Search: Syria Insta-Symposium

[Sondre Torp Helmersen teaches at the University of Oslo and is an LLM candidate at the University of Cambridge.] Stephanie Carvin recently contributed to the Syria Insta-Symposium with a post titled “A Legal Debate Devoid of Consequences (or Bringing Practical Judgment Back In)”. Her call for a practical perspective is timely. The decision of whether or not to attack must be necessarily be a political decision, on which political scientists such as herself may offer sound advice. However, she apparently does not take full account of the fact that international...

[Ian Hurd is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. This contribution is cross-posted at the Ethics and International Affairs Blog.] The debate sparked by Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week includes at least three separate controversies: 1) which (if any) international legal instruments govern Syria’s use of chemical weapons; 2) whether outside military action against the Syrian regime violates international law; and 3) whether US military intervention against the Assad regime is advisable in these circumstances. Each of these questions is complex. My recent op-ed in the...

Syrian people a use of force in response to chemical weapon attacks on civilians is not "against" the terrritorial "integrity" of Syria, "against" the "political independence" of the Syrian people, or in any other manner, on balance and in view of relevant purposes ofthe Charter (e.g., peace, security, self-determination of peoples, and human rights -- and R2P) that is inconsistent with the purposes of the Charter. The text of a treaty is quite relevant to its interpretation and nothing in Article 2(4) prohibits all uses of armed force. Additionally, the...

In this respect, André Nollkaemper is undoubtedly correct when he writes that “[t]he failure of the Security Council to take its responsibilities and to act therefore is for more than one reason deplorable. Not only does it leave the people in Syria without protection, but it also induces unilateral action that, whichever it proceeds inside or out, leaves the international legal system worse off.” In his extremely interesting and important post, Nollkaemper wonders whether the United States will, or should, publicly characterize any strikes on Syria as “part of an...

[Marty Lederman is a Professor at Georgetown Law School and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010, and an Attorney Advisor in OLC from 1994-2002] Most of the participants in this Insta-Symposium, and in earlier OJ posts, have understandably focused their attention on the question of whether a U.S. military strike on Syria would violate the U.N. Charter. I’ll address that question in a subsequent post, in the context of some remarks on the forthcoming congressional debate. But before...

It would be a failure because the type of suffering of Syrian citizens (since the beginning of the civil, not just since the chemical weapons attack) is precisely why R2P was created in the first place. But it would also be seen as a success because if R2P is understood as a legal doctrine with resultant obligations on the part states, then it can only authorized by the Security Council. Intervention into Syria without a UN mandate might be moral and it might be imminent. But whatever its enactors suggest,...

In a surprise announcement, President Obama announced today that he will seek congressional approval for his plan to launch military strikes against Syria. This is a smart decision, both politically and legally, since it will force many of his congressional critics to reveal their preferences, and take a position on this very difficult issue. If they approve the strike, the President gets (some) political cover. If they disapprove it, the President gets some political cover as well, and maybe a way to wriggle out of his red line. (But note...

...war in a serious and egregious manner and we will use armed force as a retaliatory, punitive, sanction response) has no traction in international law or, for the President, in constitutional law. However, the matter is more complex, given the ongoing belligerency in Syria and significant outside recognition of the opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, their probable consent to use of force, etc. (see responses to posts below). Yet, to make a justifiable claim under international law and, therefore, constitutional law, the Obama Administration should shift...

...the ground. One could go on. For now, the point is twofold: (1) There’ve been plenty of past U.S. interventions on unilateral presidential authority that have not gone well, for the United States or the global system. (2) There are plenty of reasons to fear this is one of those instances that also will not go well – such that it makes it at a minimum worth debating in a full and democratic way (i.e. with Congress), whether or not force in Syria is the right next step to take....

[Geoffrey Corn is the Presidential Research Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law in Houston. His prior articles addressing war powers include: 1, 2, 3.] It seems almost abundantly clear that President Obama has resolved the question of “what if” the United Nations Security Council is unwilling to authorize military action against Syria for use of chemical weapons. The U.S. will act without such authorization, unilaterally if necessary. Why? Well, we know there are numerous overt and sub rosa motives being discussed, but ultimately because of a U.S....

...On the positive side, this gets around the problem of UNSC blocking action. But the negatives are strong: Does, factually, punishing an armed actor for the use of chemical weapons actually improve the humanitarian situation? And raises the problem of WHO can intervene -- for instance, can Iran claim the right to intervene on the grounds that it believes it was Syrian insurgents who used chemical weapons? And the question of WHEN to intervene -- does this allow States to join an international conflict against a side using chemical weapons?...

President Obama’s decision to seek authorization for military intervention in Syria is a watershed in the modern history of war powers. At no point in the last half century at least has a president requested advance congressional authorization for anything less than the full-scale use of force. Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf gets it exactly right: Whatever happens with regard to Syria, the larger consequence of the president’s action will resonate for years. The president has made it highly unlikely that at any time during the remainder of his term he...