World roundup: May 19 2023
Stories from Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Ecuador, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
May 19, 1919: The Turkish War of Independence begins.
May 19, 1961: The Soviet Union’s Venera 1 probe, also sometimes called “Sputnik 8” in the West, becomes the first man-made object to complete an interplanetary voyage when it passes by Venus. Unfortunately from a scientific perspective, the probe had lost contact with Earth about a week after its February 19 launch so it was unable to transmit any data it might have gathered during the flyby.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
It sure sounds like the US military’s investigation into its May 3 drone strike in Syria is not going the way the Pentagon would like:
The operation was overseen by U.S. Central Command, which claimed hours after the strike, without citing evidence or naming a suspect, that the Predator drone strike had targeted a “senior Al Qaeda leader.” But now there is doubt inside the Pentagon about who was killed, two U.S. defense officials told The Washington Post.
“We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official,” one official said. The other, offering a slightly different view, said “though we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda.” Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary determinations of an ongoing investigation into the incident.
In the weeks since the attack, U.S. military officials have refused to identify publicly who their target was, how the apparent error occurred, whether a legitimate terrorist leader escaped and why some in the Pentagon maintain Misto was a member of al-Qaeda despite his family’s denials.
It’s safe to assume that “we didn’t kill the guy we wanted to kill but we’re, uhhhh, pretty sure the guy we did kill was also Bad” is a lame attempt at deflection. There is no publicly available evidence that even suggests the victim, Lotfi Hassan Misto, had any al-Qaeda affiliation. Given the US government’s record when it comes to accepting responsibility for civilian casualties they should get no benefit of the doubt.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Foreign Exchanges to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.