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Casus belli is a Latin language expression meaning the justification for acts of war. Casus means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while belli means "of war". It is usually distinguished from casus foederis, with casus belli being used to refer to offenses or threats directly against a nation, and casus foederis to refer to offenses or threats to another, allied, nation with which the justifying nation is engaged in a mutual defense treaty, such as NATO