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Afghanistan, Conflict »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 Inaccessible peripheral location, rugged terrain, and relative lack of natural resources have considerably encumbered State-building in Afghanistan. For most of its modern history since 1747 it has thus been defined primarily as a ‘buffer State’ separating the Russian and British empires. In the 19th and 20th centuries the exceedingly weak central State repeatedly attempted ambitious modernization efforts that faltered on its insufficient institutional strength and the massive resistance of an extremely conservative rural population. Competing outside powers...

Cold War (1947–91) »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 World War II transformed the global distribution of power, leaving the two principal victors as dominant superpowers (Superpowers and Great Powers). Differences in ideology, perception, and national interest quickly led to the unravelling of the war time alliance between the Soviet Union and the United States, replacing it with intense competition and hostility. Despite the severity of this antagonism and its highly militarized nature, direct hostilities between the main protagonists were avoided. The absence of open conflict can be explained by the...

Deserters »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 Desertion is to be seen from the point of view of national as well as of international law. Traditionally desertion is defined in national law as the unauthorized individual or collective abandonment of a given military duty or post. It is considered a criminal offence under national law, the criminality of which is generally recognized by international law (Criminal Jurisdiction of States under International Law).2 Punishment of desertion primarily seeks to protect combat effectiveness by deterring the contagious effect of individual dereliction. Rarely a...

Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 Diego Garcia is the largest of six atolls in the Chagos Archipelago comprising 55 uninhabited tropical islands (jointly 60km2) covering a very large maritime area (54,340km2), further enlarged by the 200 nm exclusive economic zone covering rich fishing grounds (636,600km2). The average elevation of the islands does not exceed two meters, vegetation is very lush, with a hot, humid climate, and large amounts of precipitation. The main island houses an important United States military base.2 The islands were known to the native population of Mauritius but were not...

Neutralization »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 Neutralization is the institution in international law through which a given area is removed from the ambit of lawful armed hostilities. The precise meaning of the concept varies considerably in the literature (Pieper 106; Ruths 41), but there is agreement about its utility as a technical term in international law.2 While historical examples can be found in earlier as well as later periods, ‘neutralisation is a concept and creation of the 19th century’ (Graham 81) and intimately tied to the principle of the balance of power as the key instrument to maintain...

Prisoner Transfer »

Ebrahim Afsah
1 A transfer of prisoners of war or civilian internees should be seen in the context of the object and purpose of their detention. Detention is not punitive but aims at incapacitating actors to take part in hostile activities. International humanitarian law provides some rules governing the transfer of such persons.2 The defining criteria of prisoners of war or those entitled to equivalent treatment are outlined in Art. 4 Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (‘Geneva Convention III’) and Art. 44Geneva Conventions Additional Protocol I...