Military operations

All Commons Briefing Papers
62 Documents
08.11.2016ISIS/Daesh: the military response in Iraq and Syria
US-led air strikes against ISIS continue in Iraq and Syria, alongside a training programme to build the capacity of Iraqi security forces and local fighters. The UK has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since September 2014 and has been providing training assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Following a vote in Parliament in December 2015 the UK expanded its air campaign into Syria. The campaign to liberate Mosul in northern Iraq has begun and attention is increasingly focused on the eventual liberation of Raqqa in Syria.
04.11.2016NATO's military response to Russia: November 2016 update
To counter increased assertiveness by Russia along NATO's eastern flank, the alliance adopted its Readiness Action Plan in 2014. This briefing paper explains the main elements with a specific focus on the UK military contribution.
26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
06.07.2016The Chilcot Inquiry: a reading list
A selection of Commons Library briefings and other material relevant to the Chilcot Inquiry
01.07.2016The Chilcot Inquiry
The Iraq Inquiry, set up in 2009 and chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was originally expected to report within months. It will now be published on 6 July 2016
29.06.2016The French Nuclear Deterrent
The French nuclear deterrent is the one that is most often compared to the UK's nuclear forces. While there are similarities in terms of policy, posture and size, there are also significant differences in terms of industrial support and cost. All of the major political parties in France also support an independent nuclear deterrent, in contrast to the UK; while domestic support is also high. This paper examines the French nuclear deterrent in greater detail. It is also part of a wider Library briefing series on nuclear weapons.
22.04.2016British soldiers to Libya?
Could British soldiers be sent to Libya? This briefing examines the Government's position and Parliament's role, if any, in approving such a mission.
04.03.2016Women in Combat
Women will now be allowed to serve on the front line in the Infantry and Royal Marines. The Prime Minister announced on 8 July 2016 the lifting of the ban on women serving in ground close roles.
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.
11.12.2015The EU's response to the migration crisis: recent developments
This note provides a brief update on recent developments in the EU's response to the migration crisis, including the EU's military operation against people smuggling in the Mediterranean. Documents related to the EU's response to the migration crisis are due to be debated in the House on 14 December.
01.12.2015Legal basis for UK military action in Syria
What is the legal significance of the November 2015 UN Security Council Resolution for the UK and other states using force in Iraq and/or Syria?
30.11.2015Syria: a reading list
This is a reading list that covers the situation in Syria, the complexity of battling Syrian groups and of outside interventions, the legal implications of any UK intervention and other aspects that will form part of one of the House's most significant debates of recent years.
19.11.2015A brief guide to previous British defence reviews
This note is a short guide to the main recommendations of the defence reviews that have taken place since the end of the Second World War, and whether those recommendations subsequently lived up to events.
27.10.2015Afghanistan: back on the agenda?
As the Taliban has made gains and ISIS has a foothold in Afghanistan, the US has announced that it will not withdraw its troops so quickly as planned.
20.10.2015UK drone attack in Syria: legal questions
The UK drone attack in Syria that killed two British men raises many legal questions. Was it self-defence? What about the laws of war? How does human rights law apply? What is the legal significance of the attack?
11.09.2015Overview of military drones used by the UK Armed Forces
Remotely Piloted or Unmanned Aircraft, more commonly known as drones, have been described as the most contentious conventional weapons system currently in use. This note provides an overview of their use by the UK armed forces.
04.06.2015Iraq: calls for an inquiry and historical precedents
There were repeated calls for an inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq from 2003 until the announcement of the Chilcot Inquiry in 2009
13.05.2015Parliamentary approval for military action
The deployment of the Armed Forces is currently a prerogative power. Parliament has no legally established role and the Government is under no legal obligation with respect to its conduct. In 2011 the Government acknowledged that a convention had emerged whereby the House of Commons would have the opportunity to debate the deployment of military forces, prior to doing so, except in the event of an emergency. The defeat of the Government in a vote on military action in Syria in August 2013 was widely viewed as an assertion of Parliamentary sovereignty on such matters. Yet many have argued that the convention lacks clarity and remains open to interpretation and exploitation. In 2011 the Government committed to legislate on this issue but by the end of the 2010-2015 Parliament no proposals were forthcoming. Going forward proponents of a formalised role for Parliament have suggested adopting a parliamentary resolution as either an interim step or as a viable alternative to legislation. Establishing either is fraught with difficulties and arguably, therefore, makes the continuation and strengthening of the current convention more likely in the immediate future.
19.03.2015ISIS and the sectarian conflict in the Middle East
The radical jihadis of ISIS still control large areas of Iraq and Syria, despite the international campaign against them. But who are they really?
09.02.2015International help for the government of Ukraine
Violence has been increasing in eastern Ukraine, leading to calls for the West to arm the Ukrainian government. But Ukraine is also close to financial meltdown.
18.12.2014In Brief: Progress against ISIS December 2014
A brief summary of the progress of the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
08.09.2014Military and Humanitarian Assistance to Iraq
The substantial gains made by Islamic State fighters in the last few months, which has seen ISIL forces advance on the northern city of Irbil and forced thousands of people from religious minorities to flee their homes, has prompted the US, UK and other Western governments to take more concerted action in Iraq.
22.07.2014Hostilities in Gaza: latest developments
An overview of the latest developments in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
16.06.2014Military options in Iraq
The UK Government is not planning a British military intervention in Iraq. This note summarises commentary about the possible military options for the UK and US in Iraq.
05.09.2013In brief: National positions on Syria intervention
04.09.2013US Government and Congress Response to Syria
A look at the political situation in the US after President Obama's surprise decision to seek Congressional authorisation on Syria.
29.08.2013Conditions for using force in humanitarian intervention
Could the Government's legal position on intervention in Syria contribute to setting a new precedent?
29.08.2013Military interventions: some comparisons
19.08.2013In Brief: International Military Forces in Mali
As offensive military operations in the country have begun to wind down concerns remain that Malian and foreign forces will now face a protracted insurgency from Islamic militants who have continued to conduct counter-attacks from the north of the country.
10.06.2013In brief: Iraq abuse judgment of May 2013
24.05.2013In brief: UK withdrawal from Afghanistan
The drawdown of British troops in Afghanistan has begun. The number of British troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 5,200 by the end of 2013.
01.10.2012The cost of international military operations by the UK (2001-2013)
This note provides a summary of the estimated and actual costs of international military operations conducted by the UK in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The paper includes information on Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) as well as comparisons with US expenditure. Comprehensive analysis of policy developments concerning Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya can be found on the associated Topic pages.
18.09.2012In Brief: Afghanistan - insider attacks
This note looks at the rising number of insider attacks against ISAF personnel in Afghanistan and the response from ISAF and the Government.
09.07.2012Afghanistan: The Timetable for Security Transition
NATO assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2003. At its summit in Chicago in May 2012, NATO confirmed ISAF's mission will end on 31 December 2014. It also mapped out the transition of security for Afghanistan from ISAF to Afghan National Security Forces. Specifically, it set the goal for Afghan forces to be in the lead for security nation-wide by mid-2013.
29.03.2012In brief: Afghanistan - timetable to 2014
This note provides a brief outline of the timetable for withdrawal of NATO combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014.
28.02.2012Preventing and prosecuting piracy at sea: legal issues
The resurgence in piracy at sea, particularly hijackings off the coast of Somalia, has prompted a range of efforts to tackle it. These throw up a series of legal issues including the use of force by governments and private armed security guards, and transferring of suspects for trial or imprisonment. Library Standard Notes covering related issues include: Piracy at sea: overview and policy responses; Somalia: recent political, security and humanitarian developments; and Does Somali piracy have any 'developmental effects'?.
20.12.2011Drone attacks and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaqi: legal issues
Anwar al-Awlaqi, a dual US-Yemeni citizen described as the 'leader of external operations for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula', was killed by a US drone attack in Yemen on 30 September 2011. Whether this was legal under international or US law is a matter of considerable debate.
14.12.2011Military balance in Southeast Asia
This paper examines the military balance of power in Southeast Asia and specifically at the military capabilities and priorities of six regional actors: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore.
05.12.2011Afghan reconciliation and the Bonn conference
This note describes briefly the security situation in Afghanistan, the progress or otherwise of attempts to reconcile and reintegrate insurgents with the government and looks at the conference to be held in Bonn, marking the 10th anniversary of the conference which set up the present government.
15.11.2011The Arab Uprisings
Since December 2010, the most profound process of change has affected the countries of the Arab world. The change spread quickly between the countries of the region, underlining the many common factors that provoked unrest. How the region's revolutions progress, however, depends on the individual characteristics of each country, which are very different. This paper looks at these similarities and differences and considers the possible outcomes in each case. The legitimacy of ruling regimes, the effect of societies' divisions along confessional lines and the role of the region's militaries are considered.
24.10.2011Military Operations in Libya
Military action to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya
16.05.2011Killing Osama bin Laden: has justice been done?
The US government has asserted that by killing Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011, justice has been done. Its view is that the killing was clearly lawful. But the nature, timing and location of the killing have raised various questions under international law. The killing also has possible implications for future policies towards al-Qaeda as well as Libya and other countries.
06.04.2011Interpretation of Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya
What the rules of engagement are in Libya, and how far coalition forces are allowed to go in protecting the civilian population are highly controversial. This note looks briefly at some of the current questions.
22.06.2010The 'AfPak policy' and the Pashtuns
The first part of this paper focuses on the Pashtuns, beginning with a survey of the geographic, historical and cultural factors which have shaped Pashtun identities in Afghanistan and Pakistan before going on to describe the political and security arrangements under which they currently live. The paper then reviews the Pashtun armed militant groups currently operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second part of the paper then looks at the US AfPak policy, setting out its origins and evolution before assessing the prospects for success over the coming year and beyond.
26.02.2010The legal basis for the invasion of Afghanistan
The military campaign in Afghanistan was not specifically mandated by the UN, but was widely (although not universally) perceived to be a legitimate form of self-defence under the UN Charter. This note outlines the self-defence justification for military action.
05.06.2009War and peace in Sri Lanka
This paper provides a brief historical and social survey of Sri Lanka, including the origins of the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. It then gives an account of developments since 2002, when a ceasefire was agreed and hopes were raised - rapidly to be dashed - that there might be a peaceful negotiated resolution of the conflict. The paper also surveys the stance taken by the international community on the conflict, the military capabilities of the Sri Lankan military, and aid and development issues. It concludes by considering Sri Lanka's future prospects, including assessing how real the Government's military victory is and whether genuine political and constitutional reforms are likely to be introduced.
20.03.2009Geneva Conventions and United Nations Personnel (Protocols) Bill [HL] (Bill 69 of 2008-09)
This short Bill is intended to amend two UK Acts to enable the Government to ratify two international agreements protecting military medical personnel and humanitarian workers. In line with the protocols, the Bill would firstly sanction and protect the 'red crystal' as a new symbol to protect humanitarian personnel in armed conflict instead of (or in addition to) the existing red cross or red crescent; and secondly extend the definition of protected UN workers to include those delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance in peacebuilding operations and those delivering emergency humanitarian protection.
06.07.2007Hamas and the seizure of Gaza
Hamas and the seizure of Gaza. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/60.
19.01.2007The crisis in Lebanon
The Crisis in Lebanon. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/08.
08.08.2005Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflict) Bill: Bill 16 of 2005-06
19.07.2004Iraq:political and security issues at the handover
Iraq: political and security issues at the handover. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/58.
23.06.2004Sudan: Conflict in Darfur
Sudan: conflict in Darfur. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/51.
23.05.2003The Conflict in Iraq
The Conflict in Iraq. House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/50.
13.03.2003Iraq: Developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441
Iraq: developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441. House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/22
11.12.2001The campaign against international terrorism: prospects after the fall of the Taliban.
The campaign against international terrorism: prospects after the fall of the Taliban. House of Commons Research Paper 01/112.
31.10.2001Operation Enduring Freedom and the conflict in Afghanistan: an update.
Operation Enduring Freedom and the conflict in Afghanistan: an update. House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/81.
07.02.2000The Conflict in Chechnya
The conflict in Chechnya. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/14.
29.04.1999Kosovo: operation Allied Force
Kosovo: operation 'Allied force'. House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/48.
24.03.1999Kosovo: NATO and Military Action
Kosovo: NATO and military action. House of Commons Research Paper 99/34.
10.02.1999Iraq: Desert Fox and Policy Developments
Iraq: "Desert Fox" and Policy developments. House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/13.
27.10.1998Kosovo: The Diplomatic and Military Options
Kosovo: The diplomatic and military options. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/93.
Kosovo. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/73