The lethal drone strike against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis has reignited debate about the use of force. Although the United States has targeted individual members of non-state groups in the context of the ‘war on terror’, the killing of Soleimani marks the first time the United States has carried out a strike against a military official of another country outside of a declared war zone. The attack could signal a new phase in the use of armed drones in interstate relations: on the same day that the strike targeted Soleimani, the United States reportedly tried, but failed, to kill another senior Iranian military commander, Abdul Reza Shahlai, in Yemen. Was the killing of Soleimani legal and moral? What are its implications for the future of targeted killing and drone warfare? Join our expert panel to discuss these questions.
Chair: Tom Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government.
- Dapo Akande is Professor of Public International Law and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the Blavatnik School of Government.
- Brianna Rosen is a DPhil candidate at the Blavatnik School of Government who previously supported the US National Security Council on Middle East policy issues.
- Toby Matthiesen is the Sir Adam Roberts Senior Research Fellow in the International Relations of the Middle East at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.
This event is co-hosted with the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict.