This talk analyzes a basic, yet widely overlooked, critique of international law mounted by transnational "foreign fighter" jihad movements in conflicts such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, and Kashmir: the assertion of the right to engage in transnational armed solidarity without the permission of any nation-state. Proponents of such forms of jihad present it as an alternative to systems of intervention based on the UN system which they characterize as ineffective or even complicit in mass atrocities against Muslim populations. This talk traces the implications of these claims, highlighting the parallel dilemmas that transnational jihad groups and multinational peacekeeping forces face. The data draws from fieldwork conducted over the past 13 years with such jihad fighters as well as extensive analysis of internal documents, memoirs, and other primary source materials in Arabic, Urdu, and Bosnian.
Professor Darryl Li is an anthropologist and attorney working at the intersection of war, law, migration, empire, and race with a focus on transregional linkages between the Middle East, South Asia, and the Balkans. He has participated in litigation arising from the "War on Terror" as party counsel, amicus, or expert witness, including in Guantánamo habeas, Alien Tort, material support, denaturalization, immigration detention, and asylum proceedings. Professor Darryl Li received his Ph.D from Harvard University and his JD from Yale Law School.