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Amid mounting international agreement on launching air strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq and Syria, The Henry Jackson Society’s policy paper The Legal Case for British Military Action Against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria provides a comprehensive analysis of why air strikes in both Iraq and Syria are entirely legitimate under international law.
The report finds that the request for military assistance from the Iraqi government legally allows Britain to take part in attacks not only on Iraqi soil but also – because a victim state’s right to use force is not restricted territorially when the host state is unwilling or unable to repress the relevant terrorist activities – in Syria, from where IS controls its huge territory and coordinated the invasion of Iraq.
The policy paper raises several key legal arguments, including: