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How does the prospect of endless war against a terrifying abstraction mobilize and perpetuate support for its cause? While the war on terror clearly trades in notions of fear, outrage, and horror it also mobilizes a whole set of feelings less obviously associated with terror – the condescending, intimate colonial desires associated with “soft” power and humanitarian tactics. Considering romance as a lens through which to understand popular narratives about the war on terror, this essay explores intimacy and desire – as well as their intersections with discourses of happiness and honor – as forms of affective capture that serve to perpetuate the war on terror. Though the war on terror is most often associated with a mood of fear, popular stories framed through liberal individualism suggest that it also cultivates an attachment to the affective assemblage of security-happiness-compassion, echoed in the tactics of humanitarian or “soft” power.
For almost two decades now, Geneva Call has been engaged in developing humanitarian dialogue with some 150 armed non-State actors (ANSAs), with the aim of increasing their knowledge and respect of humanitarian norms. Developing a protection dialogue with ANSAs is not an easy task, and it becomes more complex when groups split, mutate or join larger movements. Humanitarian organizations need to adapt their analysis to a more frequent timescale, keeping in touch constantly with a wide range of key stakeholders in order not to lose track of the current groups’ status and structure. In this note, Geneva Call's Director of Operations discusses some of the organization's experiences and lessons learned.
The chapter discusses the legality of the use of force which occurred in the framework of the Syrian conflict. Particularly exhaustive are discussions regarding two issues: first, the right of State A to use force in self-defence against non-state actors operating in State B, without State B’s consent (such as in the context of US actions against ISIS in Syria); second, the right of humanitarian intervention, or the responsibility to protect, as it is sometimes called. The chapter critically reviews current literature on these two subjects and applies them to the Syrian context. Additionally, the chapter covers the less frequently discussed subject of the exclusive right of the recognised government to ask for international support. Specifically, it suggests that current discussions of these issues are deficient because we lack a full understanding of the role of jus ad bellum in armed conflicts that are intra-state and transnational (that is between a state and a non-state actor in another country). Recent conflicts have raised awareness of this deficiency. This chapter will delineate the emerging general principles regarding the role of jus ad bellum in intra-state conflicts in general and in Syria in particular.
This chapter seeks to identify and classify the different legal types of conflicts that have occurred in Syria since violence erupted in March 2011. It reviews the legal definitions and international and non-international armed conflicts, and the significance of the distinction between them. The author argues that multiple conflicting wars – both international and civil - have been and are being fought in Syria. Using the earlier theoretical discussion, the chapter analyses different international conflicts (which she argues exist between Syria and the US-led coalition, Turkey and Israel) and the civil wars (between Syria and the anti-Government armed group; among various armed groups; and between foreign states against armed groups, namely ISIS and the YPG, located and operating in the territory of Syria. The conclusions emphasise the importance of conflict classification to understanding and analysing the violations committed during the Syrian war(s), and their importance to peace and justice in post-conflict Syria.
Providing humanitarian relief to affected populations is a top priority following a major sudden onset disaster (SOD). The main form of medical relief to affected areas is the emergency medical teams (EMTs). These are groups of health professionals and support staff operating locally or outside their country of origin by providing healthcare to disaster-affected populations. Despite best intentions, for decades EMTs were disorganized and followed no clear standards. In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the EMT Working Group of the World Health Organization‘s global health cluster initiated a global effort to standardize the EMTs system. This new system was put to the test in 2013 with the deployment of medical aid to the Philippines following Typhon Haiyan, and later on during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. This chapter reviews the history of medical aid to disaster affected areas, the process of coordinating and standardizing EMTs and the latest implementation of the new EMT coordination system.
The fragile political status quo between Israel and Syria existing since the end of the last formal war between the two states in 1972 – a tense and fragile armistice – serves as the background for Israel’s policy in the current Syrian conflict surveyed in the chapter. Israel’s policy was modeled according to an organising principle combining humanitarian and military activity: building civilian bridges, on the one hand, while acting militarily to secure Israeli interests, on the other hand. Israel was acting initially as a ’passive onlooker’, then as a ’good neighbour’, and, more recently, as a declared rival against the Iranian presence in Syria. The chapter explores these Israeli policies, in addition to ’humanitarian diplomacy’ – the civilian and government assistance provided in the Syrian Golan Heights area – and Israel’s role in the efforts to build a set of common interests with Syrian opposition groups. Finally, this chapter addresses the new challenges and opportunities facing Israel in light of the shifting situation across its north-eastern border.
The Syrian war’s most fundamental characteristic is the systematic disregard for the most basic rules of international law – and notably international humanitarian law – displayed by its belligerents. The result has been unparalleled human suffering, the scale, complexity, and severity of which are yet to be fully understood. This chapter looks briefly at the unrest that preceded the Syrian conflict before focusing on those violations of international humanitarian law which quickly became hallmarks of the Syrian war. It gives particular focus to two violations of international humanitarian law: the conducting of indiscriminate attacks, including attacks by governments and armed groups; and the use of chemical weapons on the battlefield and the investigations to determine the perpetrator(s). Finally, it asks whether the Syrian conflict represents a nadir in the international community’s response to a war where international humanitarian law is breached with impunity and, if so, whether the value of the law of wars has been eroded.
This chapter focuses on triage management in both national and international mass casualty incidents. They be a sudden-onset natural disaster, a public health emergency of international concern, or a war or armed conflict resulting in the deployment of field level hospitals that are focused on civilians, the military, or both, and are capable of rapid deployment and expansion or contraction to meet immediate emergency requirements for a specified period of time. The goal of triage is to treat as many victims as possible who have an opportunity for survival. Triage does not exist in isolation, but represents a complex process that balances clinical requirements with resource allocation and system management where the decision operatives are the likelihood of medical success and the conservation of scare resources.
This chapter is concerned with tracing the history of the drafting of the 1976 Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD). In seeking to understand how and why ENMOD came about, the chapter locates its emergence in the extant superpower rivalry between the USSR and USA around the time of the war in Indochina. Its provisions, it is argued, reflect the complex roles of those powers within the Cold War – as scientific innovators, military superpowers, ideological adversaries and hesitant bilateralists – and survives as a quintessential juridical exemplar of Cold War thought and practice.
How does rhetoric work in the pursuit of political projects in international relations? This article analyzes how rhetoric-wielding political actors engage in reasoning to bolster their position by drawing upon norms that underwrite interactions, and audiences as scorekeepers evaluate the reasoning by making a series of inferences. I call this mechanism rhetorical reasoning. Building on the existing classification of norms in constructivist international relations (IR) and utilizing three distinct norm types – instrumental, institutional, and moral – I show the different processes through which political actors deploy rhetoric to legitimize and justify political projects and the distinct logics through which scorekeepers make inferences and evaluate the project. This article contributes to IR theories of argumentation by providing a sharp conceptualization of political rhetoric and actor–audience relationships in the game. I illustrate the mechanism of rhetorical reasoning using Brazil's UN peace enforcement operation in Haiti in 2004 to give empirical evidence for the role of institutional norm type in patterns of rhetorical reasoning and contestations in international politics. Paying attention to political rhetoric in the actor–scorekeepers' relationships in this way clarifies important issues regarding the varieties of political projects and the different role of normativity in the game.
The worst rates of preventable mortality and morbidity among women and children occur in humanitarian settings. Reliable, easy-to-use, standardized, and efficient tools for data collection are needed to enable different organizations to plan and act in the most effective way. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned a review of tools for data collection on the health of women and children in humanitarian emergencies. An update of this review was conducted to investigate whether the recommendations made were taken forward and to identify newly developed tools. Fifty-three studies and 5 new tools were identified. Only 1 study used 1 of the tools identified in our search. Little has been done in terms of the previous recommendations. Authors may not be aware of the availability of such tools and of the importance of documenting their data using the same methods as other researchers. Currently used tools may not be suitable for use in humanitarian settings or may not include the domains of the authors’ interests. The development of standardized instruments should be done with all key workers in the area and could be coordinated by the WHO.
Low-resource environments, such as those found in humanitarian crises, pose significant challenges to the provision of proper medical treatment. While the lack of training of health providers to such settings has been well-acknowledged in literature, there has yet to be any scientific evidence for this phenomenon.
This pilot study utilized a randomized crossover experimental design to examine the effects of high- versus low-resource simulated scenarios of a resuscitation of a critically ill obstetric patient on a medical doctors’ performance and inter-personal skills. Ten senior residents (fifth-year post-graduate) of the Maggiore Hospital School of Medicine (Novara, NO, Italy) were included in the study.
Overall performance score for the high-resource setting was 5.2, as opposed to only 2.3 for the low-resource setting. The mean effect size for the overall score was 2.9 (95% CI, 1.7–4.0; P <.001). The results suggest a significant decrease in both technical (medical) and non-technical skills, such as leadership, problem solving, situation awareness, resource utilization, and communication in the low-resource environment setting. The latter finding is of special important since it was yet to be reported.
This pilot study suggests that untrained physicians in low-resource environments may experience a considerable setback not only to their professional performance, but also to their interpersonal skills, when deployed ill-prepared to humanitarian missions. Consequently, this may endanger the health of local populations.
Good relations and trust are the foundation of soft power diplomacy and are essential for the accomplishment of domestic interventions and any bilateral or multilateral endeavor. Military use for assistance and relief is not a novel concept, but it has increased since the early 1990s with many governments choosing to provide greater numbers of forces and assets to assist domestically and internationally. The increase is due to the growing lack of capacity in global humanitarian networks and increasingly inadequate resources available to undertake United Nations humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions. In response, the military has been more proactive in pursuing the improvement of military-to-military and military-to-civilian integration. This trend reflects a move towards more advanced and comprehensive approaches to security cooperation and requires increased support from the civilian humanitarian sector to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Military assistance is progressing beyond traditional methods to place a higher value on issues relating to civil cooperation, restoring public health infrastructure, protection, and human rights, all of which are ensuring a permanent diplomatic role for this soft power approach.
The interaction of international counter-terrorism laws with IHL is an area of renewed focus, amid widespread concern that the former are being (mis)applied to criminalise the provision of humanitarian assistance envisaged under the latter. The Security Council has begun to consider this issue in resolutions adopted in March and July 2019, but difficult questions of law and fact remain. These questions have significant practical consequences—for humanitarian agencies and those they seek to assist, as well as for States that must weigh different, and possibly conflicting, legal obligations. Much of the analysis to date and the solutions proposed, pay insufficient attention to the specifics of each legal regime.
Traditional just war doctrine holds that political leaders are morally responsible for the decision to initiate war, while individual soldiers should be judged solely by their conduct in war. According to this view, soldiers fighting in an unjust war of aggression and soldiers on the opposing side seeking to defend their country are morally equal as long as each obeys the rules of combat. Revisionist scholars, however, maintain that soldiers who fight for an unjust cause bear at least some responsibility for advancing an immoral end, even if they otherwise fight ethically. This article examines the attitudes of the American public regarding the moral equality of combatants. Utilizing an original survey experiment, we find that the public's moral reasoning is generally more consistent with that of the revisionists than with traditional just war theory. Americans in our study judged soldiers who participate in unjust wars as less ethical than soldiers in just wars, even when their battlefield conduct is identical, and a large proportion supported harsh punishments for soldiers simply for participating in unjust wars. We also find, however, that much of the American public is willing to extend the moral license of just cause significantly further than revisionist scholars advocate: half of the Americans in our survey were willing to allow an unambiguous war crime—a massacre of innocent women and children—to go unpunished when the act was committed by soldiers fighting for a just cause. Our findings suggest that incorporation of revisionist principles into the laws of war would reinforce dangerous moral intuitions encouraging the killing of civilians.
As the military and economic situation deteriorated in Germany, so did the military’s ability to respect the pre-war agreements on the humane treatment of prisoners of war. Shortages worsened throughout 1917 and 1918, causing all social classes to feel the effects of the war in the pits of their stomachs. Tens of thousands of Allied prisoners of war in Germany had no option but to rely on whatever their captors could feed them. Conditions were dire, but Germany was able to defray some of the long-term costs of feeding prisoners of war by granting some of them access to humanitarian aid from the Red Cross. The food situation at Karlsruhe had become so desperate in 1917 that British officers imprisoned there were offered 30 pfennigs a day to forgo the German-supplied rations so that they could be used to feed starving civilians.
This chapter lays the theoretical groundwork for the argument. In the first section, I outline the legal regime governing armed conflict. The second section provides an initial definition of reciprocity and reviews two literatures explaining its importance to compliance with international legal regimes such as IHL. In section three, I outline what I am calling the “humanization of humanitarian law” thesis. This is the view that states are and can be expected to implement IHL obligations even if their adversaries do not. In section four, I present a more nuanced view of reciprocity. I demonstrate, via H. L. A. Hart’s theory of law as the union of primary and secondary rules, how states have maintained reciprocal strategies for dealing with IHL non-compliance through secondary rules. I then explain how the domestic, multi-actor setting of state decision making allows policy makers to use these secondary rules to respond to IHL non-compliance. In the last section, I examine logic of appropriateness theories found in the international relations and international law literatures that could serve as a basis for the humanization of humanitarian law thesis.
Crises, wars, and disasters are remarkably increasing across the world. Responders are frequently tackled with an ever-greater number of challenges, and undoubtedly, they are physically and mentally affected during and after their missions, during which posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is considered high-risk. To the authors’ knowledge, no studies have addressed which type of incident has the greatest influence to trigger stress, and consequently, to cause PTSD for the responders after their missions.
A prospective longitudinal study was conducted with 69 participants of the “Safety and Security” course at the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid of the Federal Ministry of Interior Affairs (Berlin, Germany). The course is certified by the Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) guidelines of Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management (ENTRi; Center for International Peace Operations; Berlin, Germany). Four incidents were evaluated: hostage-taking, carjacking, evacuation, and border-crossing. The participants completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) before and after each incident. For each incident, the delta of the PANAS scores was calculated. The differences between the described incidents, as well as the differences between novice and experienced responders, were evaluated.
The hostage-taking incident had the greatest influence on the participants’ temper, followed by carjacking and evacuation. Ultimately, the border-crossing event had the least effect on the responders. Novices were more affected by hostage-taking than experienced responders; however, no significant difference had been demonstrated between novices and experienced responders for the other evaluated incidents.
Different incidents have big psychological impacts on humanitarian responders, in which consequences vary from short-term effects to PTSD. Therefore, humanitarian responders should be selected very carefully. They should also have more specific preparation for their missions. Mental after-care should be obligatory. Further studies are needed to understand and avoid reasons for the development of PTSD or other potential problems of responders.
Political unrest in the Middle East heightens the possibility of catastrophe due to violent conflict and/or terrorist attacks. However, the disaster risk reduction strategy in the Saudi health care system appears to be a reactive approach focused more on flood hazards than other threats. Given the current unstable political situation in its neighboring countries and Saudi Arabia’s key role in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to those affected by internal conflicts and wars, it is essential to develop a framework for training standards related to complex humanitarian disasters to provide the requisite skills and knowledge in a gradual manner, according to local context and international standards. This framework could also support the World Health Organization’s (WHO; Geneva, Switzerland) initiative for establishing a national disaster assistance team in Saudi Arabia.
The main aim of this study is to provide Saudi health care providers with a competencies-based course in Basic Principles of Complex Humanitarian Emergency.
The interactive, competencies-based course in Basic Principles of Complex Humanitarian Emergency was designed by five experts in disaster medicine and humanitarian relief in three stages, accordance to international standards and the local context. The course was piloted over five days at the Officers Club of the Ministry of Interior (MOI; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia). The 33 participants were from different health disciplines of the government sectors in-country. The participants completed the pre- and post-tests and attended three pilot workshops for disaster community awareness.
The overall knowledge scores were significantly higher in the post-test (62.9%) than the pre-test (44.2%). There were no significant differences in the pre- and post-knowledge scores for health care providers from the different government health disciplines. A 10-month, post-event survey demonstrated that participants were satisfied with their knowledge retention. Importantly, three of them (16.6%) had the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice in relation to humanitarian aid response.
Delivering a competencies-based course in Basic Principles of Complex Humanitarian Emergency for health care providers can help improve their knowledge and skills for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which is crucial for disaster preparedness augmentation in Saudi Arabia.