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Legitimacy Versus Legality Redux: Arming the Syrian Rebels

7 Journal of National Security Law and Policy 139-159 (2014)

21 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013 Last revised: 20 Feb 2014

Michael N. Schmitt

Naval War College - Stockton Center for the Study of International Law; University of Exeter Law School; Lieber Institute, USMA at West Point

Date Written: August 12, 2013

Abstract

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).

Keywords: Use of force, intervention, Humanitarian intervention, self-defense, countermeasures, armed conflict, state responsibility, Syria, rebels, insurgents

Suggested Citation

Schmitt, Michael N., Legitimacy Versus Legality Redux: Arming the Syrian Rebels (August 12, 2013). 7 Journal of National Security Law and Policy 139-159 (2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2308844

Michael N. Schmitt (Contact Author)

Naval War College - Stockton Center for the Study of International Law ( email )

686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.usnwc.edu/Academics/Faculty/Michael-Schmitt.aspx

University of Exeter Law School ( email )

Exeter, EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/law/staff/mschmitt/

Lieber Institute, USMA at West Point ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

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