Targeting ISIL Fighters and Supporters Essay Requirements
In the article “Targeting ISIL Fighters and Supporters,” the authors explain the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) analysis and, using the recent example of potentially targeting ISIL oil fields and distribution networks, they demonstrate how difficult and fact-dependent the analysis for determining lawful targets can become. Further complicating the application of LOAC is the fact that the United States uses a more liberal definition for determining which actions by a civilian constitute “effective contribution” to military action than do many other nations in the coalition.
How do you recommend that the coalition determine whether a civilian is a lawful combatant, understanding that some civilians that would be considered lawful targets by the United States would not be considered lawful targets by other nations in the coalition. Support your answer with examples as to how your LOAC determination would function.
Skousen, D. M., Mason, B. C., & Cromwell, D. W. (2015). Targeting ISIL Fighters and Supporters. The Reporter, 42(3), 2-8. p. 3
The Law of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection
The main objective that the military have in a war campaign is to ensure that they disable their enemy, but within the confines of law. As such, all major decisions that commanders in the battle filed have to make revolve around this objective. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the major purpose of war is to attain peace. As such, war is the last resolution after other diplomatic methods have failed. Thus, a war campaign should ensure that peace is ultimately attained thereafter and that the carried out operations do not make it difficult to attain peace. The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) has become an important point of reference when making critical decisions on who qualifies as a target for military assault. This is especially critical when it comes to defining a lawful combatant and establishing a distinction between a civilian and combatants and the circumstances under which a civilian qualifies as a target.
The Law of Armed Conflict provides four major principles on whose basis combatant decisions ought to be made, two of which, the principle of distinction and the principle of proportionality, are aimed at protecting non-combatants or civilians. In this case, the principle of distinction requires parties of a conflict to establish a proper distinction between civilians and civilian objects and combatants and military objectives. As such, the law only allows for attacks that are targeted at military property or personnel. Nevertheless, this does not exclude the harming or killing of civilians during the war, in as long as such civilians or civilian property are not the prime targets of an attack. It is important to note that a long as civilians do not directly participate in hostilities or indirectly contribute to hostilities through supportive or sustainability initiatives, then they do not qualify as targets. In addition, even though civilian activities may be contributing to the sustainability of ISIL, the level of indirectness should be established considering the fact that the areas of conflict have limited livelihoods. Case in point, civilians working on the oil fields remain protected especially given that the most logical explanation for their services to the ISIL is to generate income and support their families and that they do not supply direct weaponry to the hostilities. For the coalition parties to make attacks on such facilities, it is important to ensure that such enough intelligence is gathered on when such attacks could be launched without causing harm to the civilians or with minimal collateral damage.
Nevertheless, such civilians may still be
legally harmed or killed in cases where they are within the scope of an attack
that has been targeted at ISIL combatants as provided for by the principle of proportionality.
This principle requires that incidental loss of life or property during an
attack remains less as compared to the expected military gain. As such, as much as
civilians are not the main target of an attack, they may still be legally
harmed or killed in as long as such harm or death of civilians or their
property does not supersede the military advantage directly gained from the
attack. Considering the tactics used by ISIL, including the use of civilians in
their facilities, some of which are controlled by armed military personnel,
attacks qualify as legal in cases where the expected collateral damage is less
than the gain. To ensure such an outcome, it is important to establish networks
of intelligence and communication that will ensure that such attacks are
launched when there are fewer civilians within the proximity. The civilians could be
warned prior to attacks. Nevertheless, such warning should be done with
moderation as it could lead to leakage of military intelligence to the enemy.
 Skousen, D. M., Mason, B. C., & Cromwell, D. W. (2015). Targeting ISIL Fighters and Supporters. The Reporter, 42(3), 2-8. p. 3 https://library.rangercollege.edu/eds/detail?db=a9h&an=111644271&isbn=01938134
 Skousen, D. M., Mason, B. C., & Cromwell, D. W. (2015). Targeting ISIL Fighters and Supporters. The Reporter, 42(3), 2-8. p. 7.
Velasquez-Ruiz, M. A. (2009). The Principles of Distinction and Proportionality under the Framework of International Criminal Responsibility-Content and Issues. International Law(14), 15-42. p. 20. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1692-81562009000100002
 Ibid p. 28