GoJIL Vol. 3, No. 1 (2011)
Armed Forces as Carrying both the Stick and the Carrot? Humanitarian Aid in U.S. Counterinsurgency Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
The fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq has led the U.S. and its allies to devote growing attention and resources to counterinsurgency strategies, stability operations and civil-military operations. Humanitarian and development assistance have acquired an important role in military strategies. However, the activities carried out by armed forces in the field of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and Iraq have been criticized for blurring the distinction between civilian and military actors and thus increasing the risk of being targeted for humanitarians and civilians. The article analyzes the conduct of U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and the challenges it has posed to humanitarian actors. It then examines U.S. military doctrines and manuals and argues that their most recent versions have increasingly taken into account the needs of humanitarian actors and the principles of humanitarian action, but reasons for concern remain. The engagement of the military in humanitarian assistance has not been definitely limited. In addition, humanitarians should be careful in their relationships with the armed forces in the field of information-sharing.
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