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Fighting at the Legal BoundariesControlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict$
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Kenneth Watkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190457976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457976.001.0001

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Counterinsurgency and Converging Norms

Counterinsurgency and Converging Norms

(p.215) 7 Counterinsurgency and Converging Norms
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the unique challenges of counterinsurgency operations. It addresses the continuing relevance of counterinsurgency and the traditional reluctance of State militaries to engage in such operations. The application of the “police primacy” principle will be explored, as well as the key role the maintenance of sufficient physical control over an area of operations plays when determining if a law enforcement approach is feasible. The focus then turns to counteracting the threat posed by IED and suicide bombing cells. Consideration of the group nature of this threat includes an assessment of the nature of the participation of persons who support or facilitate the use of these explosive means. The analysis then addresses targeting, with particular emphasis being placed on assessing how the “value” of a target can affect targeting decisions during counterinsurgency operations. Finally, the option of defaulting to a law enforcement model when conducting extraterritorial operations is explored.

Keywords:   civil and political rights, targeted killing, international law, armed conflict, human rights, use of force, terrorism, insurgents and insurrection, humanitarian law

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