US President Barack Obama gave a speech that was meant to contextualise the global drone war that has escalated under his presidency, outline the framework for future targeted killing, and address concerns about the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay. But did he succeed? To discuss this, Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, is joined by guests: Carlos Warner, a lawyer for Guantanamo detainees; and Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.
Photo: President Barack Obama holds a meeting in Situation Room of the White House. From left at the table, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, CIA Director John Brennan, and Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
This round-up will be on hiatus the next two weeks (sorry), but will return!
- Fierce fighting is ongoing in the Syrian town of Qusair.
- Palestinians are delaying joining UN agencies, conventions and treaties in order to preserve the current peace effort.
- A former Israeli border policeman killed himself and four others in a bank in Beersheba after being refused an overdraft and cash by an ATM.
- Multiple days of clashes between Sunni and Alawite residents in Tripoli, Lebanon have left at least 11 dead.
- Rami Khouri asks if Hezbollah is at a turning point.
- Yemenis in the southern city of Aden rallied in support of an independent south.
- Six Egyptian policemen and a border guard who were abducted on the Sinai peninsula last week have been released by their captors, who remain unknown.
- In Tunisia, 200 Islamist protesters were arrested and one killed in clashes with security.
- Karim Mezran at The Atlantic Council worries that Algeria is a powder keg.
- 300,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the Darfur region this year.
- 18 soldiers and four Islamists were killed in a gun battle in Agadex, Niger.
- M23 rebels in the Congo have declared a ceasefire for the UN Secretary General’s visit.
- With the executions of five Yemenis, the total number executed in Saudi Arabia this year is 47.
- A wave of car bombings across Iraq on late Sunday and early Monday left 76 dead and 250 injured and on Tuesday explosions in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Tarmiyah and Tuz Khurmato added at least another 23 to the death toll.
- Iranian presidential candidates Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a former Ahmadinejad aide, and former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have been disqualified from elections.
- Iran executed by hanging two men accused and convicted of spying for the CIA and the Israeli Mossad.
- Kim Jong-un sent an envoy to China.
- North Korea reportedly has a new military chief.
- The drug war is ramping up in the Mexican state of Michoácan.
- Guatemala’s top court threw out former leader Efrain Rios Montt’s genocide and crimes against humanity convictions.
- Guantánamo’s WiFi was shut off after the hacker collective Anonymous threatened disruption at the base.
- The transcript for President Obama’s speech on drone policy and Guantánamo Bay is in full here.
- Prior to the speech Attorney General Eric Holder publicly acknowledged what was already known: the US had killed Americans abroad with the drone program (four, to be specific).
- The US State Dept’s annual International Religious Freedom Report found discrimination and bigotry against Muslims and Jews on the rise around the world [PDF].
- A former friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev, implicated Tsarnaev in a 2011 triple murder and then was himself killed when he reportedly attacked FBI agents during questioning.
- The word terrorism is being used to describe a brutal attack on a London street that left a British soldier dead. One of the attackers recorded a video statement directly following the murder.
- One attacker has now been identified as Michael Adebolajo, and has been connected on some level to the extremist group al-Muhajiroun.
- The University of Kent has created a Rendition Flights Database, cataloging 11,000 individual flights to create a picture of the global renditions network.
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Photo: Free Syrian Army fighters sit in a house on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. (Photo by Khalil Hamra)
Photo: President Barack Obama holds a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Photo: A U.S. Air Force EQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle waits for its takeoff time before its first launch from an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The EQ-4 carries the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), which acts as a persistent gateway, bridging diverse tactical data links and voice communications to improve battlefield communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris)