Corri Zoli Analyzes Immigration Debate on WAER

SU National Security Researcher Takes Fact-Based Approach to Charged Immigration Debate

(WAER | Jan. 8, 2019) A Syracuse University researcher is trying to take the politics and emotions out of illegal immigration and border security, even with the president’s address to the nation Tuesday evening. Dr. Corri Zoli is Director of Research at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. She says the political dynamics on both sides are counter-productive to arriving at a more permanent solution for the southern border.

“We’re seeing right now a real spike in unaccompanied minors and children essentially being dragged across the border.”

“If Congress had done a better job at clarifying immigration rules, laws, and statutes, which have been in need of reform for the last decade plus, then we wouldn’t have this level of resorting to politicizing this issue because it would be clarified in the law.”

So, Zoli says what we’re left with is a largely unsecured border that leads to a legal, humanitarian, and resource crisis. She says Department of Homeland Security data show tens of thousands of people affiliated with drug and human trafficking cartels are penetrating the border every year.

“We’re seeing right now a real spike in unaccompanied minors and children essentially being dragged across the border. Why are they doing that? Because the complexities of our law create incentives for traffickers to have a child with them” …

Read the full article.

 

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Mythbusting: INSCT, IVMF Veterans Research Reported by Military Times

(Military Times | Jan. 5, 2019) Here’s something everyone can agree on: The way the public views veterans isn’t always accurate.

Take the assumption that all veterans have served in combat and have post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Or that people only go into the military because they can’t get into college.

Those are just a couple of the “persistent, recycled myths” about veterans that Syracuse University researchers addressed during a session at the Student Veterans of America National Conference Friday, using both federal data and an 8,600-person survey of the military community to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the nation’s youngest generation of veterans.

On one hand, studies by Gallup, Pew Research and others have shown there is “enormous public support (for the military) but at the same time a tremendous gap in knowledge about who we’re supporting,” said Corri Zoli, director of research at Syracuse’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. “They don’t have a lot of granular detail about who they’re supporting and why.”

Myth 1: Veterans are a small subset of the population

The number that’s often thrown out is 1 percent, but that applies to active duty troops, researchers said. As of 2017, federal data show veterans make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, with post-9/11 veterans the fastest growing group among them.

Myth 2: Veterans join the military because they could not get into college and are uneducated

According to federal data collected in the 2017 Current Population Survey, 35 percent of post-9/11 veterans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31 percent of all veterans and 32 percent of the general U.S. population.

Rosalinda Maury, a researcher with the Syracuse Institute for Veterans and Military Families, said education benefits tend to be a top recruiting incentive, and the military promotes and prepares service members for post-secondary education …

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The Shadow of Unlawful Command Influence

By David M. Crane

(Jurist | Jan. 4, 2019) The cornerstone of military justice is ensuring that commanders at all levels, called convening authorities, do not influence the lawful carrying out of investigations and prosecutions of service members who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Developed through customs of the service over two centuries and codified by Congress in the early 1950’s, the UCMJ has been a model for the rule of law ensuring America’s armed forces conduct themselves in a way that would not bring discredit to the United States or a service. It’s a system that works, ensuring all of the constitutional protections afforded American citizens are available to its fighting forces, with some exceptions.

Military justice is an important tool for commanders to ensure that US armed forces conduct themselves for the good order and discipline of the service.

Military justice is an important tool for commanders to ensure that US armed forces conduct themselves for the good order and discipline of the service. This is the sine qua non of the system: good order and discipline. Commanders are charged with this important duty.

Stung by the misconduct of mercenaries hired from Hesse in Germany by the British to fight during the Revolutionary War, America’s armed forces were created under the principles of customs of the service and good order and discipline. It is a proud tradition and a system that has worked for centuries overseen by a civilian US appellate court made up of five Senate confirmed judges. An Article 1 Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ensures the system comports with law, policy, tradition and the Constitution. One of its important duties is to monitor the possibility of any hint of unlawful command influence.

If unlawful command influence is found to have occurred during the creation of a court’s martial proceeding, military appellate courts or the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will reverse any conviction. Further investigation and follow-up administrative or judicial punishment may occur against any commander having even attempted to, or in fact, influenced a proceeding. It’s serious, and at a minimum, career ending for a commander. It rarely happens. Commanders know their duties vis a vis the UCMJ.

Recently, President Trump, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States (a commander under the UCMJ) declared that a decorated special operations officer was being unfairly investigated/prosecuted for an alleged murder of an Afghan civilian. That is unlawful command influence …

Read the whole article.

Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

 
 

 

 

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Searching for Justice: The Courier Speaks to Corri Zoli on the 30th Anniversary of the Lockerbie Disaster

Staring into the ‘bowels of hell’: Lockerbie disaster 30 years on and the ongoing transatlantic search for justice

In an exclusive interview marking the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, Michael Alexander speaks to an American terrorism expert whose university is marking the loss of 35 of its students in the attack – and hears the ‘hellish’ memories of several journalists who covered the aftermath.

(The Courier | Dec. 21, 2018) Cruising at a height of 31,000 feet and packed with students embarking on the long journey home to America for Christmas, passengers on board New York-bound Pan Am flight 103 were just 38 minutes into their flight from London Heathrow when at 7.03pm on December 21, 1988, a bomb exploded on board as the Boeing 747 flew over the Scottish borders.

“I had a briefing fairly recently from the FBI and the Scottish prosecutors on this. They talked about the various leads that they were pursuing in this long process.”

As well as killing all 259 people on the aircraft, the falling debris which hit the town of Lockerbie two minutes later, also wiped out 11 people on the ground.

As bodies, luggage and debris tumbled six miles through the sky, the most devastating carnage in the town came as the wings containing thousands of gallons of aviation fuel exploded on impact – gouging out a huge crater in Sherwood Crescent and obliterating two houses and their inhabitants with it …

… It’s a chapter which is of particular interest to terrorism expert Dr Corri Zoli – Syracuse University’s director of research at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, and a teaching professor of law.

In an exclusive interview with The Courier, she revealed she was recently briefed by the FBI and Scottish prosecutors on the ongoing criminal and civil cases against alleged co-conspirators.

While she knows there was controversy around al-Megrahi’s prosecution, she thinks there was “good strong evidence” for him being involved – particularly as the late Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi admitted his country’s involvement in 2003.

She’s confident that, despite the complications of a trans-national investigation and liaising with “unstable” countries like Libya, further prosecutions will take place.

“I had a briefing fairly recently from the FBI and the Scottish prosecutors on this,” she said.

“They talked about the various leads that they were pursuing in this long process.

“They actually were closer to finding information in part because there has been destabilisation in Libya.

“They were getting access to records they hadn’t been able to gain access to before. So I do think there will be that level of justice in terms of prosecuting people beyond those who have already been prosecuted.”

Dr Zoli, who has worked at Syracuse since 2009, said the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 was “shocking” in all the ways that terrorist attacks are shocking.

It was atypical in that hijackings were the most prevalent form of terrorism at the time and, some 13 years before 9/11, it was unusual in that it targeted Americans. It was also relatively rare for bombs to eliminate aircraft in flight.

However, the fact there were 35 American students on board from a single university was in itself “quite unprecedented” …

Staring into the ‘bowels of hell’: Lockerbie disaster 30 years on and the ongoing transatlantic search for justice

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Corri Zoli to Attend UNSC Counterterrorism Special Meeting on the “Madrid Principles”

Zoli_UN_MeetingINSCT Director of Research Corri Zoli has been invited to attend a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee on Dec. 13, 2018, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York City. The meeting will discuss “Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017): A Review of the Madrid Principles,” a document that provides guidance to member states on stemming the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) across national borders, while staying compliant with human rights laws and norms.  

In particular, explains UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Chair Gustavo Meza-Cuadra in his letter of invitation, the special meeting will tackle the issue of FTFs “in light of the evolving threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, particularly FTF returnees and relocators and their family members.” The review of the Madrid Principles also will examine gaps that may hinder states’ abilities to detect, interdict, prosecute, rehabilitate, and reintegrate FTF returnees and their families, as well as identify good practices.

Among the working sessions will be those on “border security and information-sharing”; “global research perspectives on cross-cutting trends”; “countering incitement, recruitment, and violent extremism”; and “judicial measures, international cooperation, and prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration strategies.” Invited discussants include Edmund Fitton-Brown of the Analytical and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Elisabeth Neugebauer, Deputy Special Representative, International Criminal Police Organization; and Tanya Mehra, International Centre for Counterterrorism, The Hague.

The Madrid Principles were developed from a July 2015 special meeting hosted by the Government of Spain and co-organized by the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), with which INSCT collaborates on counterterrorism prevention. This Madrid meeting was attended by member states from every region of the world, as well as representatives of international and regional organizations, universities, and civil society groups. Discussions and technical sessions identified 35 guiding principles that were subsequently adopted by the Security Council and offered as a practical tool for use by member states in their efforts to combat terrorism.

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Three Men and a Body: Media in the Age of the Strongman

By David M. Crane 

(Jurist | Oct. 31, 2018)  The blaming of attempted bombings of prominent democratic leaders and opponents of President Trump on a vindictive press by him at a public rally casts a dark shadow over a bleak landscape where once the freedom of the press was a corner stone of our democracy.  Declaring the press in the United States an “enemy of the people” rings reminiscent of attacks on the press in Germany of the 1930’s.

“Though dictators throughout history attack and then silence a critical press, the 21st century has seen the rise of the strongman, particularly in the past few years and with it more direct and violent attempts to muzzle the media.”

Around the world, strongmen have been attacking the concept of freedom of the press, as well as members of the press themselves. Putin has blatantly singled out members of the Russian press critical of his policies and shot them, poisoned them, run them over, and even thrown them off buildings.

Recently the direction by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), to kill Washington Post reporter and commentator Jamal Khashoggi is a further attack on members of the media who criticize a strongman. The crisis that followed quickly drew in three men, all arrogant and disdainful of the law, hypocritically mouthing words they did not believe in order to quell the outrage, to support each other, or to gain political advantage. Those men are MBS, Erdogan, and Trump.

Though dictators throughout history attack and then silence a critical press, the 21st century has seen the rise of the strongman, particularly in the past few years and with it more direct and violent attempts to muzzle the media. With a surprising rapidity, the stepping forward of nationalistic politicians onto the world stage where they used to dwell on the fringes of society, mainly in the political shadows, has caught liberal democracies off guard. Such thinking seemed to be behind us, not any longer.

The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi is indicative of this new inward thinking nationalism and it’s hatred of the press not seen since the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. Using terms such as fake news as a shield; the likes of Trump, Putin, Li, Erdogan, Duterte, MBS, among other strongmen, have begun to move societies against the media. With chants led by the President of the United States, “CNN Sucks!” augers poorly for American society and the world as a whole.

The loss of moral leadership by the United States under Donald Trump has enabled the increased pressure and attacks on a critical press. These various strongmen feel that being held accountable is no longer a viable threat to their political position at home or abroad. Essentially the rule of law, so essential to the maintenance of international peace and security, is no longer a deterrent.

The American President is pushing away legal, diplomatic, and political norms that have been cornerstones to that peace and security since 1945. The threat of pulling out of key geopolitical organizations and treaties such as the World BankWorld Trade Organization, the INF treaty, even NATO, have turned the early 21st century into a kaleidoscopic world where nothing matters and old friendships and allies are declared threats. We tend to forget Trump calling Canada, Canada, a national security threat.

Declaring oneself a nationalist in a global economy and international community sounds like a certain German chancellor in the 1930’s who founded and came to power with a nationalist political party. That chancellor did two things very quickly on seizing power, go after a vulnerable minority blaming them for the nation’s problems and attacking and muzzling the German press. Dictators do this as a matter of course. Stalin, Mussolini and Mao Tse Tung used the same tactics …

Read the complete article.

Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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Corri Zoli Discusses Mail Bomb Attacks & Domestic Terrorism on Spectrum News

Are Recent Suspicious Packages an Act of Political Terrorism?

(Spectrum News | Oct. 25, 2018) One after the other, suspicious packages were delivered to the media and liberal leaders, many in New York City.

“This is a very painful time in our nation. It’s a time when people are feeling a lot of hate in the air,” said Bill de Blasio, (D) New York City Mayor.

Some are calling it domestic terrorism and others call it political terrorism.

“Someone one who might be trying to use scare tactics or trying to enhance political passions, make partisan divisions worse,” said Corri Zoli, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism Research Director.

It is a scary thought for a country largely functioning on a two-party system.

Zoli said, “It’s not accurate to characterize opposition groups as enemies in a two-party system that structures the United States.”

But, is that what we’re seeing?

In 2017, the target appeared to be on the other side of the aisle, members of Republican Congressional baseball team.

“Is this a retaliatory attack for those attacks? This is the problem with polarization. You get these kind of escalating dynamics…clearly this is an expression of partisanship gone awry,” said Zoli …

Watch the whole segment.

 

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The House We Built: How the US Walked Away from Decades of Accountability

By David M. Crane

(Jurist | Sept. 22, 2018) JURIST Guest Columnist David M. Crane, the founding chief prosecutor of the international war crime tribunal called the Special Court for Sierra Leone, discusses America’s decreasing role in maintaining the international order and the Trump Administration’s recent attacks on the International Criminal Court…

As the world turns inward, nationalistic perspectives are on the rise. It feels like 1930, where the international order laid out in the Versailles Treaty, was about to be turned upside down. Today, something terrible is lurking around the corner, sitting in the shadows of anarchy and fascism. The rule of law tentatively steps forward afraid of what comes next. In this kaleidoscopic age, we do not know. All the international institutions laid out after World War II are being threatened by strongmen who seek their own personal power over the backs of citizens who seem too addled by consumerism or in the depths of social media. It has become a dog eat dog world and the dogs are the new nationalistic strongmen who have risen to power in an astonishingly short period.

The cornerstones to our system of international peace and security, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the European Union among others, are faced with the reality of a diminished role by the United States in ensuring that the rule of law remains the fundamental currency of this international order. Since 9/11, the United States’ role in international peace and security has been more of a threat to peace than as a leader and champion of the rule of law. No more so than today.

By way of example related to this diminished role, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is about to release its report on 27 September regarding the depths of the horror that was the Retention, Detention, and Interrogation Program led by the current director of the Central intelligence Agency. After the planes crashed into the buildings on that fateful September day, the United States began to slip down a slope that had no bottom. The world recoiled in horror at subsequent American policy and actions related to its misguided “war on terror.” A blind and bleeding giant, the Americans swung the club of illegality about the world trying to kill the fly that was international terrorism. The United States has never really recovered from this mindset and has lost all credibility as a nation of law.

The 21st Century has not been good to the United States and its Presidents have stumbled along trying to adjust to a new world order that they were not prepared for. They have shown the world, particularly its possible adversaries, that today it would have to move on without American leadership in maintaining the delicate balance of peace and security. American strength and resolve to uphold the rule of law was once the fulcrum that balanced the forces of good and evil that the international community struggled with during the Cold War and the kaleidoscopic age we now live in.

With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, this slide into oblivion has accelerated. Unstable and petulant with no respect for law, he has thrown gasoline on the fire started by George W. Bush and the war on terror. Barack Obama, aware of this slide, drank the cool aid of the war on terror and did little to halt the movement away from global leadership on the rule of law. The arbitrary use of drones throughout the world and extrajudicial killings of human beings deemed “terrorist” is a good example of how much he embraced his predecessor’s policy. The fact that Guantanamo remained open under his watch moved the United States further down the dark and slippery slope of lawlessness.

Throughout this period, the rest of the world (minus China and Russia) focused on accountability and creating a system of international criminal law that was largely built by the United States. Initially begun at Nuremberg, the Americans were the leading advocates of fair and open tribunals to try those who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and eventually genocide. In the 1990’s, but for American leadership, the likes of the courts set up for Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, even the International Criminal Court, would not have happened. We were the master carpenters that built the house that is modern international criminal law, and yet we have just given away the keys to that house!

Recently, the United States once again has decided to drive a stake into the heart of international criminal law and accountability by attacking the International Criminal Court (ICC). Led by the National Security Advisor John Bolton, the Americans laid out a breath taking policy that would have shocked the original architect of the house the United States built at Nuremberg, Justice Robert H. Jackson.

Bolton has always wanted to destroy the ICC, beginning with the famous “Bolton Letter”, which practically speaking pulled the United States out of any meaningful relationship with the ICC. Though modified over time, the US has never been a leader in ensuring that the ICC succeeds. That house we build was left to others to maintain and protect, but we always kept the key, the key of United States’ adherence to the rule of law …

Read the whole article.

Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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The High North at the 2018 NATO Summit: A Missing Puzzle Piece?

By Kamil Szubart

On July 11-12, 2018, NATO’s head of states and governments met in Brussels to discuss the current security threats to NATO member states. The Brussels Summit was the third meeting, after NATO summits in Newport and Warsaw, leading to a security adaptation of the NATO Alliance to new strategic challenges in the Euro-Atlantic area after the 2014 Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“Despite that China has systematically increased its attention to the High North, Russia will remain the main military competitor for the Nordic states and entire NATO in the region in the nearly future.”

At the 2018 NATO Summit, politicians discussed fair burden-sharing demanded by US President Donald J. Trump, and they have agreed to reshape the NATO command structure by establishing two new operational commands—in the United States at Norfolk, VA, and in Germany at Ulm—to secure military movements across the Atlantic and within Europe. They also boosted cooperation between the European Union and NATO, confirmed NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan, launched a new training mission in Iraq, and balanced the Alliance present on both NATO’s eastern and south flanks.

All of these points were placed in the Brussels Summit Declaration, a 79-point document highlighting all decisions approved at the Summit. Unfortunately, not too much attention was given to NATO’s northern flank. NATO leaders kept up its 360° approach that applies to all geographical directions, including NATO’s northern flank. They also confirmed fruitful cooperation with Finland and Sweden. Both countries were invited for the Summit by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and looked forward to strengthening this cooperation (Article 52 of the Declaration).

But nothing was mentioned of the Arctic region, commonly known as the High North, which is a vital area for three European NATO members—Norway, Denmark, and Iceland—as well as for Canada and the United States, which are members of the Arctic Council. (The Arctic Council is composed of eight members: Canada, Denmark (representing Greenland and Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the US.)

Despite the fact that the High North is seeing currently peaceful cooperation, the growth of importance of the region and military capabilities of Russia could change this harmony. Therefore, Russian military presence in the High North demands a coherent response from the entire Alliance. Touching on this issue would help the Nordic partners, Canada, and the US strengthen security and prevent a prospective conflict in the region.

Russia’s Increased Presence in the High North

Europeans—ever since the Russian annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of violence in Donbas—have observed the rise of Russian assertiveness and hostile activities against NATO alongside its eastern and northern flanks (including the High North). Russia has systematically increased its presence in the High North, focusing on the dispute on the Arctic continental shelf about natural resources and securing maritime routes and arming the region.

Russia’s militarization of the High North had accelerated dramatically since 2014 when the Russian Ministry of Defense established the Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command based near Murmansk in the Kola Bay, which plans and commands military operations in the Arctic. On Nov. 30, 2016, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Foreign Policy Concept (FPC), replacing a 2013 document. Authors of the FPC have highlighted the strategic importance of the Arctic to Russia and its foreign and security policy and indicated that the area could witness the increase of international competition shortly. The FPC also completes the Russian military and naval doctrines emphasizing the necessity to increase Russia’s military presence in the High North.

Russia has systematically increased military expenditures to strengthen both conventional and nuclear forces, which could be used in a prospective conflict along its northern coast and on Arctic islands. The Russian Ministry of Defense has particularly developed strategic submarines with Bulava missiles (putting into service Yasen-class submarines); strategic bombers (the TU-160); and Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) measures compose of S-300 and S-400 missile systems to secure Russian military facilities in the region.

Alongside strengthening both conventional and nuclear capabilities in the region, Russia has regularly conducted military exercises of its Arctic troops, subordinating to both Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Military Oblasts. Morever, Russia has built and equipped four Arctic brigade combat teams (BCT), roughly 16,000 troops combined.

What Next for NATO, Scandanavia, and the High North? Some Recommendations

Despite that China has systematically increased its attention to the High North, Russia will remain the main military competitor for the Nordic states and entire NATO in the region in the nearly future.

On the eve of potential conflict in the Arctic, Russia will not respect the neutrality of Sweden and Finland due to their strong ties with the West and its politico-military institutions. It is highly possible that potential conflict on the Arctic would happen in northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Therefore, it is necessary that NATO influence Sweden and Finland to join the Alliance in the nearly future. Denmark and Norway should also support the narrowing of ties between NATO and NORDEFCO and cooperation between NATO and the EU.

Conversely, NATO should remain a cornerstone of Denmark’s and Norway’s security and defense policy regarding the High North. Both countries need to strengthen the capacity of the Danish and Norwegian armed forces and their contribution into NATO’s collective defense, such as the enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland (eFP) or the tailored Forward Presence in Romania (tFP). Moreover, both countries need to invest more in their military expenditures (Norway currently spends 1.61% of its GDP on defense; Denmark only 1.21%.)

By involving in the enhanced Forward presence (eFP) in the Baltic States and Poland, Norway and Denmark will become credible allies to other NATO member states, and this strategy will help both countries pursue their national interests regarding the High North.

Neither Denmark nor Norway unilaterally should pursue a response to growing Russian assertiveness in the High North; instead, they should fully implement the deterrence and defense strategy (2D) and the NATO’s 360° approach. Therefore, the Alliance must keep its strategic engagement in all NATO’s flanks, including the High North. However, at the same time there is a need to continue dialogue with Russia in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Leadership from the United States is essential for Denmark and Norway to implement NATO’s enhanced northern presence, and both countries should keep and develop strategic ties with the United States.

Furthermore, to conduct effective operations in the High North, the Alliance urgently needs to adopt an Arctic strategy and ensure a common approach to the region’s security challenges. Although NATO decided to deploy four battle groups to NATO’s eastern flank and increase its military presence in Romania and Bulgaria, NATO’s potential to deter Russia remains insufficient. Regarding that, the Alliance must rapidly boost its military presence on its northern flank and have troops ready to be deployed to the High North, such as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Maintaining the ability to a swiftly deploy the VJTF and the NRF troops to the region is crucial to improving NATO’s capacity to deter Russia effectively. Therefore, both the VJTF and the NRF troops must practice conducting operations in adverse weather conditions and severe environments, something that is part of the upcoming military exercises called Trident Juncture 2018 in Norway (October and November 2018).

Finally, all NATO decisions strengthening the NATO’s military presence in the High North must ensure military transparency throughout the 2011 Vienna Document and the Open Skies Treaty.

INSCT Research and Practice Associate Kamil Szubart was a 2017 visiting fellow at INSCT, via the Kosciuszko Foundation. He works as an analyst for the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan, Poland, where he is responsible for German foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Islamic threats in German-native-speaking countries and topics related to NATO, CSDP, OSCE, and the UN. Currently, he is working on a doctoral dissertation examining US-German relations in the field of international security since 9/11.

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Yemen: A Crime Against Us All

By David M. Crane 

In a bombing, the dust settles slowly over the strike zone. What emerges are grey images, living beings neutralized to monochrome. Bleeding from the ears, deaf, and dumb from the concussions the survivors walk about in a haze. These zombies are the first things you see staggering down the street away from the rubble behind them, rubble that is the tomb of loved ones, neighbors, and friends.

“For a decade or so, the rule of law prevailed regarding holding those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable. Yet we have slipped down a slippery slope. That political will is waning.”

There is no militarily necessary reason for the destruction, the strike carried out by one of the combatants who knew or should have known about the laws of armed conflict. The rules do not matter in most conflicts of the 21st century. Welcome to the dirty little wars that nip at the heels of civilization, a civilization grown weary of it all and who look the other way. It is just too hard to marshal enough political will to do something.

A powerless United Nations can do nothing other than to help ease the pain of air strikes by caring for the wounded and the terrified refugees. The once proud mandate of restoring international peace and security has changed to maintaining at best that peace and security.

The three nations that could restore that prominence, the United States, China, and Russia are its biggest challenges and all three could certainly live without the paradigm of peace set forth in 1945. All three of those nations over the past years are also the biggest human rights abusers led by strong men.

International Law has evolved over centuries through customary practice and the consent of nations to bind themselves to certain norms. Indeed the day-to-day actions in commerce, trade, and finance all hinge upon these norms. Over time, other norms that declare that human beings have rights to be free from want, fear, and to speak their minds and worship freely are now enforceable and carry an accounting if violated.

From all this just twenty-five years ago, modern international criminal law began. For a decade or so, the rule of law prevailed regarding holding those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable. Yet we have slipped down a slippery slope. That political will is waning and the use of the law to govern international relations regarding humanity challenged.

In this kaleidoscopic void, dirty little wars flourish like weeds in an abandoned lot. Yemen is one of those weeds thriving in the dusty haze of airstrikes.

The likes of the Yemeni conflict exists but for this condition and circumstance. A surrogate conflict backed by cynical nations vying for power and influence in the greater region that is the Middle East, the possibility of a peaceful resolution hinges on the rule of law. It is not going to happen …

Read the whole article.

 

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