Middle East

The Guardian is reporting today that Carter Page -- Donald Trump's bumbling former foreign-policy advisor, who has been interviewed quite extensively by the FBI regarding his contacts with Russia -- earned a PhD from SOAS in 2011 after failing his defence twice. Here are some snippets from the story: Page first submitted his thesis on central Asia’s transition from communism to capitalism in...

Very significant news out of the ICC today: after a decade-long preliminary examination, the OTP has finally decided to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize a formal investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. Here is a snippet from Fatou Bensouda's announcement: For decades, the people of Afghanistan have endured the scourge of armed conflict.  Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the...

I have just posted on SSRN a draft of a (very) long article entitled "Specially-Affected States and the Formation of Custom." It represents my first real foray into both "classic" public international law and postcolonial critique. Here is the abstract: Although the US has consistently relied on the ICJ’s doctrine of specially-affected states to claim that it and other powerful states...

Over the next three days we will be featuring an online discussion of my SOAS colleague and TAU law professor Aeyal Gross's new book for Cambridge University Press, The Writing on the Wall: Rethinking the International Law of Occupation (CUP, 2017). The book develops ideas that Aeyal discussed on Opinio Juris -- in a symposium on the functional approach to occupation -- more...

Saudi-owned TV news network Al Arabiya aired a video simulation yesterday that shows a Saudi Arabian fighter shooting an air-to-air missile at a Qatari Airways plane. Here is the video: That's bad enough -- but what is truly horrifying is the accompany voiceover, which intones the following: International law permits states to shoot down any aircraft that violates a state’s airspace, classing...

Longtime readers of this blog may have noticed that one of my pet peeves is the incorrect usage of international legal terms in public and diplomatic discourse.  Hence, Israel did NOT commit "piracy" during the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid despite lots of governments claiming otherwise.  Cuba is not under a "blockade" despite tons of Cuban government propaganda otherwise. So you can imagine my...

Last month, I blogged about the Syria War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017, a bipartisan Senate bill “[t]o require a report on, and to authorize technical assistance for, accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Syria.” I praised the bill, but pointed out that Section 7(a) was drafted in such a way that it permitted the US to provide technical...

Last month, Just Security published a long and thoughtful post by Rebecca Ingber with the provocative title "International Law is Failing Us in Syria." The international law she is talking about is the jus ad bellum -- the illegality of unilateral humanitarian intervention (UHI) in particular. In her view, the failure of the international community to use force to end the...

AJIL Unbound has just posted the contributions to a symposium entitled "Revisiting Israel's Settlements." The contributors are all superb: Eyal Benvenisti, Pnina Sharvit Baruch, David Kretzmer, Adam Roberts, Omar M. Dajani, and Yaël Ronen. The true highlight, though, is the essay that accompanies the symposium and will be published in the next issue of the American Journal of International Law: Theodor Meron's...