2015 December

Lawfare post on ‘Targeting ISIL Oil Transport Trucks’

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In this comment, I offer some thoughts in response to Butch Bracknell’s recent post on the targeting of ISIL oil transport trucks by the US in eastern Syria. As has been reported in the New York Times, the aircraft carrying out these strikes have issued advance warnings to persuade the drivers to abandon their vehicles before the attacks commenced. Bracknell accepts that a number of policy reasons militate in favour of issuing advance warnings in the present case. However, he suggests that such warnings were not in fact required by the law of armed conflict.It is useful to revisit this assessment, partly because the legal and policy consideration seem to be more closely aligned than Bracknell’s conclusion suggests and partly because the case brings to light some interesting aspects of legal inter-operability.