Contesting the Neutral Space
In a 2007 presentation to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), General John Abizaid, former commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) and commander of coalition forces in Iraq, stated that Iraqi insurgents were threatening the humanitarian ‘neutral space'. He indicated that insurgents and terrorists were increasingly targeting humanitarian aid workers in an attempt to polarise participants in the conflict. The pressures on the neutral, or humanitarian space, however, do not only originate with insurgents, but also with military strategies designed at least in part to deal with them.
This paper will analyse how military contributions to humanitarian crises have influenced the nature of the neutral space. It concludes that militant groups are likely to continue to target humanitarian actors in order to confine or destroy the neutral space. As a result, both military and non-government organisations (NGOs) will need to analyse how the recent trend of military humanitarianism will have an impact on the future viability of the neutral space.
31 August 2017Inspector General Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry 25 July 2017Chief of Army History Conference 19-20 Oct 24 July 2017CA interviewed about domestic violence in Army 12 July 2017Talisman Saber 17 exercises Allies' capabilities 3 July 2017Plan Beersheba sees Army Reservists supporting 3 Bde