The Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year, continues to present new challenges for U.S. policymakers. Following a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, and subsequent U.S. defensive strikes against Syrian military infrastructure and pro-regime forces, several Members of Congress have called on the President to consult with Congress about Syria strategy. Some Members have questioned the President's authority to launch strikes against Syria in the absence of specific prior authorization from Congress. In the past, some in Congress have expressed concern about the international and domestic authorizations for such strikes, their potential unintended consequences, and the possibility of undesirable or unavoidable escalation. Since taking office in January 2017, President Trump has stated his intention to "destroy" the Syria- and Iraq-based insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da'esh), and the President has ordered actions to "accelerate" U.S. military efforts against the group in both countries. In late March, senior U.S. officials signaled that the United States would prioritize the fight against the Islamic State and said that Syrian President Bashar al Asad's future would be determined by the Syrian people. Senior members of the Trump Administration have spoken critically of Asad's leadership but call for de-escalation of the underlying conflict and a negotiated settlement, rather than seeking to compel Asad's departure from power.
Syria is now mired in an armed conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al Asad and rebel fighters opposed to his rule. Since major unrest began in March 2011, various reports suggest that between 22,000 and 25,000 Syrians have been killed. U.S. officials and many analysts believe that President Bashar al Asad, his family members, and his other supporters will ultimately be forced from power, but few offer specific, credible timetables for a resolution to Syria's ongoing crisis.
Fundamental Principles and Contemporary Challenges in the Law of War
Author: Laurie R. Blank
Publisher: Aspen Publishers
Experienced authors with over 45 years combined teaching and working in the field use fundamental principles and sources to instruct and guide discussion about the application of the law of armed conflict to contemporary and future questions. Students can gain a solid foundation in the law and develop the tools they need to analyze complex legal problems. International Law and Armed Conflict shows how the law informs operational and policy decision-making. Placing the law of armed conflict in context with related fields, such as human rights law and national security law, the text provides a complete framework for understanding legal paradigms during and after conflict. Innovative materials allow flexibility across a range of class scenarios, from a stand-alone course to part of a broader survey class. New to the Second Edition: New technologies and the law of armed conflict, including cyber, unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous weapons systems The conflict in Syria, including ISIS, genocide and chemical weapons attacks Humanitarian assistance and the challenges of protecting the civilian population in urban conflicts Contemporary debates regarding detention in non-international armed conflict, human rights law, and targeted killing Professors and students will benefit from: Experienced authors with over 45 years combined teaching and working in the law of armed conflict field in the military, at think tanks, and in academia Use of the fundamental principles and sources of the law to inform discussions and questions about contemporary and future questions An approach that gives students a solid foundation in the law and the analytical tools they need to analyze complex legal situations and problems and to understand how the law informs and impacts operational and policy decision-making Context that ties together the law of armed conflict with other related fields, such as human rights law and national security law, to provide a complete framework for understanding the legal paradigm applicable during and after conflict Teaching materials include: Substantive and innovative tools and materials to teach this topic as a stand-alone class or as part of a broader class on a range of related topics A Teacher’s manual with additional sources, discussion points, and key background information, all designed for maximum use and flexibility in a range of class scenarios
Emerging technologies have always played an important role in armed conflict. From the crossbow to cyber capabilities, technology that could be weaponized to create an advantage over an adversary has inevitably found its way into military arsenals for use in armed conflict. The weaponization of emerging technologies, however, raises challenging legal issues with respect to the law of armed conflict. As States continue to develop and exploit new technologies, how will the law of armed conflict address the use of these technologies on the battlefield? Is existing law sufficient to regulate new technologies, such as cyber capabilities, autonomous weapons systems, and artificial intelligence? Have emerging technologies fundamentally altered the way we should understand concepts such as law-of-war precautions and the principle of distinction? How can we ensure compliance and accountability in light of technological advancement? This volume of the Lieber Studies explores these critical questions while highlighting the legal challenges--and opportunities--presented by the use of emerging technologies on the battlefield.
Publisher: King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS)
Category: Political Science
Recently, the armed conflict in Syria has witnessed an increasing political, military, and operational role of two of the conflict’s major stakeholders: Turkey and the United States. The implications of Washington’s and Ankara’s evolving foreign and security policies vis-à-vis Syria showcase how the connotation of foreign interference has become a synonym for the intractable reality on the ground, making inclusive, tangible diplomatic compromise a daunting task. Accordingly, the paper will first outline the growing role of Turkey’s political and military engagement and its ambivalent effect on the international level as well as on a number of local actors such as SDF/YPG, NLF, HTS, and ISIS. And second, the paper will describe the two major and inconsistent reworkings and shifts of US policy on Syria in 2018 and the possible immediate and medium-term implications for other non-state and state stakeholders with significant leverage in the conflict, including Russia, Iran, the Syrian Kurds, Turkey, and Israel.
Case-Studies of Syria, Libya, Mali, the Invasion of Iraq, and the Buddhas of Bamiyan
Author: Marina Lostal
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This book fills gaps in the exploration of the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict based on the World Heritage Convention. Marina Lostal offers a new perspective, designating a specific protection regime to world cultural heritage sites, which is so far lacking despite the fact that such sites are increasingly targeted. Lostal spells out this area's discrete legal principles, providing accessible and succinct guidelines to a usually complex web of international conventions. Using the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Mali (among others) as case studies, she offers timely insight into the phenomenon of cultural heritage destruction. Lastly, by incorporating the World Heritage Convention into the discourse, this book fulfills UNESCO's long-standing project of exploring 'how to promote the systemic integration between the [World Heritage] Convention of 1972 and the other UNESCO regimes'. It is sure to engender debate and cause reflection over cultural heritage and protection regimes.
The book examines if and to what extent the proliferation of direct military assistance on the request of a recognized government is changing the rules regulating the use of force. Since the end of the Cold War, several (sub)regional organizations in Africa have codified military assistance on request in their respective treaty frameworks. In addition, in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, internationally recognized governments embroiled in protracted armed conflicts have requested direct military assistance from individual States or groups of States. These requests are often accepted by the other States, and at times the United Nations Security Council, even when the requesting governments have very limited effective control over their territories, lack democratic legitimacy, and are engaged in wide-spread and systematic violations of international human rights, and humanitarian law.0 This book departs from a definition of requested military assistance that refers to the exercise of forcible measures by third-State armed forces or those controlled by an international organisation in the territory of the requesting State. It then examines the authority to issue a request for (or consent to) direct military assistance, as well as the type of situations in which such assistance may be requested?notably whether it can be requested during a civil war (armed conflict). De Wet finishes by examining the important and controversial question of whether, and to what extent, the proliferation of forcible assistance on request is changing the legal framework applying to the use of force in international law.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations
Tackling Access Challenges in an Evolving Humanitarian Landscape
Author: Jacob D. Kurtzer
Publisher: Center for Strategic & International Studies
Category: Political Science
Principled humanitarian action is under attack around the world. Globally, 70.8 million people are considered forcibly displaced by armed conflict and nearly 132 million people need emergency humanitarian assistance. At the same time, there has been a steep escalation in the deliberate, willful obstruction of humanitarian access, impeding the ability of humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people and vice versa. As humanitarian emergencies become increasingly complex and protracted, blocked humanitarian access will only increase without urgent action. To ensure the ability of aid to reach those who need it most and to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, the United States should elevate humanitarian access as a foreign policy priority and work to reconcile tensions between critical national security measures and the growing needs of vulnerable populations in fragile, conflict-affected states. This report is the result of the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access.
Abstract: The armed conflict in Syria has accelerated in recent months. Both regime and rebels see themselves in a fight for survival that leaves no room for compromise. External supporters of both sides treat the conflict as a zero-sum game with far-reaching and, for some actors existential, consequences for their own strategic positions, and are therefore determined to prevent any outcome they would regard as disadvantageous. Their diplomatic, financial and in some cases military support fans the flames of conflict and strengthens the hand of hardliners on both sides. For the foreseeable future, there is good reason to expect that the conflict will be neither resolved politically nor won militarily. The priority for Europeans should be to stem the violence and support inclusive civilian structures; the latter could contribute to improving living conditions at the local level and counteracting radical and centrifugal tendencies. (author's abstract)
This War Report provides detailed information on every armed conflict which took place during 2013, offering an unprecedented overview of the nature, range, and impact of these conflicts and the legal issues they created. In Part I, the Report describes its criteria for the identification and classification of armed conflicts under international law, and the legal consequences that flow from this classification. It sets out a list of armed conflicts in 2013, categorizing each as international, non-international, or a military occupation, with estimates of civilian and military casualties. In Part II, each of the 28 conflicts identified in Part I are examined in more detail, with an overview of the belligerents, means and methods of warfare, the applicable treaties and rules, and any prosecutions for, investigations into, or robust allegations of war crimes. Part III of the Report provides detailed thematic analysis of key legal developments which arose in the context of these conflicts, allowing for a more in-depth reflection on cross-cutting questions and controversies. The topics under investigation in this Report include US policy on drone strikes, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the protection of persons with a disability, and national and international war crimes trials. The Report gives a full and accessible overview of armed conflicts in 2013, making it the perfect first port of call for everyone working in the field.
The book surveys comparative power sharing models implemented in societies that have faced identity-conflicts, with attention given to post-conflict design. It analyzes the success and pitfalls of international experiences before proposing a model for Syria. Contributors address the central question: which among the set of power-sharing agreements that have helped settle protracted identity-driven armed conflict can provide Syria with a platform for dialogue, negotiation, and conflict mitigation? The comparative analysis advanced in this book extracts lessons from countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali, Northern Ireland, the Philippines and Sudan. The prospect of a post-conflict distribution of power in Syria is then unraveled from different sectarian, ethnic and regional perspectives. The authors also address challenges of peacebuilding such as violent extremism, gender participation, resettlements, retributions, transitional justice, integration of armed groups and regional and international sponsorship.
Since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, sectarian divisions have widened, fuelling a revival of a Sunni Muslim insurgent challenge to Iraqs stability. Iraqs Sunni Arab Muslims resent Shiite political domination and perceived discrimination by the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Iraqs Kurds are embroiled in separate political disputes with the Baghdad government over territorial, political, and economic issues, particularly their intent to separately export large volumes of oil produced in the Kurdish region. Fighting also continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. The ongoing conflict that began in March 2011 in Syria has created one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world. Three years later, as of early March 2014, an estimated 9.3 million people inside Syria, nearly half the population, have been affected by the conflict. This book discusses the political, and internal conflicts of both Iraq and Syria. It provides information on the politics, governance, and human rights in Iraq; an overview of armed conflict in Syria, as well as the United States response; and an overview of the humanitarian response in Syria as well.
A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500-2000
Author: Micheal Clodfelter
Publisher: McFarland Publishing
In the twentieth century alone, military deaths totaled over 35 million, including 29,700,000 slain in international wars and almost 6 million killed in civil wars. This completely updated and revised edition of the acclaimed 1992 two-volume work (belongs in the reference collection of almost every library - ARBA) presents a record of casualties of modern warfare in the last four centuries. New information pushes back the beginning date to 1500 from the first edition's 1680 and pushes 1992 out through 1999. Arranged roughly by century and then subdivided by world region, the entries proceed chronologically and vary from paragraph to chapter-length. Each entry provides the name and date of the conflict, precursor events, strategies and details, the outcome and its impact. A history of weaponry is easily traceable, as casualties mounted according to their improvement.
The Syrian Civil War, (the colloquial name of the ongoing conflict in Syria), has experienced an entirely unexpected transformation during its first two years. It started as unrest within the Syrian population and a series of mass demonstrations within the context of wider protest movements in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, known as the Arab Spring. Contrary to events in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen, where oppressive governments were toppled by the end of that year, the government of Syria deployed the full force of its military, its intelligence apparatus, and para-military groups, launching an unprecedented crackdown that resulted in the arrest, detention and killing of many thousands. Despite its brutality, this effort backfired: it provoked mass desertions of the Syrian military and then an armed uprising. The emerging insurgency was generally successful through 2012, although failing to capture Damascus, it did secure more than half of Aleppo and Homs, the provincial capital of Raqqa, and nearly all of northeastern and northwestern Syria under its control. Although propped-up by economic and military support from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, the government of Syria was nearing the brink of collapse during the first half of 2013 when, prompted by Tehran, the Hezbollah - a Shi'a Islamic militant group (and political party) from Lebanon - entered the conflict on its side. Soon after, the Hezbollah was reinforced by significant contingents of Iranian-sponsored Shi'a from Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere, and then by volunteers from Iran, including crack units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Meanwhile, already split along the lines of Syria's complex demography, much of the insurgency transformed from a secular and non-sectarian movement into proxies of various foreign powers, foremost Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but also Turkey and Kuwait. Furthermore, foreign Jihadists motivated by al-Qaida joined the fray, aiming to establish an Islamist state and clandestinely cooperating with the government, they fell into the back of insurgency. Thus, an extremely complex conflict - which meanwhile not only spilled over the border into Lebanon, but is having a major impact upon Iranian-Saudi relations, and relations between the West, Iran and a number of Arab countries - came into being, the outcome of which is presently anything but predictable. Syrian Conflagration is the first installment in the Middle [email protected] series. Drawing on extensive research, including first hand accounts it provides a compelling overview of the first three years of the ongoing conflict in Syria. The book features around 140 photos, 12-15 artworks and 3-4 maps. Middle [email protected] - following on from our highly successful [email protected] series, Middle [email protected] replicates the same format - concise, incisive text, rare images and high quality color artwork providing fresh accounts of both well-known and more esoteric aspects of conflict in this part of the world since 1945.