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The Attack of September 11, 2001, the Wars Against the Taliban and Iraq: Is There a Need to Reconsider International Law on the Recourse to Force and the Rules in Armed Conflict?

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The attack of September 11, 2001 against the United States, the war against the Taliban in reaction thereto, and, in particular, the war against Iraq in 2003 have prompted dissonant views concerning the international law regime governing the recourse to military force. Some commentators have deplored the military actions taken by the United States and its allies against the Taliban, and particularly against Iraq as being in violation of the international law prohibition against the unilateral use of force. They take the position that such practice is likely to erode the principle that prohibits resort to force in international relations. Others have argued that these incidents make it necessary to re-consider the scope and content of the principle of the prohibition of the use of force. The issue is a complex one.

The author analyzes the question whether the actions taken by the United States and its allies and the reaction thereto from the international community reveal a pattern or a tendency indicating that there have been changes in the international law concerning the use of force and the law in armed conflict.


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