Weekly IHL Update

Option 3

Monday, November 3, 2014

In the News

The actions of Islamic State (IS) are never far from the headlines. The battle for Kobani rages on and IS continues to attract foreign fighters, conduct mass executions, and provide military training to children. Growing concerns about the strategy to defeat IS suggests that this conflict will continue for some time. 

Militant groups are increasing their technological prowess and are acquiring drone technology. IS used a drone to map the topography around a Syrian military base this summer and Jabhat Al Nusra released a video last week from a drone conducting a surveillance operation. Drone use continues to raise questions and their use by non-state actors could result in greater need for regulation.

As U.S. and British troops withdraw from Afghanistan, insurgent attacks and opium poppy cultivation appear to be on the rise. In an effort to engage the Taliban in peace talks, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai reached out making an unusually direct reference to the group.

A popular uprising occurred across Burkina Faso in the wake of protests against the continued leadership of President Blaise Compaore, who has been in power for 27 years. Following the violent protests—Parliament was set on fire and security forces opened fire on protesters—Compaore resigned and military chief Gen. Honore Traore took over. With calls for an election in the next 90 days, the situation in Burkina Faso definitely merits continued attention.

Around the Web

Autonomous Weapons. With the advancement in weapons technology increased attention is devoted to autonomous weapons, specifically, killer robots. Examining the legal, moral, and political implications of autonomous weaponry, the Ethical Autonomy project is tasked with creating dialogue between states, academics, and militaries on the future of this complex issue.

“Those Terrible Weeks in Their Camp.” Human Rights Watch released a report this week containing interviews with witnesses and victims of Boko Haram abductions in Northeast Nigeria. The report classifies the situation in Borno State as an armed conflict and calls on Nigerian authorities to protect, investigate, and prosecute those violating international humanitarian law in the region.

 On the Blog

IHL in a New Era of Occupation. While conversations about IHL frequently focus on how to adapt to modern technologies and new methods of warfare, it is also important to revisit existing rules and consider their application in current conflicts. This week we looked at the law of occupation and how modern armed conflicts often challenge the existing legal regime.

*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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