The George Mason University International Law Journal and the Center for the Middle East and International Law are still seeking submissions of papers (and/or speakers) for our upcoming virtual symposium on state recognition, titled, “The New U.S. Recognition Policy – What the Golan and Western Sahara Mean for the Law.” The papers are meant to be short and may cover one of the following topics:
- What model or legal basis for recognition of territorial sovereignty do the new
U.S. recognitions suggest?
- What must be true about U.S. understandings of the permanence of territorial
sovereignty in the face of prolonged de fact control?
- What understanding of the bindingness of U.N. resolutions do the U.S.
- What does this state practice say about the robustness of the soft law nonrecognition norm?
- What implications does this have for the U.S. approach to other disputed
territorial situations, such as Crimea, various post-Soviet “frozen conflicts,” the
West Bank, Puntland Somaliland, etc.?
Authors of accepted/published papers will also receive a modest honorarium from
Please send abstracts/proposals and a C.V. to Sally Alghazali, Editor-in-Chief of the
Journal, at email@example.com. Accepted proposals will be notified promptly.
For more information about the symposium topic, read below:
In the past couple of years, the United States took two major actions to recognize states’ de jure
sovereignty over contested territories. In March 2019, the United States recognized Israeli
sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967 and annexed in
1981. Then in Dec. 2020, the U.S. recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,
which was first occupied in 1975. These recognitions involved somewhat different legal and
factual circumstances, but all of them resolved territorial disputes in favor of a longstanding de
facto governing power.
While adopted under the Trump Administration, these recognitions remain unchanged one year
into the Biden Administration and appear unlikely to be repudiated in the near future. They now
constitute part of the official policy of the United States. The aim of this symposium is to explore
what this means, for U.S. foreign affairs law and for public international law.
Does this demonstrate the importance of de facto and realist concerns over formal ones in U.S.
sovereignty determinations? Recognition is a political act with international legal consequences.
In the current context, some argue that a general duty of non-recognition exists. However, the
state practice of the U.S. casts a particularly large shadow, and several recognitions in a few
years is a great deal of state practice. Any discussion of duties of non-recognition must take these
developments into account.
This Symposium – conducted by Zoom on Dec. 16, 2021– is organized jointly by the George
Mason University International Law Journal and the new Center for the Middle East and
International Law. Panelists’ papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal. One
or more papers will be selected from the Call of Papers. We are seeking proposals for papers,
especially but not exclusively from young scholars, graduate students, etc. The methodological
approach of the symposium will be primarily positivist – understanding the legal effect of new