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Retaliation, retribution, and punishment and international law

Schmitt, M. N. ORCID: (2024) Retaliation, retribution, and punishment and international law. Articles of War.

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On April 13, Iran launched a massive missile and drone attack on Israel. Hezbollah and Houthi attacks took place contemporaneously. Israel, alongside forces from France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Jordan, successfully neutralized most of these threats, with several Arab States providing indirect support. Widespread denunciation of Iran’s actions followed. For instance, the G7 “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack,” expressed “full solidarity and support to Israel and its people,” and reaffirmed its commitment toward Israel’s security. Iran’s attack was a response to Israel’s April 1 airstrike on individuals located inside Iran’s Consulate in Damascus. The operation killed two senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Generals, along with five other officers, a member of Hezbollah, and two Syrians. The day after the attack, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened, “We will make them regret this crime and other similar ones with the help of God.” Iran’s attack was an attempt to make good on that threat. The question is, “What next?” Iranian officials claim its “operation yielded its complete result” and “there is no intention to continue it,” although it is far from certain that Iran is ready to put an end to its long-running “shadow war” with Israel. Meanwhile, Israel seems intent on responding. For instance, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, stated that “the launch of so many missiles and drones to Israeli territory will be answered with a retaliation.” In response to such statements, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has warned, “The slightest action against Iran’s interests will definitely be met with a severe, extensive and painful response.” The risk of escalation between Iran and Israel is palpable, as is the danger of the conflict sparking a regional conflagration.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:116143
Publisher:Lieber Institute

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