Weekly IHL Update

Option 3

Monday, December 22, 2014

In the News

On Tuesday, the Pakistani Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.  At least 145 people were killed—mostly children. The attack united formerly divided Pakistanis against the Pakistani Taliban due to the horrific tragedy and led Pakistan to reach out to Afghanistan for help in fighting the militants. The Pakistan military stepped up operations against the Taliban, killing at least 62 militants in clashes the past weekend.

Attacks in Yemen also resulted in a high number of children killed on Tuesday when two suicide car bombs detonated in Radaa as a school bus drove by—killing at least 15 school girls. Then two more car bombs detonated in al-Hudaydah on Thursday, killing at least ten and injuring many more. And on Friday, Yemeni soldiers were the target of a bomb attack in southeastern Yemen that killed three and wounded five.

Boko Haram ramped up its offensive again last week, attacking a remote village in northeast Nigeria where it killed over 30 residents and kidnapped around 200 women, girls, and boys. Nigerian military attempts to respond to this elusive militant group have been affected by soldiers refusing to deploy to the region; dozens of soldiers have been sentenced to death by firing squad. The conflict is also beginning to spillover into neighboring countries—the Cameroon military reported that it killed 116 alleged Boko Haram militants that attacked a military unit on the border—creating a need for more regional cooperation in the fight against the Islamist militants.

On a more positive note, however, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leadership announced a conditional but indefinite ceasefire with Colombia’s government. The armed conflict between Colombian state forces and FARC has resulted in over 220,000 deaths since it started in the 1960s.

Due to the recent cyber attack and subsequent threats, Sony cancelled the release of its upcoming film “The Interview.” After an FBI investigation determined that North Korea perpetrated the attack, President Obama indicated that the United States would respond proportionally and chastised Sony for giving in to intimidation, saying, “we cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” Although Obama noted that the Sony hack was not an act of war, North Korea has threatened attacks on the United States for accusing North Korea of involvement in the cyber attack.

Around the Web

Protecting Schools During Armed Conflict. A guest post on Opinio Juris highlights the importance of protecting schools and universities from use for military purpose in armed conflict. Of particular importance on this topic is the recent guidelines presented by Norway and Argentina at a United Nations event.

Best Books on Drones. Spend some quality time this winter reading up on one of the most interesting topics in the technological advancements of modern warfare—drones! The Drone Center compiled a list of some of the best books on drones that were released this year. Add some of these to your reading list!

A Problem from Hell… Maybe. The New Yorker profiled U.S. Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power. In the Land of the Possible reflects on the challenges and limitations that she faces in her official capacity and how being a humanitarian and a diplomat is not as easy as she once thought.

On the Blog

Raid Cross at the Red Cross. Law student Camille Quinton wasn’t too familiar with IHL when she started volunteering with the American Red Cross, but working with Raid Cross really helped Camille “master the basics of IHL.”

Occupation to Build a Nation. In post-conflict regions, modern occupation appears to be bucking the tradition of conserving the status quo, instead focusing on nation building and altering the status quo. Read about some of the benefits as well as some concerns about the new method of occupation for the sake of nation building.

Remembering the Horrors of the Good War. The Battle of the Bulge occurred seventy years ago but still serves as a lesson about the continuing effects of war after hostilities end, particularly when both sides violate some of the basic rules of international humanitarian law.

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*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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