The use of force against armed groups located in other states has a long history, but began receiving heightened attention as a result of US operations in Afghanistan following the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. This led to significant attention devoted to the surrounding legal questions in policy and academic circles. The unfolding of events in the past decade has presented a myriad of new and far more complex challenges to our understanding of the law and how it should apply in these situations. In particular, the notion of a single armed group in a defined location has given way to concepts of conflict engaging multiple armed groups across numerous territories. As a result, debates have emerged over issues such as defining the scope of the battlefield and over terms such as ‘associated forces’ in the context of armed groups.

Professor Lubell’s work seeks to analyse the development of the debate in the last fifteen years, to map out the new questions that have emerged and examine how they impact upon each other, and to move the debate beyond the initial questions and into suggested solutions for the new challenges.