63 Wash. L. Rev. 43 (1988)
International Law Governing Aid to Opposition Groups in Civil War: Resurrecting the Standards of Belligerency

handle is hein.journals/washlr63 and id is 55 raw text is: INTERNATIONAL LAW GOVERNING AID TO
OPPOSITION GROUPS IN CIVIL WAR:
RESURRECTING THE STANDARDS OF
BELLIGERENCY
Robert W. Gomulkiewicz*
I. INTRODUCTION
Civil wars and wars of revolution are a part of America's past and
its foreign policy present and future. Since World War II the world's
wars have been largely wars of insurgency.1 The destructive capacity
of nuclear weapons makes total world war remote.2 However, the
breakdown of colonial empires, dissatisfaction with the distribution of
wealth, and the rise of people's expectations have made civil war a fact
of twentieth century politics.3 Superpowers, in competition for allies
and influence, have often armed these conflicts, leading to an increase
in the duration and destructiveness of civil wars.4
Despite its revolutionary inception, the United States has often
sided with the incumbent government in these wars.5 In the 1980's,
however, the United States has increasingly funded armed opposition
groups. Aid for groups such as the Afghan mujahedeen has received
bipartisan support; assistance to the contra rebels has met with strong
Congressional and grassroots opposition.
The United States has often looked to international law to justify its
assistance of armed opposition groups. International law includes
numerous provisions that regulate the conduct of states in times of
* Associate, Shidler, McBroom, Gates & Lucas, Seattle, Washington; B.A. 1983, Pacific
Lutheran University; M.A. 1987, International Studies, University of Washington; J.D. 1987,
University of Washington.
1. J. BOND, THE RULES OF RIOT: INTERNAL CONFLICT AND THE LAW OF WAR 33 (1974);
Falk, Janus Tormented: The International Law ofInternal War, in INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF
CIVIL STRIFE 185 (J. Roseneau ed. 1964). Some estimate that 80-90% of the victims of armed
conflict after World War II were victims of noninternational conflicts. See G. VON GLAHN,
LAW AMONG NATIONS 614 (5th ed. 1986).
2. Farer, Intervention in Civil Wars: A Modest Proposal, in 1 THE VIETNAM WAR AND
INTERNATIONAL LAW 509, 510-11 (R. Falk ed. 1968); Luard, Civil Conflicts il Modern
International Relations, in THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATION OF CIVIL WARS 7, 9 (E. Luard
ed. 1972).
3. Luard, supra note 2, at 10-1I.
4. Id. at 15.
5. R. TAllER, THE WAR OF THE FLEA: A STUDY OF GUERRILLA WARFARE THEORY AND
PRACriSE 174 (1965).

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