During this roundtable, Steven Hill, Françoise Hampson and Sean Watts discussed the issue of siege warfare and its implications in the 21st century. First, Françoise Hampson clarified what is meant by “siege”. She argued that a “siege” can be defined by its effects, because it involves the control of movement of persons or goods in and out of a besieged area. She also recalled the various military purposes of a siege, which include the control of cities, bridges and roads, as well as the weakening of the enemy. Hampson then examined the distinction between sieges and blockades. Attention was also given to sieges in situations of occupation. Next, Sean Watts presented the American practice and doctrine concerning siege operations. He stated that military doctrine considers siege as an essential aspect of military operations. He nevertheless highlighted the aversion of the armed forces towards this practice. The two panelists also discussed the use of starvation as a method of warfare. Steven Hill then considered whether or not the civilians living in a besieged area should be evacuated and receive humanitarian assistance. Finally, Sean Watts provided some elements of analysis on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 (2014).
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