International Law on Overt and Covert Interventions Essay

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The international law is the universal rules and principles guiding the conducts and relations between nation-states, and international organizations. The modern concept of international law started in the 17th century, and has been accepted as the rules and conducts guiding the relations among nation states. In the contemporary international environment, rules and principles guiding the states' conducts have become critically important to maintain international peace and security, and preventing violation and aggression. However, the principle of the international law prohibits the use of force against other state actors except where the security council authorizes the use of military force to restore the international peace or where a state uses the force as a self-defence. In the international arena, nation states have been found using the overt and covert method to exercise military interventions against other states. However, a self-defense is one of the major factors that provokes a state to exert the overt and covert interventions against other states.

The objective of this essay is to investigate the aspect of international law that applies to overt and covert interventions in the international relations.

Overview of Overt and Covert Interventions

The overt intervention with reference to the international law framework is the tentative military actions done openly against another state. Framed differently, overt intervention is done in a plain sight with a clear manifestation of using military intervention against another state. The U.S. military intervention against Iraq in the 1990s following the Iraqis occupation of Kuwait is an example of overt intervention. Moreover, North Korea has demonstrated a hostile action against South Korea in a full display.

On the other hand, covert intervention is the act of using military, economic and political forces to influence the actions of other states without using the open manifestation. Berkeley Law (1984) defines convert action as a sort of military assault that a state carried out against another state to influence the conduct of another state. In most cases, covert actions are the foreign policy options against the Third World countries or the weaker nations. Moreover, the superpowers such as the United States and France generally take advantages of their economic superiorities to exploit the economic dependencies of the third world countries.

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Typically, increasing number of states prefer using the covert interventions and refrain from the open warfare. Under the international law, covert intervention is generally forbidden because nation states take the advantages of the secret actions associated with convert interventions to influence the actions of other states. Consequently, both overt and covert interventions are threats to the international peace and security.

Aspect of International Law dealing with Overt and Covert Interventions

Different principles of the international law focus on the covert and overt interventions. The United Nation Charter prohibits the use military intervention against another state unless when a state acts as a self-defense or where the UN Security Council authorizes such intervention to maintain international peace and security. Under the Article 51 of the UN Charter, a nation state has the right to use the act of force in response to an attack from another state. The Article 51 further stipulates that a state may exercise an overt military intervention as a self-defense when an armed attack is imminent or ongoing. The armed attacks are not the only attacks against nation-states, however, an attack can focus on a state's entities such as the embassies or government agencies. Such acts are also considered an attack on a state. In this case, a state can exercise an overt military intervention to protect itself against such attack. For example, overt military action against the Al Qaeda in 2001 was supported and has been considered as a principle of self-defense based on the imminent terrorist attacks, thus, it was critical to carrying out the military action against Taliban to prevent an imminent attack from the Taliban organization. Indeed, Section 1373(2001) and 1368(2001) of the Security Council resolutions view the military intervention against Taliban as a self-defense to prevent large-scale terrorist attacks such as an attack on Trade Center on September 2001. The principle of international law also allows the nation states to use the overt intervention to protect their sovereignties. Stratton, (2009) states that the right of a state includes sovereignty, equality and political independence. The concept sovereignty….....

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Berkeley Law (1984). Legality of Covert Action under Contemporary International Law, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal. 139.

Johnson, L. K. & James, W. (2008). Intelligence and National Security. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kinzer, S. (2008). All the Shah's men: An American coup and the roots of Middle East terror. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Stratton, J. (2009). International Law. Hot Topics. State Library of New South Wales.

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