From the Editors
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[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week]
"Obama’s pick for CIA could affect drone program", Greg Miller
President Obama’s choice of successor to CIA director David Petraeus, a proponent of the agency’s drone fleet, may signal the administration’s desire to continue or back off from the agency’s “pronounced shift toward paramilitary operations”, Miller writes.
"Palestine as a UN Observer State: Does this Make Palestine a State?", Dapo Akande
Akande argues in a post on EJIL Talk! that while the recent vote to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN to that of nonmember observer does not grant Palestine statehood, or even membership in the UN, it is an act of “collective recognition” that, depending on the reaction of the ICC, ICJ, and United Nations itself, may lead to in all but name, statehood.
“Rules for Targeted Killing”, The New York Times
The Times responds to a recent report that, following Mitt Romney’s defeat in the Presidential election, the Obama Administration has chosen to develop a “legal architecture” for targeted killing “at a more leisurely pace”, finding the decision to set up rules admirable but the cynical political circumstances of their development reprehensible. The Time also argues the rules should be, rather than kept confidential, “shown to a world skeptical of countries that use deadly force without explanation.”
"Reining in Obama and His Drones", Ralph Nader
Writing for Counterpunch, Nader writes that in the absence of a “legal architecture” for targeted killing, the Obama Administration’s drone program is unconstitutional and warns that other countries will remember the administration’s “green-light on illegal unilaterialism” should they acquire similar capabilities to use drones.
"Is the US Really Ending the War in Afghanistan?", Dave Lindorff
Lindorff criticizes the Pentagon’s decision to keep at least 10,000 US troops stationed in Afghanistan indefinitely after the 2014 deadline for withdrawal despite assertions from the President during his re-election campaign that the US would be “totally” out of Iraq by this time; whether the administration is ending the war, Lindorff writes, depends on one’s definition of ‘war’.
"Exile and the Prophetic: Benjamin Netanyahu’s self-constructed hologram", Marc H. Ellis
Ellis, for his “Exile and the Prophetic” column on Mondoweiss, is reminded of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by recent criticisms of David Petraeus as a “hollow” military hero who failed to achieve real strategic success in Iraq or Afghanistan. With Netanyahu’s upcoming re-election imminent, Ellis alarmingly asserts that while few in the international community see Netanyahu as a “serious political strategist who might bring Israel…to safety, security and stability”, Netanyahu’s “hollow’ image is backed by enormous military and political power.
"AP’s Dangerous Iran Hoax demands an accounting and explanation", Glenn Greenwald
Writing for The Guardian’s “Comment is Free”, Greenwald reports a recent Associated Press report of a graph showing evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program—a graph that appears to have been “either slipshod analysis or [an] amateurish hoax”, writing that AP’s publishing the graph under an inflammatory headline is indicative of “AP allowing itself, eagerly and gratefully, to be used to put its stamp of credibility on a ridiculous though destructive hoax”.
"UN general assembly recognises Palestinian state – as it happened", Matthew Weaver and Tom McCarthy
A liveblog of the UN vote and subsequent approval of the plan to upgrade Palestine to a ‘nonmember observer state’ of the assembly, including a short analysis of what the large majority in favor of the plan means for future peace negotiations.
"White House opposed new Iran sanctions", Josh Rogin
Writing for Foreign Policy Magazine’s “The Cable” blog, Rogin summarizes a recent Senate plan to amend current economic sanctions on Iran so as to make the sanctions far more aggressive, as well as the White House’s response that more sanctions aren’t necessary or prudent at the moment.
"US drones kill 3 'militants' in 1st strike in Pakistan in more than a month", Bill Roggio
The Long War Journal reports that in the first drone strike recorded in Pakistan in more than a month, three militants have been killed. The thirty-six day long hiatus is the second longest hiatus in the program since its apparent launch in the summer of 2008, a length the Obama administration refused to comment on.
"Facebook ‘Likes’ Considered Key Evidence In ‘Terrorist’ Plot", Mike Masnick
TechDirt reports on a recent FBI indictment of three men terrorism-related charges, noting that the suspects’ past ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook were listed as evidence of their material support for terrorism.
"In pretrial hearing, Army private Bradley Manning tells court of harsh prison conditions", Julie Tate
Tate, writing for the Washington Post, describes Pfc. Manning’s pretrial hearing, in which he testified of poor conditions of his confinement at a Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia. Manning’s lawyer has argued that such conditions are unlawful and amount to punishment enough, filing a motion asking the judge to dismiss the charges or reduce any sentence.
"Report: Hamas leader Meshal to visit Gaza for first time", Associated Press
Khaled Meshal, leader of Hamas’ political bureau, plans to visit the Gaza Strip for the first time on Hamas’ 25th anniversary, both to commemorate the anniversary and congratulate Hamas’ leaders on its actions during Operation Pillar of Cloud.
"Israel confiscates Palestinian funds", Al-Akhbar English
As “punishment” for refusing to halt its United Nations bid, Israel intends to withhold $120 million in Palestinian funds, a move likely to affect PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ ability to pay the salaries of civil servants in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israeli finance minister Yuval Steinitz has told Israeli radio. Also reported is Israel’s recent move to expand settlements in the territories, a move Steinitz also characterizes as a reaction to the UN bid.
"For the First Time, Obama Official Sketches Out End to War on Terror", Spencer Ackerman
Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson gave a speech recently articulating what an end to the War on Terrorism might look like, asserting that the war ends when al-Qaeda’s ability to launch a strategic attack does, a moment he calls a “tipping point” from war to mere “counterterrorism effort”. Ackerman writes that the speech raises more questions than it answer, namely about the precise nature of such a tipping point, and the fate of Guantanamo detainees upon the achievement of such a point. Jack Goldsmith makes a similar argument on Lawfare, writing the speech is full of too many generalities to tell us much about the end of the war, while Deborah Pearlstein is more optimistic of the speech’s significance on Opinio Juris.
"Yes, Palestine Could Accept the ICC’s Jurisdiction Retroactively", Kevin Jon Heller
Heller asserts that the Rome Statute’s text holds that a state may file a declaration with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction retroactively, and that Palestine may ergo accept the Court’s jurisdiction retroactive to 1 July 2002 (the date the Rome Statute entered force); he warns, though, that the ambiguity of much of Israel’s crimes in Gaza leave Palestine with a difficult road towards prosecuting Israeli impunity there. Jennifer Trahan responds on IntLawGrrls that Heller’s reading of the Rome Statute is difficult to justify and takes advantage of a “lack of clarity” in the text.
"Will the siege on Gaza finally be lifted?", Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
Kestler-D’Amours addresses and agrees with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Head Ramesh Rajasingham’s assertion that lifting the Israeli blockade of Gaza is the only way to address “chronic humanitarian need” in the area following Operation Pillar of Cloud.
"Why The Brits Abstained", Hannah Weisfeld
Weisfeld writes for the Daily Beast’s “Open Zion” blog that the United Kingdom’s abstention from the recent vote to upgrade Palestine’s UN status was motivated out of a concern that that the talks would anger Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to a degree so as to derail future talks—a position Weisfeld equates with being “scared of Bibi”.
"Egypt’s Draft Constitution Translated", Nariman Youssef
Egypt Independent provides an English translation of Egypt’s recent controversial draft constitution.
"The Conflict Against Al Qaeda and its Affiliates: How Will It End?", Jeh C. Johnson
Contains the full text of a recent speech given by the Pentagon General Counsel on what a “tipping point” towards an end to the war on terror might look like.
"Conference: Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law"; 6-7 December 2012; University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice; Respond to call for papers here.
"Conference: Conduct of Hostilities and Law Enforcement: A Contradiction in Terms?"; 3-4 December 2012; Respond to call for papers here.
"Citizenship and the New “State of Palestine”", Lauren Banko
"Qatar and the Palestinians", Mouin Rabbani
"More Quick Thoughts on Palestine at the United Nations", Mouin Rabbani
"Infographic: Palestinian & Israeli Deaths", Visualizing Palestine
"Tradition and the Anti-Politics Machine: DAM Seduced by the “Honor Crime"", Lila Abu Lughod, Maya Mikdashi
"Going from Pillar to Truce", Vijay Prashad
"Bibi Bombs", Khalil Bendib
"The BICI Reforms: Promises of Progress, A Worsening Reality", Jadaliyya Reports
"New Texts Out Now: Mark LeVine and Gershon Shafir, Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel", Mark LeVine and Gershon Shafir
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