The United States of America has suffered various terrorist actions over the last three decades  . A more recent issue and more important event is the September 11 attack or (9/11), which has raised many issues in the area of international law because the U.S.A and its allies have started their campaign in the ‘War on Terror’. This campaign has been considered by the US as a case of war, which includes military force and, as the UK government has also stated, political and financial measures.  The U.S.A has justified the war on terror as being in self-defense, a contention which has raised many controversial points about the right of self-defense.
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There are many arguments about the use of force based upon the right of self- defense; the con argument relies on the Nicaragua case  and Article 51 of the UN Charter  , and does not justify the use of force in the war on terror because that it may violate the Geneva Conventions regarding the peace and the sovereignty of states  . Whereas the pro argument for exercising the right of anticipatory self-defense relies on the Caroline case  and the weakness of the international law, and thereby attempts to justify the use of force in the war on terror. However, this paper will attempt to find the connection between the pro and con arguments to figure out the legality of the war on terror by examining the two sides’ justifications – such as the Caroline and Nicaragua Cases.SIEMENS2010-08-31T07:31:00 Insert Citation into footnote for all cases including page number if necessary if you are quoting from it Article 51 of the UN Charter states that: Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.  According to Article 51, the state under attack has the right to defend its territory from that attack  . In actual fact, the defending state is limited by some conditions such as the occurrence of the armed attack, and in reporting to the UN Security Council.  First, the most controversial point is defining an ‘armed attack’ because Article 51 allows force only in the event of an armed attack from another state.  Therefore, the use of force in self- defense is prohibited if there is no real attack. Moreover, the argument of anticipatory self defense, which is used as the justification for the war on terror is, according to Article 51, illegal.  Furthermore, the anticipatory self-defense in the Nicaragua case requires the state defend its territory from other state.
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