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The Early Edition: April 25, 2017

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

The KOREAN PENINSULA

North Korea conducted large-scale military live-fire drills today to mark the foundation of its military as US submarine the USS Michigan docked in South Korea in a show of force and envoys from the US, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo to discuss the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles program, Ju-min Park reports at Reuters.…   continue »

U.S. Military Justice and “Operational Mishaps”: A Primer

As the tempo and intensity of United States military operations increases, the likelihood of operational mishaps increases as well. These mishaps – an anodyne term that cannot capture the reality experienced by those on the receiving end – can have devastating effects on innocent civilians and are highly likely to erode existing support and, indeed, to inflame passions both locally and around the globe.…   continue »

U.S.-Supported Government in Yemen Has Ties to Al-Qaeda

 

Defense secretary Jim Mattis has described Syria as “the most complex civil war probably raging on the planet at this time,” but Yemen is giving it a run for its money. In both places, the line between adversary and ally is not easily drawn, which puts the United States at risk of unintentionally furthering the cause of some of its worst enemies.  continue »

Making Sense of the Allegations that U.S. Military Struck a Mosque in Syria

There are now two very different competing pictures about whether the United States mistakenly struck a mosque in Syria on the night of March 16, 2017. On one view, based on  three independent reports—by Human Rights Watch, Bellingcat, and the University of London’s Forensic Architecture—along with some supplemental information from AirWars and White Helmets, the U.S.…   continue »

Humanitarian Military Options for Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack: “Illegal but Not Unprecedented”

 

Without Security Council authorization, any U.S. military force to respond to Assad’s chemical weapons attack would be a violation of international law, but …

Policymakers would be well advised to know the relatively long list of cases in which states have engaged in humanitarian intervention without Security Council approval, and not paid the same political costs that would come with predatory uses of force.…   continue »

Questions Raised by Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack

 

Details are still emerging about Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria, but the US, France and Britain have already condemned the Syrian government for gassing its own people. On Wednesday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, threatened the US may take unilateral action if the Security Council fails to respond.  continue »

Following the Money: Russia, Cyprus, and the Trump Team’s Odd Business Dealings

While names like Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn dominate headlines amidst allegations of possible collusion with Russia, there’s another angle to Donald Trump’s connections to the former Soviet Union that’s only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. This is the series of murky financial dealings that often make little business sense.…   continue »