Mapping the Debates about Syria

Written by

John LouthJohn Louth is Editor-in-Chief of Academic Law at Oxford University Press

International lawyers are fortunate to be well-served by a number of very well informed and thoughtful blogs. Whether just throwing out an idea for discussion or undertaking a detailed survey of a topic it seems to me that we need to start taking seriously the idea that they are making a lasting contribution to scholarship. This seems especially true in the case of Syria.

The sharp increase in scholarly commentary that has appeared online since the chemical attack on 21 August has added much needed nuance and authority to more general press coverage of the issues. At the same time such a sudden torrent carries the risk of overwhelming our abilities to keep track of what has been said.

To counter this I have created a “Debate Map” on a freely available page within the Oxford Public International Law site which indexes discussions by scholars of the public international law aspects of the debates over military intervention in Syria that have appeared in blogs and newspaper articles (plus two forthcoming journal articles and one recently published article).

It is organized by topic and within each topic I give the date, the author, where it was posted or published, and a brief description of what arguments are being discussed or put forward. It only covers English language materials, focuses on public international law questions (not domestic constitutional law questions). Not every single post that has appeared is included – if two posts are on the same topic but one merely flags up the questions whilst the other one attempts to solve them I have only included the latter post.

Intended users include scholars who want to see what has been written about so far (either just to keep track or to plan their own writing), and lecturers and librarians preparing guides for student discussion. It also might help scholars who want to write a blog post to see where there are gaps in what has been written on.

The aim is to keep this up to date and in due course it will reference published articles and even books. I would be very happy to receive feedback on whether such a  resource is useful, if you feel I have missed something (I cannot guarantee that I will include it of course), or if you have suggestions about the structure of the Map. That can be done by emailing me at john.louth {at} oup(.)com .

If the concept is considered useful I would also be keen on hearing any suggestions for further Maps that people would like to see.

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Jordan says

September 10, 2013

Here is one more -- on the seven claims for lawful use of force consistent with the U.N. Charter:
http://jurist.org/forum/2013/09/jordan-paust-force-syria.php
Yes, there will be articles and essays by my colleagues.

Patrick S. O'Donnell says

September 11, 2013

A wonderful resource: thank you!

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2 comments

Jordan says

September 10, 2013

Here is one more -- on the seven claims for lawful use of force consistent with the U.N. Charter:
http://jurist.org/forum/2013/09/jordan-paust-force-syria.php
Yes, there will be articles and essays by my colleagues.

Patrick S. O'Donnell says

September 11, 2013

A wonderful resource: thank you!