Globe Trot: Secret drones, tiny drones, history in Mali, and ‘hell’ in Syria

International | Mindy Belz

Globe Trot: Secret drones, tiny drones, history in Mali, and ‘hell’ in Syria

Sherry Rehman talks to reporters in Islamabad, Pakistan
Associated Press/Photo by B.K.Bangash

Today The Washington Post admits that it and other news organizations have known for a year that the United States was operating a drone base in Saudi Arabia—and did not report it at the Obama administration’s request. “The secrecy surrounding that policy was punctured Monday with  ‘white paper’ accused of being al-Qaeda operatives.”

 The administration will and should come under fresh scrutiny for its highly secretive drone campaign—but so should U.S. media. While fully vetting Obama criticism of terrorist detentions and interrogation policy under the Bush administration, big media knowingly covered up an Obama policy to target terror suspects by air overseas (without the benefit of interrogation, it might be pointed out).

 Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman, told journalists on Tuesday that CIA drone strikes are a "direct violation of our sovereignty" and are doing more harm than good by encouraging anti-American extremism in Pakistan's tribal regions. The drone strategy “creates more potential terrorists on the ground and militants on the ground instead of taking them out,” the ambassador said. “We need to drain the swamp, but instead it is radicalizing people.” 

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Here’s a rundown of the latest attack in Pakistan, on a military base, by the Taliban.

Drones are here to stay, and in your pocket: Pocket-sized drones used by British forces in Afghanistan aid in reconnaissance.

French forces are scheduled to hand control of Timbuktu tomorrow to the Malian army after wresting it and other parts of northern Mali from Islamist fighters. Timbuktu, an ancient center of trade and North African culture, has lost many historic sites in the Islamic rampage over the past year, but nearly 300,000 historic documents, scholars learned this week, have been saved.

We keep saying this: Historically one of the safest, most hospitable places for Christians in the Middle East—Syria—is descending into "hell." Read, weep, and pray.

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