Russia in Syria: Enforcing superpower recognition

Assad and Putin (Picture Source and Copyright:

Author: Johannes Sender

Russia’s military intervention into the Syrian civil war on the side of the Assad leadership has invoked much critique, especially by Western states. During the NATO defence minister meeting on October 8th, many accused Russia of bombing non-ISIS rebel groups on behalf of the Syrian government under Assad. The US defence minister Carter called actions by the Russian forces “increasingly unprofessional“. Many diplomats seem to think the same about Russia latest foreign policy, which they called “chaotic and without a clear aim”. They argue that the bombing of Assad’s non-ISIS enemies would not make the situation any easier and is not fulfilling a greater strategic goal. In this article, Johannes Sender, Master student of International Security and Law, argues that Russia’s foreign policy in Syria as well as in the Ukraine can be read to serve strategic interests: Challenging it’s status in the international order and forcing others to play along.

Continue reading “Russia in Syria: Enforcing superpower recognition”


The legality of Barrel Bombs: A short analysis

Deadly Blasts Rip Through Aleppo, Syria (by Robert Riches on November 14, 2012 via The Loquitur)

Author: Johannes Sender

The topic of specific weapons, not being weapons of mass destruction, get little coverage in popular media. In the past years, especially under the influence of the on-going civil war in Syria, one kind of weapon appears more regularly in international media: the so-called barrel bombs, often used by the Syrian armed forces of Bashar Hafez al-Assad. This article written by Johannes Sender, Master’s Student in International Security and Law,  will provide a short analysis of barrel bombs under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including what has to be considered for a potential legal or illegal use.

Continue reading “The legality of Barrel Bombs: A short analysis”