Legitimacy Versus Legality Redux: Arming the Syrian Rebels
Michael N. Schmitt
Naval War College - Stockton Center for the Study of International Law; University of Exeter Law School; Harvard Law School (PILAC)
August 12, 2013
7 Journal of National Security Law and Policy 139-159 (2014)
This article examines the international law issues surrounding the US policy decision to arm Syrian rebels. Topics discussed as potential violations of international law include the prohibition on the use of force, the principle of non-intervention, Security Council action and State responsibility for any unlawful activities of the rebels. The Article also examines possible justifications for the action under international law including self-defense, military aid to a government, humanitarian intervention, an action against the enemy during an armed conflict, and the taking of countermeasures. The article concludes that arming the rebels is questionable as a matter of law, although it notes that it may be legitimate (it draws no conclusions on this latter point).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Use of force, intervention, Humanitarian intervention, self-defense, countermeasures, armed conflict, state responsibility, Syria, rebels, insurgents
Date posted: August 15, 2013 ; Last revised: February 20, 2014
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