The Lawfare Podcast: What to Do With Detained Islamic State Fighters in Iraq and Syria

Jen Patja, Jacob Schulz, Robert Chesney, Vera Mironova, Leah West
Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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For a while, there have been large numbers of alleged former Islamic State state fighters and affiliates detained by the Iraqi government and by autonomous authorities in Syria. The fate of these detainees—and the more than 60,000 people in refugee affiliated with the men who live in refugee camps in the region—remains a pressing national security issue for countries in the region, as well as the United States and its Western allies. To talk about the situation, Jacob Schulz spoke with Bobby Chesney, Lawfare co-founder and professor of law at the University of Texas; Vera Mironova, a research fellow at Harvard and, among other things, author of a recent Lawfare post on trials of Islamic State fighters in Iraq; and Leah West, a lecturer at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and a fellow at the McCain Institute. They talked about how the trials have gone in Iraq and Syria; how the U.S., Canada and European countries have responded to the situation; and what lessons can be drawn from U.S. experiences with post-9/11 detention and trials of suspected terrorists.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Jacob Schulz is the former managing editor of Lawfare. He previously served as deputy managing editor and associate editor. He hails from Pennylvania and attended Amherst College.
Robert (Bobby) Chesney is the Dean of the University of Texas School of Law, where he also holds the James A. Baker III Chair in the Rule of Law and World Affairs at UT. He is known internationally for his scholarship relating both to cybersecurity and national security. He is a co-founder of Lawfare, the nation’s leading online source for analysis of national security legal issues, and he co-hosts the popular show The National Security Law Podcast.
Dr. Vera Mironova is a visiting Fellow at Harvard University. Vera conducted fieldwork in numerous active conflict zones and post-conflict regions all over the world, and from 2016 to 2017, she was embedded with Iraqi Special Operations Forces during the Mosul Operation and before that, with ultra right Ukrainian armed groups in Donbas. She is an author of the book "From Freedom Fighters to Jihadists. Human Resources of Non State Armed Groups" published by Oxford University Press. Her scholarship has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, BBC, and The Boston Globe. She has also served as a commentator for a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, the Associated Press, Washington Post, and Vice News.
Leah West is an assistant professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a former national security lawyer with Canada’s Department of Justice.

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