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International Law, US Foreign Policy and Post-9/11 Islamic Fundamentalism: The Legal Status of the 'War on Terror'

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The days immediately after 11 September 2001 saw considerable tension, anger and anxiety. These politically charged days witnessed significant activity within the United Nations and various agencies of international law. The world community rightly condemned the 9/11 attacks as cowardly actions and an unforgivable crime against humanity. The entire global public opinion expressed sympathy for the victims of 9/11 and empathised with the people of the United States. The show of human solidarity as well as the Resolutions within the United Nations were the responses from the international community and international law to the terrorist attacks on the United States. It becomes, therefore, quite ironic that the enormity of the 9/11 human tragedy was used by the United States government to undermine the established norms, practices, principles and framework of international law. Over the past six years, the United States foreign policy has continued to violate international law and brutalise human dignity. This paper critically examines the systematic violation of international norms under the banner of 'war on terror'. It takes the view that the 'war on terror' has had exactly the effect which it proclaimed to prevent-namely the growth of radicalisation, terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of International Law and Director of Research, Brunel Law School, Brunel University, London; 2: Brunel Law School, Brunel University, London


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