Terrorism, War and International Law: The Legality of the Use of Force Against Afghanistan in 2001, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Terrorism, War and International Law

The Legality of the Use of Force Against Afghanistan in 2001, 1st Edition

By Myra Williamson


294 pages

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This book analyzes the legality of the use of force by the US, the UK and their NATO allies against Afghanistan in 2001. The work challenges the main ground for resorting to force, namely, self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations' Charter, by examining each element of Article 51 that ought to have been satisfied in order to legitimise the use of force. It also examines the wider context, including comparable Security Council resolutions in historic situations as well as modern instances where force has been used, such as against Iraq in 2003 and against Lebanon in 2006. As well as making the case against the legality of the use of force, the book addresses wider questions such as the meaning of 'terrorism' in international law, the changing nature of conflict in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries including the impact of non-state actors and an overview of terrorism trends as well as the evolution of limitations on the resort to force from the League of Nations through to 2001. The book concludes with some insight into the possible future implications for the use of force by states, particularly when force is purportedly justified on the grounds of self-defence.


'Myra Williamson has produced a work of considerable scholarship which not only challenges some fundamental assumptions about the use of force in the modern world, but which sets those assumptions against a strong historical backdrop. This is a book which deserves to be read not only by those interested in international law and international relations, but also by anyone concerned with the question of whether force can be used legitimately to combat terrorism.' Scott Davidson, University of Lincoln, UK 'With the threatened military escalation into Afghanistan by the Obama administration, this book is required reading for all concerned government officials, international civil servants, foreign affairs and defense experts, professors of international law and politics, and citizens of the NATO states who want to stop and then reverse this war of aggression.' Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois, Champaign, USA 'There are two fundamental themes in this important book: firstly, the relevance of the history of international law and its function in understanding contemporary international relations and secondly, the consciousness of the necessity of multilateral use of force in response to a terrorist attack as a crime against humanity.' Gustavo Gozzi, University of Bologna, Italy 'The book is a welcome contribution to the debate on the use of force in international law. It is clear, accessible and draws upon a good breadth of scholarship which, while primarily legal, draws upon broader material where appropriate to paint a picture of the law that currently exists, how that law rightly applies to the 2001 use of force against Afghanistan, and the current challenges to the law. It ought to find a place in any decent international law library.' Liverpool Law Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; The changing nature of conflict; A definition of 'terrorism'; Evolution of limitations on the use of force: from the League of Nations to the United Nations - 1919-1944; Evolution of limitations on the use of force: from the United Nations Charter to the present - 1945-2008; The use of force against Afghanistan in 2001; Conclusion; Appendices; Index.

About the Author

Dr Myra Williamson is a Lecturer of Law at the University of Waikato, New Zealand

About the Series

The Ashgate International Law Series

The Ashgate International Law Series
The Ashgate International Law Series brings together top-quality titles, principally in the area of public international law but also in private international law, under the label of a single international series. Each title represents work which is the result of high-level research, aimed at both the professorial and postgraduate academic market, as well as the expert practitioner.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International