International humanitarian law in general and the classification of armed conflicts in particular have been the subjects of a vast amount of scholarly writing, international jurisprudence, states’ reports and international reports of IGOs and NGOs. Nevertheless, as exemplified by the armed conflicts with the Islamic State, important questions regarding various aspects of conflict classification remain. Since conflict classification has important practical ramifications, by analysing the armed conflicts with the Islamic State from the perspective of conflict classification, this article aims to frame these open questions and address them. As conflict classification is contingent on the status of the different actors in the battlefield, the article, inter alia, examines the following: whether the Islamic State can be regarded as a national liberation movement for the purposes of conflict classification; how international humanitarian law determines whether a group can be deemed as the Government of a given state; the effect of consent of the territorial state for intervention on the conflict classification; and, in cases where there is invitation of the territorial state for intervention, whether the foreign armed intervention should be considered separately or conjunctively with the ongoing non-international armed conflict of the territorial state.
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