The provision of lethal aid to the Syrian rebels appears questionable from a purely legal perspective. It would arguably amount to a use of force. Neither of the traditional legal justifications for the use of force—self-defense and authorization by the Security Council—applies in this case. While humanitarian intervention arguably offers a (weak) basis for the use of force, states would be wise to hesitate before embracing a liberal right to humanitarian intervention, because such operations can serve as convenient subterfuges for armed intervention.
Allegations that Stuxnet was part of a U.S. planned and led covert cyber operation and assertions that a nation-state used a cyber-attack in support of national security objectives reinvigorated the attention of cyber-law commentators. Military attorneys, however, must translate deeply theoretical discussions into concrete legal advice. This article concludes that treating all cyber techniques as weapons is impractical. Rather, an assessment focusing on how a capability will be used in context, especially of the primary purpose of the capability, is more effective and consonant with international law. This approach will more clearly delineate cyber attacks and permit a separate discussion of the great majority of cyber events—those that fall below the level of attack.