Weekly IHL Update

Option 1

Monday, October 20, 2014

In the News

This week President Barack Obama announced that the operation against the Islamic State will now be called Operation Inherent Resolve. This week the US launched airstrikes on Islamic State fighters near the Syrian city of Kobani in an effort to push the militants out of the city. Meanwhile, the Islamic State released a video vowing to avenge “every drop of blood spilt” by the U.S. led coalition in Operation Inherent Resolve and increased bombings in Baghdad. There have been multiple car bombings in Baghdad throughout the week killing more than 40 civilians and wounding at least 100. The United Nations reported that at least 1,119 Iraqis, majority civilians, were killed in September in relation to the ongoing hostilities with the Islamic State. But while ISIS is, deservedly, receiving a lot of press right now, there are many other areas of the world facing humanitarian suffering. 

With 31 blue helmet deaths since July 2013, Mali has become the deadliest place for UN peacekeepers. Although French forces intervened last year to fight al-Qaeda linked militants in Mali, insecurity continues in the northern territory due to the presence of multiple militant organizations.

Violence and unrest are increasing in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). At least six people have been killed and hundreds have been forced to flee their homes. Anti-balaka militants engaged in fighting with UN peacekeepers on Wednesday, resulting in the deaths of three militia members and four peacekeepers. Despite the great humanitarian need, the Central African Red Cross has been unable to access areas to aid the wounded, and its staff members have faced threats.

Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels seized more territory in Yemen this week, including a border crossing point near Saudi Arabia. The rebels have been increasing their territorial gains across Yemen since seizing the capital, Sanaa, and forcing Yemen’s President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi to appoint a new government. The increase in rebel controlled territory is worsening the state of instability in Yemen and has raised security concerns in Saudi Arabia as well.

Since October 5, fighting along the Line of Control shared by Pakistan and India in Kashmir has intensified. On Tuesday evening, 4 children were wounded by Indian gunfire which continued Wednesday. This round of cross-border fire has left 20 people dead and has wounded at least 100 people. It is unclear whether India or Pakistan fired first. Both Pakistan and India blame each other for violating the 2003 cease-fire, and there is no sign of a decrease in the tensions between these two states.

Around the Web

Islamic State Victimizing Women, Ethnic Groups. Human Rights Watch issued a report on the continuing human suffering caused by the Islamic State in Iraq, including forced marriage and religious conversion.

Chemical Weapons in Iraq. The New York Times published an insightful piece on how U.S. soldiers discovered and destroyed stockpiles of chemical weapons in Iraq between 2004 and 2011, the effort to maintain secrecy about these operations, and the inevitable injuries caused by handling chemical weapons.

On the Blog

Games are Phenomenal Teachers. With over 600,000,000 gamers worldwide, the tremendous reach of the gaming industry provides a unique platform to educate on the conduct of hostilities in armed conflict.  Read the recap of our event, Targeting the Rules of War with Video Games, to find out more about the innovative ideas to integrate IHL and video games.

Join the Conversation. And don’t worry if you missed out on the event …we posted a recording of our live stream! To get the full-experience, play some games that incorporate the law of armed conflict, such as Valiant Hearts or Prisoners of War, and watch this review of Spec Ops: The Line.

*Inclusion in our “Weekly IHL Update” does not mean that the American Red Cross endorses or agrees with the views and opinions expressed.*

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