Blog Posts: Syria

al-Shahaab Raid Justified by AUMF

On October 5, 2013, US Navy SEALS conducted a raid to capture Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, a Kenyan national, in Somalia. Abdikadir is a senior member of al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Considering that U.S. embassy operations are currently suspended in Somalia, and the United States is not engaged in a military conflict with Somalia outside of performing support obligations to the Africa Union through NATO, under what authority was the United States acting?

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No Comments | Posted by Max P. Biedermann on Wed. February 12, 2014 8:00 AM
Categories: African Union, AUMF, Customary International Law, Kenya, Somalia, Syria

An Unconventional Approach: Syria and Cyber Attacks

While the debate on the U.S. approach to Syria’s chemical weapons dominated the headlines, one headline that quickly disappeared concerned a Syrian-based cyber attack against the New York Times. The Syrian Electronic Army (S.E.A.), “a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria,” laid claim to intentionally bringing down the New York Times website for most of the day on August 27. The offensive included “an online attack on the company’s domain registrar” and “also forced employees of The Times to take care in sending emails.” Notably, the S.E.A. claims no ties to the Syrian government, though President al-Assad reportedly referred to the group as “a real army in a virtual reality.”

The S.E.A. previously attempted similar attacks against websites of other notable news sources, including the Washington Post, CNN, and the Financial Times. Perhaps most notably, the S.E.A. hacked the Twitter account for the Associated Press last April, posting a fake tweet which read, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” While the tweet was soon revealed to be false, the attack resulted in a 145-point dip in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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No Comments | Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Tue. October 8, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: Cyberwarfare, Syria, U.N. Security Council

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