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NEED TO KNOW:
Somehow, a phone call and an apology for the killing of 22 people at a hospital was just not enough.
Doctors Without Borders, who lost 12 staff last weekend when a US airstrike struck a clinic near Kunduz, Afghanistan, continues to demand an independent, international investigation into the incident. Almost daily since the boming, the humanitarian organization’s leaders have called for real action and consequences for the attack, which at one point they called a “war crime.”
US President Barack Obama, whose military strategy has long favored airstrikes and drones over boots on the ground, called Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, to personally apologize yesterday. It’s a pretty rare thing for a president to apologize for something like this.
According to Doctors Without Borders, Obama told Liu that the US government would conduct an objective and transparent investigation, and that he would make any necessary changes to ensure that accidents like this are “less likely” to happen in the future.
But a personal call from the president of the United States did not seem to impress the president of Doctors Without Borders. Liu, who is quickly rocketing to international stardom, replied curtly that the message had been “received.” She then repeated her calls for an independent investigation and then released before and after video of the bombing.
WANT TO KNOW:
“Accidental” airstrikes are the new black, it seems. A week after Saudi Arabia bombed a wedding convoy in Yemen, killing 131 people, they may have just done it again.
This most recent strike took place in a small town south of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. Witnesses and locals said an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party, killing at least 30 people. The Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes in March to support Yemen’s ousted president against a well-organized rebel group that remains in control of the country’s capital. The town that was hit was also controlled by the rebels.
Saudi Arabia, however, denied culpability. "Not every explosion that takes place in Yemen is an airstrike — it could be a missile, car bomb, or weapons cache," a spokesman for the coalition told the press.
That may be true, but Saudi Arabia has been harshly criticized around the world — including by the United States, incredibly — for its indiscriminate bombings. An Amnesty International report published Tuesday detailed at least 13 different airstrikes that hit civilian instead of military targets.
The report also says that much of the weaponry used by the Saudis, including internationally banned cluster bombs, originates from the United States.
STRANGE BUT TRUE:
So much terribleness and we haven’t even gotten to Syria yet. Russia is now targeting Syrian towns from more than 1,000 miles away using "ship-based, long-range cruise missiles" from the Caspian Sea. Some military analysts called it “bravado,” a display of military power aimed at taunting the United States.
It was also maybe kind of a birthday present for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin turned 63 yesterday, and to celebrate he made quite the day of it. After the naval attack, he played in a hockey game with professional hockey players. He netted seven goals and led his team to a 15-10 victory.
And probably the whole day he had on repeat a music video released the night before his birthday by a Russian rapper named Timati. The track is called “Best Friend” and, according to GlobalPost Senior Correspodent Dan Peleschuk, is a “catchy little number that extols the Russian leader and his sky-high approval ratings.”
This is the world in which we live.