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International Law

Looking for safety in security studies: Is it relevant to discuss climate change’s impact on UNSC?



In December 2021, Security Council failed to adopt the draft resolution to integrate the climate security-related threat into the United Nations conflict-prevention strategies. The resolution was aimed to help the forum facing the risk of conflict that will escalate because of social issues affected by climate change such as, drought, flood, soil degradation, and sea level rising that create social-security problems such as water and food scarcity and large-scale people displacement (United Nations, December 2021).

               Through that resolution, it is expected that the concern of climate change and social-security issues that are affected by it would start to be seen as intersectional and contributing to conflict and affecting the security itself. As can be observed in the displacement and refugees issue in South Sudan that pushed 500.000 Dinka ethnic people from their homes and escalated the ethnic conflict between Dinka and Nuer. Other phenomena such as sea level rising also affect island state and their neighbor state which will get affected by refugees that try to get into their country.

               Even though the climate-related threat is classified as a multiplier factor, its impact on the social security issue is real and has the potential to escalate the conflict that risks the security of thousands of citizens. Nevertheless, by the rejection of those draft resolutions from India and Russia, and abstain from China, Security Council then must reject the resolution because of the votes of a permanent member. India, as the member that rejects the draft, bases its rejection on the functionality of the Security Council which is to deescalate the conflict and discuss the climate impact is not a proper forum because there is another forum that has focused on that issue already (Security Council Report, 2021). But, is it necessary to discuss climate change and its impact on Security Council? Is it relevant for climate issues to be discussed in a security forum?

Why should it be UNSC, as a security Forum, to discussed it?

               As a forum and institution in the UN that has been mandated to keep the security and peace, the advocacy of climate adaptation policy the have several urgencies to be integrated into UNSC talks. First, quoting from the UNSC mandate in chapter IV, “The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security (United Nations, n.d.). Even though that mandate is written in the ‘Pacific Settlement of Disputes’ section, those article is not referring to clauses that limit the situation contribute to the conflict on human activities directly, such as the impact of climate change. Therefore, the impact of climate change should be addressed by the Security Council forum to prevent disputes from escalating into a real conflict that threatened the social-security issue.

               Second, regarding the hierarchical decision-making in United Nations, Security Council has the authority to enforce more binding and interventionist resolutions than other forums such as General Assembly that the socio-economy issues with more loose output. Connecting the dots, the conditions which have been faced by climate change issue in international meetings is slower than what should be expected in creating an assertive and ambitious response, especially when the issues are in intersection with other issues such as conflict escalation. Regarding this situation, the Security council, as the dominant institution that establishes the dominant discourse on international security, has a central role in directing the climate change urgency in international society, since the security discourse is always paramount in international relations.

UNSC as a dominant discourse-maker in security studies

               It can not be denied that United Nations is an organization characterized by monolithic production of power in the implementation of its agenda, with human rights and human security as the dominant narrative in its every decision-making process (Shepherd, 2008, p. 392). This character could be seen through the UN Charter in 1945, particular in article 24.1, “Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf” (UN 1945, Article 24.1). Those article referring Security Council as the highest authority institutionally and legislative in the UN through its resolutions. And in the name of security, Security Council has extensive authority in drawing the objective of every resolution and mission. Even though it needs to be questioned on what purposes those objectives are being directed.

               The power that Security Council had in concepting how security will be achieved in international relations could be reflected to what Buzan (1998) wrote as the process of securitization. Regarding Buzan, the creation of the security concept is the key to legitimizing the use of force, mobilizing international society, and using the special means to intervene in other states’ business in the name of handling existential threats which threaten the existence of states and their sovereignty (Buzzan, 1998). To put it simply, labeling a situation as security will frame that situation as emergency and apolitical. As the implication, issue that had been labeled as a security threat will get punctuation and urgency to exterminate the threat at the institution level, such as the different perspectives of the member which will get in the way of its agenda realization. In this process of securitization, the problem of climate change creates a great leap in its progress to meet its drives the securitization process.

               Nevertheless, the discourse-making of security above is still limited to traditional security conception which refers to the military aspect of security. This limitation can be seen through the articulation of security and its threat by permanent members of the Security Council. India, Russia, and China reject the discussion of the draft resolution because they are afraid that international society will intervene their sovereignty, as what could have happened in Chapter VII (Security Council Report, 2021). In addition, the uncertainty of scientific research about climate and the connection with security means also become another narrative from the three countries to reject the draft.

               The traditional security approach that still dominates shows the failure Security Council, as a security forum for states, to recognize the issue to create a safe environment for its people. All this is due to, first, traditional security studies, on the basic level, are not trying to solve the root of the disputes and war, however, it only focuses on how to avoid the damage that could be achieved by parties involved in the disputes (Walt, 1991, p. 212). Second, the traditional security studies too focused on keeping the concept of the states and its existence, so that it becomes oblivious about the people within the states as the constituent of the state also gives the legitimacy to the state’s sovereignty (Waltz, 1991, p. 213). Those two characteristics of traditional security studies show how security is too limited in the military aspect and lost its ability and orientation to keep the people feel safe.

Stepping out of the old conception

               It can not be denied that the impact of climate change is getting worst every day, even if it is affected the most in several conflicts and disputes in international relations. The urgency for the Security Council to discuss the impact of climate change on conflict escalation is the embodiment of awareness of the need for safety than the conception of security itself.

               As a disclaimer, of course, there is risk and compromise in states’ sovereignty when we try to securitize the climate issue in a security forum. Last time, when international society try to securitize human right issue, US used those narratives to disarm and intervene in the oil field of Iran in 2002. This threat is evident and inevitable because security is the paramount issue in international relations, and every issue that is labeled as a threat of it will expand the authority of states’ to get rid of it, even if it violates others’ sovereignty.

               The only way for security studies to avoid the worsening failure in addressing the issue of security that have been affected by climate issue is to step out of the traditional conception of security, and its rigidity in the game of tough-man through its war-game strategies, while failed to see the essence of the states and the security that we try to create and establish, is the safety of people within the states.

My name is Albert Nathaniel, an regular Undergraduate student at Universitas Gadjah Mada, majoring in International Relations and focusing on International Political and Economic Development Studies. Nowadays, i am interested in international talks on climate change and Carbon Trading policy studies.

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International Law

Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as New Instrument in Nuclear Disarmament Process



On June 21–23, Vienna will host a historic event in the field of nuclear disarmament – ​​the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The entry into force of this treaty in January 2021 became a long-awaited signal that demonstrated the determination of the UN member states to take concrete measures to outlaw nuclear weapons.

This was a significant moment for Kazakhstan, which in the past experienced detrimental consequences of nuclear tests. As President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted in his speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, “today Kazakhstan is an example and a role model for the whole world as a responsible state that voluntarily abandoned its nuclear-missile arsenal and closed the world’s largest nuclear test site.”

For half a century, our land suffered atmospheric, ground, and underground tests. This impacted the health of about 1.5 million Kazakhs living near the test site with an area of ​​​​more than 18,000 square kilometres. The consequences of radiation are felt to this day.

On the initiative of Kazakhstan, the closing date of the Semipalatinsk test site – August 29 – was declared in 2009 by the UN General Assembly the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Emphasizing the symbolism of this date, in 2019 Kazakhstan submitted to the UN Secretariat an instrument for ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Kazakhstan voluntarily abandoned the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world, which it inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 1993 joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a state that does not possess nuclear weapons. Let me note, that the TPNW was developed in support of the NPT and fully complements its objective of strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the peaceful use of atomic energy and wider international security.

In fact, TPNW reflects the dissatisfaction of most UN member states with the disregard by nuclear countries of their obligations on nuclear disarmament, enshrined in several international treaties and documents, including Article VI of the NPT. For this reason, we believe that the treaty should be mentioned in the Final Document of the forthcoming NPT Review Conference in August 2022.

The Treaty establishes several mandatory legal initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament. For example, nuclear weapons are considered illegal for the first time in human history. Secondly, the production, testing, acquisition, transfer, storage and deployment of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use of threats to use them, are prohibited.

A nuclear-weapon country can join the TPNW if it agrees to destroy its nuclear weapons in accordance with legally binding, verifiable, time-specific plans. Similarly, a country hosting nuclear weapons can join if it agrees to remove them. The Treaty does not prescribe specific timeframes or disarmament measures, as they are planned to be approved by the member states following the First Conference of the TPNW.

Kazakhstan’s active participation gave impetus to the organisation of the First Conference of the TPNW. The most important contribution of our country to this process was acting as a facilitator of substantive solutions. In particular, at the initiative of Kazakhstan and Kiribati (which suffered 39 American and British nuclear weapon test), a working group was created to develop proposals on the issue of positive obligations in accordance with Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty related to providing support for victims of nuclear testing and use of nuclear weapons, as well as environmental rehabilitation.

The positive obligations under the TPNW refer to the nodal aspects and are focused on eliminating damage from the use and testing of nuclear weapons in the past, as well as preventing possible damage in the future.

The medium-term goal of this initiative on the adoption of positive obligations is to establish an International Trust Fund to finance projects related to victim assistance and environmental restoration.

A specific mechanism is being discussed for identifying sources of funding (from TPNW member-states and non-member states, NGOs, philanthropists, and individuals) for work that requires special knowledge, materials, and equipment. It is important to note that this proposal has found support among the expert community and academic circles.

I would like to note that with the financial support of Kazakhstan and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Kazakh people affected by nuclear testing and the youth representatives from Pacific Island countries will be able to participate in the First Conference of the TPNW and share their stories from a high international rostrum to draw attention to how deplorable the consequences of the use/testing of nuclear weapons can be.

The TPNW positive obligations are of practical value for Central Asia. In accordance with Article 7 of the TPNW, states may request the assistance of other parties to the Treaty and international structures to implement the abovementioned provisions. Considering the existing problem of uranium tailing ponds in several countries of our region, this initiative would help to attract donor funds from other states and international organisations for the reclamation of tailing ponds and the implementation of preventive measures to help the population near uranium mines.

Therefore, Kazakhstan, as the only state in the CIS region that has acceded to the TPNW, is conducting systematic work in accordance with Article 12 on the universalisation of the document to expand the membership of its participants, primarily from among the countries of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ).

Let me remind that CANWFZ, established by Kazakhstan jointly with its regional neighbours through the 2006 Semipalatinsk Treaty, is the first and currently the only such zone in the Northern Hemisphere. A key addition to it was the Protocol, containing negative security assurances, which stipulates that countries possessing nuclear weapons undertake not to use them on the parties to the Treaty. In this regard, we are grateful to the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and France for completing the ratification of this important document. Last year, the foreign ministers of the states that are parties to the Treaty – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – made a joint statement on its 15th anniversary, in which they reaffirmed their unshakable commitment to its provisions and called on the United States to ratify the above-mentioned Protocol as soon as possible.

The members of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world are at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament process. The main goals and objectives of establishing these zones are in line with the principles of the TPNW. This means that a state party to the Semipalatinsk Treaty can accede to the TPNW without assuming additional obligations. Besides, if a state that is party to the Semipalatinsk Treaty has already adopted relevant national regulatory legal acts to implement the provisions of the Semipalatinsk Treaty, then this will probably be sufficient to fulfil the obligations that the state will assume by joining the TPNW. This is confirmed by leading international NGOs and experts in the field of nuclear disarmament.

It should also be emphasized that the TPNW is gaining global popularity thanks to the efforts of civil society, which encourages governments and parliamentarians of their respective countries to accede to the Treaty. Kazakhstan welcomes the decision of several European countries (Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland), including the declared intention of NATO members (Germany and Norway), to participate as observers in the First Conference of the States Parties to the TPNW.

The Treaty is another effective platform for our efforts to build a world without nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan will continue to show an example of high responsibility to the present and future generations of humankind.

In this context, it’s worth noting the UN Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, adopted at the initiative of Kazakhstan at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in 2015. The Universal Declaration calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the only guarantee against their use or threat of use. Last year, the resolution received a record number of 141 votes from UN member states, indicating its positive momentum. Particularly noteworthy was the support from India and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which possess nuclear weapons, as well as from Iran, which was among the co-sponsors of the resolution.

If nuclear weapons are declared to be outside of international law, the call for nuclear-weapon states to take urgent steps in the field of nuclear disarmament will increase significantly. To this end, Kazakhstan continuously encourages dialogue between nuclear countries and the TPNW supporters in order to align their views and strengthen trust between them, which is especially important given current geopolitical conditions. Such work is also being carried out within the framework of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament and specialised platforms within the UN, including the First Committee of the General Assembly, where our country will take over the chairmanship during the 77th session.

The possibility of signing the TPNW and its entry into force have given many countries additional hope for a safer and rational world, which is currently in a serious crisis. As noted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, with about 13,400 nuclear warheads around the world, the possibility of using nuclear weapons is more real than in the darkest days of the Cold War. The current military confrontation in Ukraine, discussions about proliferation of nuclear weapons and mutual threats to use them, raise the question about the collective vulnerability of humanity and the urgent need to ban and eliminate the deadly weapons.

The practical contribution of Kazakhstan to nuclear disarmament encourages us to continue calling on nations and governments to redouble their efforts to rid our planet of the threat of nuclear self-destruction by strengthening mutual trust. With that in mind, Kazakhstan has nominated its candidacy for the position of Vice Chair of the First Meeting of the TPNW in 2022 and Chair of the Third Meeting for 2024–2026.

We call on all states, including nuclear-weapon powers, to develop a phased plan for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, to the centenary of the UN. The proposals and agreements to achieve this goal could be reflected in the final documents of both the First Conference of the TPNW and the NPT Review Conference.

Kazakhstan realizes that there are many political and technical obstacles on the way to achieving this noble and ambitious goal. We consider it necessary to embark on a practical work in this direction.

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International Law

Ukrainian Crisis – End of the International Order?



Three months have already passed since the Russian ‘special operation in’ or ‘invasion of’ (depends which sources you are citing) Ukraine began. As the international community tries to grasp this ‘denazification and demilitarization’ event, its causes and consequences, much has been talked but little understood about war’s potential to fundamentally change the world order—and about the way it illustrates already ongoing shifts. Yet, every aspect of the planetary balance of power, security architecture, geo-economic and geopolitical dynamics is challenged by this looming conflict.

On May 20, the Habibie Center addressed this topical issue witin its Public Lecture Series. In an event titled ‘The Ukraine Crisis and its Implications for the Global Political Chessboard’, the Jakarta-based think tank hosted Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic (Vienna, Geneva, universities of) for a public lecture on the war’s repercussions, both globally, as well as for the Asian continent and its Southeastern theatre.

Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic framed his thorough analysis of the conflict by alluding to the usual pattern of “critical insight formation” around an international crisis. The ‘problem’ and its ‘solution’ are presented as two halves of the singular picture. Within this picture, the lights and shadows consist of the ‘costs’ associated with the problem, and their ‘cost distribution’. The multi-dimensional nature of Ukrainian crisis can be understood that way, too. Depending on where the problem’s centre of gravity is located—the rise of new threats in a multipolar order, the global energy crisis, the deterioration of European security structures—different costs can be identified for various stakeholders.

Clearing points at the entrée, professor stated: “the way we formulate the problem will inevitably determine our answer/s and lead the course of our action”. Hence, “today I will concentrate only on setting the questions we must ask to answer what this crisis is about”, explained professor before getting into a 40-minute questions elaboration.

Accordingly, the main historical drives, politico-military aspect, legal aspect, economic aspect, and Ideological aspect (deeper meanings) related to the war were briefly explained. In addition, questions from participants of the lecture were raised regarding future outcomes and implications on RI, and analytical conclusions were drawn making emphasis on being logical and reasonable in studying the case scenario closely. This article will present the details of the discussion following the above-mentioned points.

The first point of the discussion focused on the main historical drives attributed to the long-lasted tension between Russia and Ukraine. Starting with the concept of Competing Universalisms which rather is not Venus Vs Mars competing between the two Marses, mentioned here included the Great Schism which was in the 11th Century particularly in the year 1054 resulted in a distinction between Kyiv Russia and Rimo-Catholic Ummah and how Christianity was a tool for operationalization of religion for ideological pursue (the struggle of the center of interpretation and its peripheries. Secondly, the formation of the Political West at the age of anthropo-geographic inversion/Grand discoveries expanded and projected itself internally but also demographically. Thirdly, attributed to the Napoleonic wars, the Hitler coalition ( ‘Barbarossa’ via Ukraine) and smaller episodes such as Crimean War which lasted from 1853-56 fought between Ottomans, France, UK, and Piedmont-Sardinia Vs Russia,  European Interventionism in the years 1918-22 and the Russo-Polish humiliating war in the years 1919-21 for the Isolation of Russia as a historical constant or ad hoc policy was discussed. Finally, in this category is the three dissolutions in Eastern Europe which made Russia a last huge resource to be conquered and split.

The Second point of the discussion focused on the Politico-military aspect beginning with the astonishing lack on the side of the ‘Collective West’ critical insight about Russia’s reasons, capabilities, intentions, outreach, and lasting effects, the dangerous security experiment of conflict escalation through antagonization of Russia supported by state Adventurism univocally by European elected politicians and cheerleading intellectuals. Secondly, the ambiguity in explaining if the conflict is solely Russo-Ukraine or is it NATO and the Russian federation indirectly in addition to the periodic unclarity of the start of the tension whether it is from 2014 or 2022 supported by the question of whether it is a local conflict that escalates or global conflict that is localized? What the spillover potential or length of the extension is and notably, the US proxy war to save the Dollar’s global position or a new imperial quest of the post-soviet Russia were questions raised for a deeper analysis of the case.

Thirdly, the peculiar nature of military actions such as the historical and political background of Ukraine from Kyiv Russia to the Soviet Republic, the Ethnic, Linguistic, and Religious composite of Ukraine with the alarming GINI Index showing a high gap between the rich and poor, the increased organized crime, depopulation, regressive ta policy and poor labor and environmental standards, change of ethnic composition together with forced migration and the promise made by President Zelensky during the election on the Donbas peace reintegration pledge which had no western/US support were pointed out for further analysis. Fourthly, the huge role of media in terms of censorship, Frenzy, destruction acceleration as coined by the term ‘Pornography of number’- deeper psychologization of issues and using fear as a currency of control, boosting emotional charge, personalization, and further escalation of the conflict by feeding the negative spiral and the link between media compliance and external/sovereign national debt were mentioned.

Lastly in this section was the singularization of foreign aid to Ukraine which lacks the transparency of donors and receivers, quality and configuration of military aid, environmental hazard for fertile soils and underground waters in Ukraine, security risk for the Black Sea theatre, and Europe from diverted stockpiles were explained.

The Third point raised was the legal aspect in the eye of; firstly, the UN Charter and its spirit of collective security and indivisibility the notion of a common European home, the Geneva talks- Détente-Helsinki accord Decalogue/CSCE-(1994 Budapest summit for) OSCE in active peaceful coexistence. Secondly, the Gorbachev-Reagan talks of the 1980s disarmament and security non-expansion guarantee constant western rejection of every politico-military initiative of the post-soviet Russia, the NATO defensive alliance with the 30 years of offensive history which has 9 rounds of enlargements, the less formal but lasting partnerships with formerly neutral Eurasian states, its intervention in Europe, Asia and MENA and the continued dismissal of Russian security concerns were indicated. Thirdly, the Ukrainian neutrality and nuclear disarmament dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the Minsk accord I and II at the maidan event of 2014, and the referendum were discussed. Fourthly, the provocation of NATO/US-Ukraine Military Cooperation with equipment, training, exercises since 2014, Bio-lab activities, the presidential statement made at the Munich Security Conference in February 2022 about accession, and the credibility of ‘Unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’ Vs ‘Unprovoked invasion of Iraq’ mantra, the capacity and willingness to honor agreed international treaties. Lastly in the legal aspect was the question of war crimes which is highly selective and comprehensive.

The Fourth point was the Economic aspect, starting with an observation of the World’s most traded commodities number one being Crude oil then Natural gas and wheat on the third and fifth level respectively which the cost paid for their loss are compensated over peripheral countries and social segments within them. In addition, the temporary gain of military-industrial complex but loss for the overall world stability and security, among these were dismantling the obsolete or old military weaponry on the Ukraine soil free of charge, its replacement exclusively with the western military purchases and financed by Ukraine through its new loans, donations and lend-and-lease arrangements for which the US congress already discussed a 30 billion lend-and -lease arrangements with Ukraine on January 22, was before the conflict started. Furthermore, confiscation of overseas deposits and private property and the notion of secondary sanctions versus friendly and unfriendly nations made sanctions, fragmentation of the global monetary system for with the Petro-Ruble and Russia’s Foreign currency reserves increase and the yuan perceived as a world’s reserve currency, stagflation that is inflation with decreased industrial output and the end of the debt-driven economies lead to De-dollarization. Lastly, the economic aspects of energy security in terms of the Pan Euro Mediterranean (PEM) shift and the post-Paris treaty environmental concerns, preferential prices for the friendly countries competitive on the global market, and food security in terms of widening the gap, de-urbanization, insecurity and hunger, social unrest were indicated to have a collective impact on the current situation.

 Coming to the deeper meanings was the Ideological aspect. Firstly, the crisis of capitalism if it is the west losing its intellectual capacity to offer and lead in organizational constructive ability en march towards the future self-realization metaphorically described as Instagram-isation of life and TikTok-isation of intellect. Secondly, the question of whether westernization of Eastern Europe is possible without de-anti-fascism and anti-Russian rhetoric was forwarded for analysis and in-depth thinking. Thirdly, answering the millenniums-long pattern of the history of mankind is seen as a story of eternal competition over territorial /material, all governed by the alienated ruler)i.     Bolshevik revolution (rule of 99% attempt, non-territorial principle) with the formation of the Universal Organization 1945 and the NAM (Bandung 1955/Belgrade 1961) as furthering of the egalitarian and emancipatory non-territorial idea ii. Fascism/Nazism (Imperialism optimized the idea of material and territorial, while Nazism radicalized it) iii, Glasnost/Perestroika: Dismantling of Warsaw Pact/dissolution of USSR as a triumph of the idea of non-material and non-territorial, and the significant departure from the rule traditionally governing international conduct – might make right  (Soviet Russians pulled back undefeated without a single bullet fired for over 2,000 km, dismantled its empire and recognized its former republics as sovereign states without preconditions, without any international conference nor big power written guarantees) iv, Transhumanism (Great Reset, Depopulation) – the territorial and material idea (of humans without the spiritual dimension, reduced on bio-hackable animal/Bionicle connected to a global IoT network for control and commercial end). Fourthly, the end of white man supremacy referred to the Anglo-German clash with Slaves leading to the fragmentation of the Slavic state and intra-Slavic Guernica. Lastly in this section was the western recession of democracy, its vitality, and future promise asking why the leading western intellectuals obey and the crisis of the leadership and the voters’ apathy.  

Followed by the analytical questions left for the audience to further make logical and reasonable study and researching before speaking on the surface knowledge or relying on misinformation in different social and public media, predictions of the future outcomes and Implications for the Republic of Indonesia were discussed. Among points on the future outcome, an inquiry was put if this leads to global realignment or de-coupling and three possibilities were put as follows:

a. Destruction of Ukraine and the increasing possibility of nuclear war, or the sincere Peace talks;     Statesmanship of the Metternich Concert of Europe vs. short-sightedness of the Versailles

b. Meanings for Asia-Pacific: Measuring the pan-Asia destabilizing momentum and RIC format – and outcome of its triangulation

c. Implication of Inter-Muslim debate (Islam and modernity): for the ‘core’ Muslim world MENA and Implications for the ‘peripheral’, non-Arab Muslim world.

Furthermore, the Implications for the Republic of Indonesia were tentative proposals for the MFA as to the urgent need to reform the UN, and ASEAN in aspects of neighborhood and border disputes. However, neutrality was not indicated to be a good thing as the country must always take sides according to the rule of international law, the Charter, and the Spirit of the Charter. And in the event of intra-Asian military escalation and/or other severe disruptions and asymmetric threats.

Summarized above in different aspects and future outcomes the lecture was entirely focused on showing directions and pointing out important intellectual and logical phenomena to analyze the ongoing war and the outcomes of the world order. Accordingly, a usual pattern with every crisis was discussed to follow which begins with Critical insight formation of both the problem and the answer to it. Analyzing costs of the crisis and distribution of the costs need to be sorted out to reach a conclusion and a solution.

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International Law

Israel, Counter-Terrorism and International Law: Challenges of Systemic Analysis



afghanistan terrorism

“The existence of `system’ in the world is obvious to every observer of nature, no matter whom.”-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (1959)

Whether conspicuous or obscure, terrorism presents itself as a systemic challenge. This means, inter alia, that seemingly singular strategic and legal[1] matters may actually be many-sided and interrelated. Regarding legal matters, though not ordinarily obvious or understandable, international law represents an indissoluble  part of every individual nation state’s domestic legal order.[2] To wit, William Blackstone’s Commentaries, echoing 18th century Swiss jurist Emmerich de Vattel, explains straightforwardly: “Each state is expected to aid and enforce the law of nations, as part of the common law, by inflicting an adequate punishment upon offenses against that universal law….”[3]

               Lest anyone inquire about the special significance of William Blackstone, one need only to point out that his Commentaries (1760-1769) represents the original foundation of all United States law.

               Still, we are interested here in present-day Israel. Endlessly, in the acrimonious Middle East, there have been assorted charges and counter-charges. From the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the late 1940s, a recurrent Palestinian defense against Israeli denunciation  of “terrorism” has been a counter-charge of IDF “disproportionality.”[4]

               What does authoritative international law say about any such defense? More precisely, what do variously codified and customary[5] legal norms stipulate about such purported violations of the law of war? These are not merely questions of opinion. The correct answers are discoverable only in authoritative legal rules.

               There are also various subsidiary questions. What are the pertinent risks?[6] What are corresponding leadership responsibilities?[7] And what is the “contextual” relevance of our fragmented planet’s continuously “Westphalian” system of international law?[8]

               Soon, a reciprocal question will also need to be raised. To the extent that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their more-or-less recognizable insurgent allies choose a policy form of “human shields,” the Palestinian side[9] is guilty of “perfidy.” Any such policy is illegal on its face,[10] and qualifies ipso facto as a conspicuously “grave breach” of relevant Geneva Conventions.[11] Easily the most critical legal effect of perfidy committed by Palestinian insurgent leaders – and an effect that Jerusalem ought to make more plainly evident to observers – is that it immunizes Israeli officials from any responsibility for inadvertent counterterrorist harms suffered by Arab civilians.

                There are many pertinent specifics available for competent study. Perfidy is identified as a “grave breach” at Article 147 of Geneva Convention IV. Deception can be legally acceptable in armed conflict, but The Hague Regulations expressly disallow any placement of military assets or personnel in populated civilian areas. Variously related prohibitions of perfidy can be found at Protocol I of 1977, additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949.  These rules are also binding on the discrete but still-intersecting basis of customary international law,[12]a jurisprudential source identified at Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice.[13]

               Presently embroiled in yet another violent struggle with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and/or assorted kindred groups,[14] Israel will need to proceed diligently with its identification of proper legal arguments. Optimally appropriate steps would best ensure that Palestinian war crimes could never get in the way of Israel’s indispensable self-defense postures, and that Jerusalem could readily abide by all authoritative expectations of humanitarian international law.[15] Ultimately, though of no immediate concern, this obligation would become most critical in circumstances where Sunni and/or Shiite terror attacks were to involve weapons of mass destruction.

               It’s time for candor. Such circumstances are implausible, but they are still conceivable. “The worst,” reminds Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt, “Sometimes does happen.”

                Though interpenetrating or intersecting, law and strategy should always be evaluated separately, as conceptually discrete elements of Israel’s unified military doctrine.[16] In this connection, Israel must take prompt measures to convince both its Palestinian insurgent foes and its state patrons that perfidious terrorist aggressions would be revealed in law and opposed in practice. These remedial or corrective measures could create an efficient “force multiplier” for Israel, one wherein the “whole” desired anti-insurgent effect would be greater than the decipherable sum of legal and military “parts.”

               In law, considerations of distinction (discrimination), proportionality and military necessity[17]  set defined limits on the use of armed force. Always, under the customary and codified expectations of the law of war, these three interpenetrating criteria remain unequivocally binding. When Israel’s terrorist enemies declare an IDF attack to be “disproportionate,” they wittingly ignore that the rule of proportionality does not demand tangibly equivalent military harms.

               It demands only an amount of force that ispresumptively militarily necessary.

               For the most part, the key issues here are clear and straightforward. Any gratuitous infliction of harms is illegal under the longstanding law of war, but pertinent harms need never be of any determinably equivalent magnitude. If such equivalence were an actual authoritative expectation, the United States, following its August 1945 atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would represent the single most egregious offender of “proportionality” standards in human legal history.

                There is more. In the main, governing jurisprudence in such complex matters is unhidden. Inevitably, perfidy and perfidy-like behavior represent an especially serious violation of the law of war or law of armed conflict. During Israel’s several Gaza wars, perfidy was exploited with some measure of tactical success by Hamas, but perhaps far more importantly, with considerable propagandistic benefit. This is the case primarily because the Israeli side has never been sufficiently clear in condemning the Palestinian terror group’s linguistic manipulations.

               On various carefully-choreographed occasions, the practice of “human shields” was justified by the Palestinian side in terms of alleged Israeli “disproportionality.” Though clearly successful as Hamas propaganda, these justifications were simply concocted Palestinian claims. In essence, they were premised upon irrelevant and intentional manipulations of acceptable legal definition. When Palestinian insurgents claimed the right to “any means necessary” against Israel, they adopted a powerful and compelling argument, but one that still remained immutably illegal.

               Contrary to oft-repeated Palestinian claims and the derivative claims of assorted insurgent supporters, the rule of “proportionality” under humanitarian international law does not obligate any intentional symmetry in the use of armed force. Yet, these claims continue to represent a markedly useful tactic in mobilizing world public opinion against Israel. All things considered, this tactic has represented a textbook example of Palestinian “lawfare” at its practical best and law-violating worst.

               International law always regulates world system behaviors. In its particular manifestation as the law of war, international law requires every use of force (whether exercised by a uniformed army or by irregular/insurgent force) to meet the test of “proportionality.” Drawn in part from the rudimentary legal precept that “the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited,”[18] this test of proportionality stipulates that every resort to armed force remain limited to what is presumed necessary for meeting legitimate military objectives.

               Here, the peremptory or jus cogens principle of codified and customary jurisprudence applies to all judgments of military advantage and to all planned reprisals or retaliations. It does not mean that each side to an ongoing conflict must at any time agree to suffering or imposing symmetrical harms.

               “Justice,” we may learn originally from Plato’s Republic, means “a contract neither to do nor to suffer wrong.”[19]Unless there should be substantially greater understanding that perfidious or perfidious-type behavior by insurgents places direct legal responsibility for correlative harms on that insurgency, and not on the victimized state or population, sub-state foes could sometime decide to escalate hostilities. Such manifestly dangerous terrorist escalations could eventually embrace mega-terror assaults on Israel. These assaults could sometime include an actual use of destructive nuclear weapon technologies.[20]

               To best manage and inhibit such consequential enemy escalations, Jerusalem will have to choose between creating a maximally seamless web of national deterrence (ranging from narrowly conventional to broadly nuclear retaliatory attacks) and allowing certain enemy forces to proceed directly toward WMD terrorist capacities.[21]

               For now, such Israeli judgments will have to be made without “benefit” of any relevant historical experience. In scientific terms, there can never be any authentic assessments of probability in the absence of pertinent past events. Among other things, the persuasiveness of Israeli deterrent threats will require Israel’s time-relevant foe to believe that Jerusalem is willing to launch appropriate military retaliations andis simultaneously capable of inflicting “unacceptable damage.” Included in this basic requirement of perceived capability would be the capacity to penetrate enemy active defenses.

               There is more. This means, in turn, that Israel’s offensive military forces must stay at least “one step ahead” of any determined enemy’s missile defense systems. If this tactical advantage were not present, Israel’s enemy or enemies, no longer having to anticipate unacceptable reprisals, could sometime feel sufficiently inclined to strike first itself. In such a scenario, by definition, critical Israeli deterrence could fail altogether.[22]

               Terrorism, like perfidy, is a codified crime under authoritative international law, but the discrete and component crimes are mutually reinforcing rather than mutually exclusive. De jure, any human shields-based deceptions launched by anti-Israel terrorists would effectively add a second layer of illegality to an already underlying insurgent dereliction. Though frequently disregarded, minimized or disputed, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and Hezbollah insurgencies are inherently illegal. This is true even if one were to assume “just cause” in all or some of these terror groups.

               In law, perfidious tactics are not “only” mala prohibita (“evil as prohibited”), but also malae in se (“evil in themselves”). This characterization also applies to “lone wolf” terrorist attackers. Many of the most recent Palestinian terrorists identified by Israel were of this “lone wolf” variety.

               And there is more to learn about deception. The terrorist crime of perfidy is not about deception as such. Under humanitarian international law, deception is never impermissible on its face. Some forms of deception are generally permitted to states and selectively to lawful insurgents; that is, to those with arguably “just cause.” Nonetheless, the specific practice of human shields is always illegal. Its universal prohibition extends to all operational combatants: state, sub-state and individual.

               During Israel’s several Lebanon wars,[23] Hezbollah, assisted by Syria and Iran, placed its weapons and fighters in carefully selected areas of Arab civilian population. In the past, ISIS, which at some earlier point might have been inclined to confront Israel directly, openly employed a human shields strategy in its battle for Mosul (Iraq). At that time, this prohibited strategy was still useful in providing ISIS with tangible tactical advantages.

               Despite former US President Donald Trump’s reassurances years back that “ISIS has been defeated,” the Sunni terror group remained more-or-less active in various parts of the Sinai Peninsula. Not to be forgotten by Israel or its US ally is that the ISIS enemy was never so much a distinct group or organization of compartmentalized Islamic adversaries as it was an enemy ideology. Such an ideology can never be eliminated by sending in more and more bombs or missiles. America, one hopes, ought by now to have learned this same primary lesson in Afghanistan.

               To wage successful war against any Jihadist ideology,[24] Israel’s primary “battlefield” must be analytic or intellectual.[25] In the ancient Greek and Macedonian worlds, this form of struggle was identified as one of “mind over mind” rather than “mind over matter.”[26] For Israel, the earlier identification remains valid.

               Sooner or later, certain of Israel’s Arab/Islamic terrorist enemies, perhaps under cover of perfidy, will begin a quantum magnification of operational goals.  Then, more or less systematically, these adversaries will strive to exploit the particular methods and harms that already lie latent in WMD violence.  In one seldom-mentioned nuance of this threat, the enemy party, whether state or terror-organization, could aim its conventional rockets against Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona.[27] Though unprecedented, the basic results of any such attack are not difficult to fathom.

                The dangers of extraordinary unconventional terrorism could be enlarged in the absence of ordinary strategic logic. Moreover, these dangers could become still more consequential if insurgent enemies of Israel and their allies would become more expressly oriented toward what French philosopher Albert Camus (The Rebel; 1956) called “crimes of passion.”  Here, animated by the clarion call of jihad and operating outside of any rules of rationality – outside what Camus calls “crimes of logic” – these terrorists could sometime opt for inflicting chemical, biological or (potentially) nuclear destruction upon Israel. In this connection, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistent threats of “unimaginable” reprisals against Hamas missed the point.

               Foreseeably, any terrorist nuclear threat would be limited to a “dirty bomb” attack, although it could already extend, at least in principle, to assorted conventional assaults upon Israel’s Dimona reactor. It is even possible that the selection of WMD terror would be detached from any rationally considered calculations of geopolitical advantage. Plainly, there exists no good historical or intellectual reason to expect only rational behavior in world politics.

               Writing about the species of fear that arises from tragedy, ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle emphasized in Poetics that such fear “demands a person who suffers undeservedly” and must also be felt by “one of ourselves.”  This fear, or terror, has little or nothing to do with any private concerns for impending misfortune to others, but rather from our own perceived resemblance to the victim. Terror, therefore, is generally fear referred back to ourselves. The credible threat of chemical, biological, or nuclear terrorism could sometime prove purposeful from the jointly comprehensive standpoints of enemy passion and enemy logic.

               Going forward, Israel should more clearly communicate to its insurgent foes that any contemplated excursions into higher-order forms of destruction could never elicit Israeli capitulations. To ensure that such communications have the best possible chances of success, it is most important that Israel’s terrorist enemies foresee no meaningful advantages to staging “perfidious” assaults. Always, for the State of Israel, law and strategy must be contemplated together, as closely interdependent parts of a single coherent national security policy.[28]

               There remains one last point concerning tangible links of Israeli counter-terrorism strategy to US foreign policy. A few years ago, former President Donald J. Trump pointed with ostentatious and self-congratulatory pride to the “Abraham Accords,”[29] but these agreements negotiated via America’s “good offices” did nothing to meaningfully reduce the probability or intensity of Israel-terrorist conflict. In essence, they did little more than marginally improve Israel’s relations with states that had never been real anti-Israel belligerents. Quite plainly, Israelis ought not sleep any better at night knowing that a surprise attack from Bahrain, UAE, Sudan or Morocco is now less likely.

               There is a connected and concluding observation. Israel’s adversarial relationship with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian insurgent groups can never be improved by forging national agreements with secondary-state foes.[30] Agreements like the Trump-brokered Abraham Accords were designed only for the former president’s domestic political benefit, and merely exacerbated Israel’s relations with its Palestinian foes. To finally get beyond its corrosively belligerent relations with the Palestinian side, Israel’s diplomacy will need to be based upon more authentically intellectual and legal foundations. In the interim, among other things, variously binding standards of international law should be acknowledged by all sides and by the wider global community. Before this can happen, however, all sides will likely be impacted by what happens in the Russian war against Ukraine, a uniquely barbarous post-World War II aggression[31] that harbors potentially nuclear elements.           

               This assessment of Israeli counter-terrorism has been about complex considerations of law and strategy. Accordingly, in legal and strategic terms, the world is always best studied as a system. If certain conventional-nuclear firebreaks are crossed for the first time by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, the consequences will be felt widely and deeply in various other places,[32] including the Middle East. It follows that Israel’s ongoing and escalating war on terror will have to draw systematically upon a broad variety of nuanced insights and intersecting operations.

               To do otherwise could prove too costly for Israel. Effective counter-terrorism is never a proper subject matter for “common sense” resolution. Its multiple and overlapping elements can never be suitably untangled by pundits, opportunists or politicos.

               Israeli counter-terrorism is a strategic and legal subject, one that should always be approached as both a systemic and dialectical[33] challenge. It follows, going forward, that the most valuable “armaments” available to Israeli security planners will plausibly be disciplined thinkers of uncommonly high intellect. In a national and global society long accustomed to identifying heroes with large guns and heavy missiles, acknowledging these “softer” armaments will not come easily.

               Nonetheless, such acknowledgment will prove indispensable to effective and law-based security protections.

[1] The laws of war pertain not only to Israel, but also to its terror-group adversaries. Applying the laws of war to insurgent forces dates back to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Further, as more than codified treaties and conventions comprise the comprehensive law of war, authoritative obligations of jus in bello (justice in war) represent a fully-binding part of “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations” (phrase from Art. 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice). Humanitarian international law binds all categories of belligerents. Hague Convention IV of 1907 further declares that in the absence of a precisely published set of guidelines regarding “unforeseen cases,” the operative pre-conventional sources of humanitarian international law still obtain and still govern all belligerency.

[2] The US Neutrality Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 960 (originally Sec. 25) (1794) was enacted in order to formally incorporate international law standards. Pertinent Congressional authority derived most specifically from article 1, Section 8, clause 10 of the U.S. Constitution. See also Talbot v. Jansen, 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 133, 156 (1795) (Paterson, J). In the words of Mr. Justice Gray, delivering the judgment of the US Supreme Court in Paquete Habana (1900): “International law is part of our law, and must be ascertained and administered by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction….” (175 U.S. 677(1900)) See also: Opinion in Tel-Oren vs. Libyan Arab Republic (726 F. 2d 774 (1984)).The more specific incorporation of treaty law into US municipal law is expressly codified at Art. 6 of the US Constitution, the so-called “Supremacy Clause.”  For pertinent earlier decisions by Justice John Marshall, see: The Antelope, 23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 66, 120 (1825); The Nereide, 13 U.S. (9 Cranch) 388, 423 (1815); Rose v. Himely, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 241, 277 (1808) and Murray v. The Schooner Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 64, 118 (1804).

[3] See: 2 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 4, “Of Public Wrongs” (1765-1769). Most famously, in this regard, was the main Nuremberg Trial (IMT) following World War II:  See: “Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal ” Nuremberg, 14 November 1944‑1 October 1946, 42 vols., IMT Secretariat, Nuremberg, 1947‑9. Cited by A.P. D’entreves, Natural Law 110 (1951).

[4] The principle of proportionality is contained in the rules governing the resort to armed conflict (jus ad bellum) and in the rules governing the actual conduct of hostilities (jus in bello).  In the former, proportionality relates to self-defense.  In the latter, it relates to conduct of belligerency. Proportionality is itself derivative from the more basic principle that belligerent rights are not unlimited See notably Hague Convention No. IV (1907), Annex to the Convention, Section II (Hostilities), Art. 22: “The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.”

[5] Article 38(1)(b) of the STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE describes international custom as “evidence of a general practice accepted as law.” The essential significance of a norm’s customary character is that the norms bind even those states that are not parties to the pertinent codification. Even where a customary norm and a norm restated in treaty form are apparently identical, these norms are treated as jurisprudentially discrete. During the merits phase of MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES IN AND AGAINST NICARAGUA, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated: “Even if two norms belonging to two sources of international law appear identical in content, and even if the States in question are bound by these rules both on the level of treaty-law and on that of customary international law, these norms retain a separate existence.” See: MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES IN AND AGAINST NICARAGUA, Nicar. V. US., Merits, 1986 ICJ, Rep. 14 (Judgment of 27 June).

[6] Risks include decisional error and could take variously different and overlapping forms. Such forms include a disorderly or inconsistent value system; computational errors in calculation; an incapacity to communicate efficiently; random or haphazard influences in the making or transmittal of particular decisions; and internal dissonance generated by any authoritative structure of collective decision-making.

[7] Criminal responsibility of leaders under international law is not limited to direct personal action nor is it limited by official position.  On the principle of command responsibility, or respondeat superior, see:  In re Yamashita, 327 U.S. 1 (1945); The High Command Case (The Trial of Wilhelm von Leeb), 12 Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals 1 (United Nations War Crimes Commission Comp., 1949); see Parks, Command Responsibility for War Crimes, 62 MIL.L. REV. 1 (1973); O’Brien, The Law of War, Command Responsibility and Vietnam, 60 GEO. L.J.  605 (1972); U.S. Dept. of The Army, Army Subject Schedule No. 27 – 1 (Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Hague Convention No. IV of 1907), 10 (1970).  The direct individual responsibility of leaders is also unambiguous in view of the London Agreement, which denies defendants the protection of the act of state defense.  See AGREEMENT FOR THE PROSECUTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS OF THE EUROPEAN AXIS, Aug. 8, 1945, 59 Stat.  1544, E.A.S.  No. 472, 82 U.N.T.S.  279, art. 7.

[8] For authoritative legal origins of this self-help system of international law (aka “Westphalian law”) see: Treaty of Peace of Munster, Oct. 1648, 1 Consol. T.S. 271; Treaty of Peace of Osnabruck, Oct. 1648, 1 Consol. T.S. 119. Together, these two treaties comprise the “Treaty of Westphalia.” The de facto condition of Westphalian anarchy stands in contrast to the jurisprudential assumption of solidarity between states. This law-based assumption concerns a presumptively common legal struggle against aggression. terrorism and genocide. Such a “peremptory” expectation, known formally in law as a jus cogens assumption, was already mentioned in Justinian, Corpus Juris Civilis (533 CE); Hugo Grotius, 2 De Jure Belli ac Pacis Libri Tres, Ch. 20 (Francis W. Kesey., tr, Clarendon Press, 1925) (1690); and Emmerich de Vattel, 1 Le Droit des Gens, Ch. 19 (1758).

[9] All such Palestinian terror has early roots in the Palestinian National Covenant. Calling officially for sustained Arab violence against Israel, this document was adopted in 1964, three years before the 1967 Six Day War. This means, significantly, that the PLO’s core guidance on terror was first published – together with its explicit references to the annihilation of Israel – three years before there were any “occupied territories,” For the Palestinian Authority, which until October, 2015, had still officially agreed to accept a “Two-State Solution,” the underlying and inherently lawless position of protracted war was part of a much broader strategy of incorporating Israel into “Palestine.” This irredentist incorporation was already codified on all PA maps. The most unambiguous Palestinian call for the removal of Israel remains the PLO’s “Phased Plan” of June 9, 1974. This Plan represents an unhidden commitment to carry out various certifiable crimes against humanity. In contrast to more militant Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement), the Palestinian Authority is allegedly “moderate.”

[10] “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations. Geneva Convention No. IV, Art. 28 (1949) Also: “The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual citizens shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations.” Protocol Additional (No.1) to the Geneva Convention, Art. 51 (1977)

[11]The term “Grave Breaches” applies to certain infractions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol I of 1977.  The actions defined as “Grave Breaches” in the four Conventions must be performed willfully or intentionally, and against the different groups of “protected person” identified by each Convention.  The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions are under obligation “to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed,” a grave breach of the Convention.  As defined at Art. 147 of Geneva Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (6 U.S.T.  3516, signed on Aug. 12 1949, at Geneva),  Grave Breaches  “shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.  Reference to Grave Breaches can also be found in the INTERIM REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF EXPERTS, UNITED NATIONS DOCUMENT, S/25274, January 2, 1993, at Sec. 3., Art. 47.

[12] Article 38(1)(b) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice describes international custom as “evidence of a general practice accepted as law.”  59 Stat.  1031, T.S. No. 993 (June 26, 1945). 

[13] On the main corpus of jus in bello or humanitarian international law, see:  Convention No. IV Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, With Annex of Regulations, October 18, 1907.  36 Stat. 2277, T.S. No. 539, 1 Bevans 631 (known commonly as the “Hague Regulations:); Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.  Done at Geneva, Aug. 12, 1949.  Entered into force, Oct. 21, 1950.  6 U.S.T. 3114, T.I.A.S. No. 3362, 75 U.N.T.S. 31; Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea.  Done at Geneva, Aug. 12, 1949.  Entered into force, Oct. 21, 1950. 6 U.S.T. 3217, T.I.A.S. No. 3363, 75 U.N.T.S. 85; Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.  Done at Geneva, Aug. 12, 1949.  Entered into force, Oct. 21, 1950.  6 U.S.T. 3316, T.I.A.S. No. 3364, 75 U.N.T.S. 135; Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.  Done at Geneva, Aug. 12, 1949.  Entered into force, Oct. 21, 1950.  6 U.S.T. 3516, T.I.A.S. No. 3365, 75 U.N.T.S. 287.

[14]Under authoritative international law, terrorist movements are always Hostes humani generis, or “Common enemies of mankind.” See: Research in International Law: Draft Convention on Jurisdiction with Respect to Crime, 29 AM J. INT’L L. (Supp 1935) 435, 566 (quoting King v. Marsh (1615), 3 Bulstr. 27, 81 Eng. Rep 23 (1615) (“a pirate est Hostes humani generis”)).

[15] None of this is meant to suggest that Palestinian populations ought ever to be deprived of their peremptory human and/or political rights, but only to clarify comprehensively that the ends can never justify the means under authoritative international law. For example, the popular Palestinian terrorist defense of “by any means necessary” can never be deemed acceptable to law and justice.

[16] Formal doctrine is the required framework from which proper strategic goals should be suitably extrapolated. Generically, in “standard” or orthodox military thinking, such doctrine describes the tactical manner in which national forces ought to fight in various combat situations, the prescribed “order of battle,” and variously assorted corollary operations. The literal definition of “doctrine” derives from Middle English, from the Latin doctrina, meaning teaching, learning, and instruction. Always, a central importance of codified military doctrine lies not only in the way it can animate, unify and optimize pertinent military forces, but also in the way it can transmit certain desired “messages” to an enemy.

[17]The principle of “military necessity” has been defined authoritatively by the United States: “Only that degree and kind of force, not otherwise prohibited by the law of armed conflict, required for the partial or complete submission of the enemy with a minimum expenditure of time, life, and physical resources may be applied.” See: United States, Department of the Navy, jointly with Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; and Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M, Norfolk, Virginia, October 1995, p. 5-1.

[18]  See especially, Hague Convention (No. IV); (1907); “Annex to the Convention,” Section II, “Hostilities,” Chapter 1, Art. 22., “The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.”

[19] See also, Philus in Bk III, Sec. 5 of Cicero, DE REPUBLICA.

[20] Regarding early writings by this author on nuclear terrorism, see:  Louis René Beres, Security Threats and Effective Remedies: Israel’s Strategic, Tactical and Legal Options, Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel), Policy Paper # 102, April 2000, 110pp; Louis René Beres,  Terrorism and Global Security: The Nuclear Threat, second ed., (Boulder and London:  Westview Press,  1987);  and Louis René Beres,  “Confronting Nuclear Terrorism,”  The Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 14,  No. 1.,  Fall 1990,  pp. 129 – 154;  Summer 1994.

[21] Israel’s nuclear strategy could have meaningful implications for U.S. national security. On these widely ignored connections, see Louis René Beres and (General/USA/ret.) Barry McCaffrey, ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR STRATEGY AND AMERICA’S NATIONAL SECURITY, Tel-Aviv University and Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv, December 2016:

[22]  Reciprocally, Israel must ensure the durability of its own active defenses. Still, anti-missile deployments can never be “leak proof,” and could sometime resemble a refashioned Bar-Lev line. Such a deterioration would encourage false reassurances, and provide little if any soft-target protection. In the more existential case of Israeli space based defense against ballistic missiles, this refashioned Bar-Lev line could display “orbiting” characteristics. On Israel and Arrow, see: Louis René Beres and Major-General (IDF/ret.) Isaac Ben-Israel, “Think Anticipatory Self-Defense,” The Jerusalem Post, October 22, 2007; Professor Beres and Major-General Ben-Israel, “The Limits of Deterrence,” Washington Times, November 21, 2007; Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iran,” Washington Tines, June 10, 2007; and Professor Beres and MG Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iranian Nuclear Attack,” Washington Times, January 27, 2009.

[23] See generally Louis René Beres, After the Falling Rockets from Lebanon: Interrelated

Commentaries on Israel’s Performance and Survival, 10 NATIV ONLINE(2006), available at 0.htm.

[24] In Man and Crisis (1958), 20th century Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y’Gasset observes: “History is an illustrious war against death.” This comment is especially relevant in regard to present-day Jihadist terrorism. Ultimately, power over death represents the greatest conceivable form of terrorist power anywhere on earth; but acquiring such power in world politics can call for the killing of certain despised “others.”

[25]  Says Guillaume Apollinaire: “It must not be forgotten that it is perhaps more dangerous for a nation to allow itself to be conquered intellectually than by arms.” See: The New Spirit and the Poets, 1917.

[26] The core importance of thoughtful military doctrine – of attention to the complex intellectual antecedents of any actual battle – had been recognized by early Greek and Macedonian strategists and military planners. See, on this still-vital and increasingly urgent recognition, F.E. Adcock, The Greek and Macedonian Art of War (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1962), especially Chapter IV.

[27] Hamas fired rockets at Dimona back in 2014, and Saddam Hussein launched several Scud-B rockets toward Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.  For an early and informed consideration of reactor attack effects, see:  Bennett Ramberg, Destruction of Nuclear Energy Facilities in War (Lexington MA:  Lexington Books, 1980); and Bennett Ramberg, “Attacks on Nuclear Reactors: The Implications of Israel’s Strike on Osiraq,” Political Science Quarterly, Winter 1982-83; pp. 653 – 669. More recently, see: Bennett Ramberg, “Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor,”Arms Control Today,May 2008, pp. 6-13.

[28] Israel could also consider various formal treaty-like pacts with pertinent terrorist group enemies, but recognize, at the same time, that such pacts could contain the same sorts of lurking dangers as would treaties with state enemies. In law, terror group organizations may sometimes enter into valid agreements with states, but it need not follow that they would be any more likely than enemy states to comply. Regarding the purely legal aspects of such pacts, see: H. Lauterpacht, International Law: Collected Papers, Vol.1, 1975, pp. 494-495; and I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, 4th ed., 1990, Part II, pp. 65-66.

[29] See, on the Abraham Accords: To be considered as a complementary agreement, see the Israel-Sudan Normalization Agreement (October 23, 2020) and Israel-Morocco Normalization Agreement (December 10, 2020).

[30] Some current Israeli supporters of a Palestinian state argue that its prospective harms to Israel could be reduced or even eliminated by ensuring that state’s immediate “demilitarization.” For informed reasoning against this naive argument, see: Louis René Beres and (Ambassador) Zalman Shoval, “Why a Demilitarized Palestinian State Would Not Remain Demilitarized: A View Under International Law,” Temple International and Comparative Law Journal, Winter 1998, pp. 347-363; and Louis René Beres and Ambassador Shoval, “On Demilitarizing a Palestinian `Entity’ and the Golan Heights: An International Law Perspective,” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vo. 28., No.5., November 1995, pp. 959-972.

[31]See especially: RESOLUTION ON THE DEFINITION OF AGGRESSION, Dec. 14, 1974, U.N.G.A. Res. 3314 (XXIX), 29 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 31) 142, U.N. Doc. A/9631, 1975, reprinted in 13 I.L.M. 710, 1974; and CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS, Art. 51. Done at San Francisco, June 26, 1945. Entered into force for the United States, Oct. 24, 1945, 59 Stat. 1031, T.S. No. 993, Bevans 1153, 1976, Y.B.U.N. 1043.

[32] As reciprocal, however, it is also vital to consider an American president’s authority and capacity to initiate a nuclear strike. In this connection, see by this writer:  Louis René Beres, See also: Professor Beres is the author of twelve published books dealing with nuclear command decisions, including Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (The University of Chicago Press, 1980), and, in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

[33] Nuclear strategists should always approach their subject as a dialecticalseries of thoughts, one wherein each important idea presents a complication that moves onward to the next thought or idea. Central to this dialectic is the obligation to continue thinking, an obligation that can never be fulfilled altogether because of what the philosophers call an infinite regress problem. Still, it is an obligation that must be undertaken as fully and as competently as possible. The term “dialectic” originates from an early Greek expression for the art of conversation. A currently more common meaning is that dialectic is a method of seeking truth by correct reasoning. More precisely, it offers a method of refutation by examining logical consequences, and also the logical development of thought via thesis and antithesis to an eventual synthesis of opposites. In the middle dialogues of Plato, dialectic emerges as the quintessential form of proper philosophical/analytical method. Here, Plato describes the dialectician as one who knows how to ask, and then answer, questions. In the particular matter of Israeli nuclear strategy, this kind of knowledge must precede all other compilations and inventories of military facts, figures, force structures and power balances.

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In the quarterly meeting of its monetary policy committee, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) repeatedly mentioned price stabilization in...

Science & Technology10 hours ago

Artificial intelligence and moral issues. Towards transhumanism?

As artificial intelligence travels through the solar system and gets to explore the heliosphere (enclosing the planets), it will adapt...