American, Italian Killed In Drone Strike
Today, President Barack Obama disclosed that two hostages, Warren Weinstein, an American who had been held by the terrorist group since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national held captive since 2012, were accidentally killed as a result of a drone strike on a compound in Pakistan in January.
The deaths of an American development expert and an Italian aid worker in a botched drone strike while in al Qaeda captivity highlight the risks of Obama’s shadow war.
“Weinstein, Farouq, and Gadahn are the fifth, sixth, and seventh Americans to be killed in U.S. drone strikes, and their deaths are representative of the two sides of the U.S. drone war. On the one hand, the Obama administration has expanded the use of such strikes to eliminate large numbers of al Qaeda fighters, but the use of the weapons has also resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties and strikes against unintended targets,” reports Foreign Policy.
While the administration said the strikes met the established standards, they said the guidelines would be under review, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Europeans Meet To Discuss Response To Migrant Crisis
Diplomats from the European Union are gathering in Brussels today for an emergency summit to discuss ways to address the flow of migrants from North Africa that has inundated Italian ports and resulted in at least 1,500 deaths this year so far. A draft of the plan E.U. officials will be discussing suggests that Europe will resettle only 5,000 migrants and the others will be returned to their countries of origin.
Italy will also propose military action. “We know where the smugglers keep their boats, where they gather,” Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said. “The plans for military intervention are there.” He said that Italy would be willing to lead such an intervention if it received U.N. support. They also proposed U.N. refugee camps be established in Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia, so the United Nations could process migrants before they flee their countries.
Currently 70,000 migrants are being housed in Italian facilities while awaiting processing, including some of the 150,000 that made the journey last year. Another 986 were rescued yesterday alone and officials fear that warmer spring weather will encourage even more to attempt the trip despite the shockingly high death toll so far this year.
Pakistan, Iran strike $5 billion trade agreement
On Wednesday, Pakistan and Iran reached an agreement to increase their bilateral trade to $5 billion over five years during the seventh Pakistan-Iran Joint Trade Committee meeting held in Tehran, according to Dawn. The Pakistani delegation was headed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan while the Iranian delegation was headed by the Minister for Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh. As part of the deal, Pakistan will arrange the construction of pipeline from Gwadar, the port that is the capstone of China’s trade corridor through Pakistan, to Iran to enable the import of gas