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News Roundup – 1-2 September 2014

September 2, 2014

Pitfalls abound in Colombia-FARC peace talks

Pentagon set to open second drone base in Niger as it expands operations in Africa

Chatham House research paper: Nigeria’s Interminable Insurgency? Addressing the Boko Haram Crisis

Boko Haram said to have seized strategic Nigerian town

ICRC: Renewed violence in capital CAR and throughout the country

Rebels in CAR expel government ministers

Libyan Militias Seize Control of Capital as Chaos Rises

UN: Over 300 killed in clashes between Rezeigat and Ma’alia in East Darfur

Somali and AU forces in al-Shabab offensive

U.S. drone strike in Somalia targets al-Shabab leader, Al-Shabaab in Somalia confirms leader was targeted in US drone strike and U.S. acknowledges carrying out counterterrorism strike in Somalia

Human Rights Watch: Rising Civilian Toll in Luhansk (Ukraine)

Fatou Bensouda: the truth about the ICC and Gaza

Starvation as a weapon of war in Syria

Amnesty International: Gruesome evidence of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq as Islamic State moves to wipe out minorities

Human Rights Watch: Evidence of Islamic State Cluster Munition Use in Syria

Human Rights Watch: Islamic State Executions in Tikrit

Islamic State claims to have beheaded American journalist Steven Sotlo


News Roundup – 29 August 2014

August 29, 2014

Afghan mining law “could strengthen armed groups”. 

Syrian rebels surround Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights. 

Rebels in Syria capture border crossing with Israel. 

French leader calls Assad a ‘jihadist ally’. 

ISIS video shows ‘beheading’ of Kurdish fighter. 

Mali rebel factions agree to end hostilities ahead of September talks. 

NATO: Russia supplying Ukraine rebel tanks. 

Death toll in Ukraine conflict exceeds 2,200 says UN. 

News Roundup – 28 August 2014

August 27, 2014

RAND Corporation: Foreign fighters are a global threat. 

Call Islamic State ‘QSIS’ instead, says globally influential Islamic authority. 

Islamic State militants have committed “mass atrocities” in Syria and recruited children as fighters, the United Nations says (see here for the latest report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic)

US man fighting for IS group dies in Syria. 

Islamic State strengthens control in Syria. 

Qatar trying to free more US hostages in Syria. 

Yemeni president urges rebels to leave Sanaa. 

Foreign intervention in Libya seen as further destabilizing fractured country. 

UN Security Council urges ‘swift neutralization’ of Rwandan rebel group in DRC. 

Seleka infighting in Central African Republic kills 17. 

Three killed in UN helicopter crash in South Sudan after rebel warning. 

Ukraine rebels enter coastal town. 

Islamic jus ad bellum: the legitimacy of the use of force by states and armed groups

August 27, 2014

Today Erik Tristan Zouave joins us again for a guest post on Islamic jus ad bellum and what it says about the legitimacy of the use of force by states and armed groups. Erik (LLM University of York), a former Research Assistant at the Swedish National Defense College International Law Center, has published guest posts with us before on Iraq, Syria and trade in opposition oil (see here and here) and the weaponization of the Fallujah dam (see here).


1. Introduction

In the current context of the protracted non-international armed conflicts and civil strife in Syria and Iraq various actors have increasingly sought to legitimize their conduct through Islamic Law. Notably, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) the Sunnite armed group involved in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts have proclaimed their intent to establish an Islamic State, a caliphate, with Abu Bakr, their leader, as Caliph. The declaration was followed by a change in brand simply to the Islamic State (IS).

This begs the questions:

How is collective structure (state v non-state) actually related to the legitimate use of armed violence in Islamic law? What does Islamic law have to say about violence emanating from states as opposed to violence emanating from armed groups? Normatively, what can IS expect to gain from their policy of claiming caliphal authority, or even adopting a jargon of statehood?

Read more…

News roundup – 26 August 2014

August 26, 2014

UN Human Rights Council appoints third member of panel to investigate purported Gaza violations. 

Hamas claims Gaza truce with Israel. 

HRW: Gaza – Halt executions. 

Iraqi civilians suffering “horrific” widespread and systematic persecution, Pillay. 

Insurgency deepens Iraqi ethnic, sectarian divides. 

US flights to ‘spy on Islamic State’ in Syria.

US alarm at airstrikes on Libya.  

Islamic State declaration spreads to Nigeria. 

Armed groups in Mali prepare for peacetalks. 

Rights groups denounce Mali for releasing jailed Islamist. 

News roundup – 25 August 2014

August 25, 2014

Why don’t the US and UK ever pay ransoms for hostages? 

Colombia’s military meets face-to-face with rebel leaders at peace negotiations in Havana. 

ISIS tightens its grip with seizure of airbase in Syria. 

Syria could work with West against ‘terror’. 

Qatar denies backing Islamic State group. 

Strife in Libya could presage long civil war. 

Nigeria rejects Boko Haram ‘caliphate’ claim. 

Boko Haram declares Islamic State in northern Nigeria. 

Summary executions in Somalia. 

Rebel held mine collapses in CAR killing 25. 

Prime minister of CAR names cabinet with representatives of rebel groups. 

Russia to send new Ukraine convoy. 

In Eastern Ukraine, rebel mockery amidst independence celebration. 

News roundup – 21 and 22 August 2014

August 22, 2014

Today, as the ICRC celebrates the 150th anniversary of the original Geneva Convention, it has published this video which explains the basics of international humanitarian law – Rules of war (in a nutshell). 

Peace talks resume in Cuba to address victims of Colombia’s armed conflict. 

Israel/ Gaza and the law of armed conflict: recommended readings

EJIL:Talk! Is Israel’s use of force in Gaza covered by the jus ad bellum?

Gaza: Hamas says 18 suspected informants executed. 

All Hamas leaders legitimate targets for Israeli attacks. 

Pillay castigates “paralysis” on Syria, as new UN study indicates that over 191,000 people have been killed (see here for report).

Islamic State militants pose biggest threat to US. 

Iraq crisis: some Islamic State commanders retreat to Syria. 

Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms. 

Boko Haram: justice must be done and be seen by all Nigerians to be done. 

Mali: children paying a high price in an ongoing conflict. 

Ukraine’s dying rebel capital seeks normal life against the soundscape of war. 


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