed forces.
Yesterday, I posted four preliminary observations about the campaign against ISIL. My fourth observation emphasized the point that the United States-led efforts against ISIL must recognize that the extremist group represents both a terrorist threat to the U.S., and an insurgency that threatens the stability of the Middle East.… continue »
On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) expert panel on the use of armed drones and international law, expressed clear consensus around the need for greater transparency and accountability, and that what is most required is respect and implementation of existing law around the use of such weapons.… continue »
Among the world’s many trouble spots, Yemen has been experiencing political turmoil, which carries significant implications for the people of Yemen and for US national security interests. To help us think critically about this fast developing situation, I asked leading Yemen analyst Adam Baron the following set of questions:
The AP recently noted that, while Yemen has been no stranger to turmoil, it “had largely been spared Shiite-Sunni hatreds like those that tore apart Syria and Iraq” – and that this may be changing given current events.
In his speech before the United Nations on Wednesday, President Obama stated that “over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition” to dismantle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). That number includes countries that have committed military and nonmilitary assistance, and it includes those states that have been directly engaged in military operations inside Iraq or Syria.… continue »