July 13, 2015
In the news:
On Friday, Yemen began a humanitarian ceasefire for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan until July 17. More than 80% of Yemen’s citizens need some type of humanitarian or medical aid as a result of this war, and the UN urges that a temporary pause in fighting to focus on injured civilians is of utmost importance. Earlier in May, a five-day ceasefire was put into place, but there wasn’t enough time to provide the needed amount of assistance, and, since March, the death toll has risen to 30,000.
Last week, the Afghan government and the Taliban met to consider potential peace talks, which will be more solidified after Ramadan. Their face-to-face discussions proved to be hopeful looking towards the future. No demands were made for a ceasefire or pause in fighting; however, steps toward peace were made. The Taliban raised a list of other demands, but all appeared to be negotiable, including a demand to end the UN blacklist, for which the US government is responsible.’
Last Monday, 24 to 45 people were killed in the American drone strike in eastern Afghanistan, two of them being Pakistani militants who had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Although the Islamic State isn’t considered to be a major threat in Pakistan or Afghanistan as of right now, many individuals from these countries have been recruited to serve for it.
On Thursday, the Syrian Army claimed to be taking an offensive by closing in on ISIS militants in Palmyra. This only adds on to the army’s increased and intensified advances on the Islamic State. Along the northern border, the Kurdish militia is closing in, while Turkey and Syria are attacking from the east. The United States has intensified its aerial attacks on Raqqa.
Around the web:
Law of War Manual Forum. Just Security is holding a “mini forum” on the Department of Defense’s new Law of War Manual. The series includes posts from top legal scholars in international humanitarian law and discusses the impact of the Manual and its interpretation of the law of war.
What the UN Report on Gaza Left Out. Legal Professor Laurie Blank argues that the United Nations Human Rights Council’s report on the 2014 Gaza conflict failed to provide an accurate legal analysis regarding the application of the law of war to the conflict and an unbalanced look at whether or not the parties to the conflict respected that law.
On the blog:
Connecting Coursework with IHL: Landmines in Colombia. IHL Intern Jessica Lach discusses how her academic interest in Latin America led her to explore how IHL is related to the region, specifically in the conflict in Colombia in which antipersonnel landmines have been used. Read to see what she learned about protections against these indiscriminate weapons and the history of the conflict between the government of Colombia and the FARC.
Reflections on the 2015 Youth Leadership Summit. A member of the Dulles High School IHL Action Campaign Team from Texas reflects on the events of the weekend she spent in DC with other teams selected from across the country. Over the weekend she was insipid by other teams and encouraged to continue working to help the refugee population in her community and to continue to work with the IHL Action Campaign.