War on Terror:
This story is super intense. “Last spring, the remains of 10 missing Afghan villagers were dug up outside a U.S. Special Forces base – was it a war crime or just another episode in a very dirty war?” The team of Green Beret soldiers in question were forced out of the base by the Afghan government after six months among allegations of torture and war crimes. The allegations come as the U.S. and Afghanistan are negotiating American withdrawal from the country, which makes things extra awkward. See, the U.S. wants to keep some troops in the country, but only if they are granted immunity from prosecution by the Afghan government for any alleged crimes. The Afghans are not super into that idea. (This was also the sticking point in negotiations in Iraq, and is ultimately the reason all combat troops were withdrawn there, although I’m fairly confident we still have private contractors there.)
While those men have not faced trial (the U.S. has so far said there is not enough evidence to do so,) in the U.K. a Royal Marine faces a life term for executing an Afghan insurgent.
Meanwhile, it looks like the CIA, not the Defense Department, will continue to run drone operations for the administration, though whether that is a deliberate policy decision or a bureaucratic death (or combination thereof) is unclear. In other words, another broken promise about increased transparency for the program.
While drone strikes continue to decline in popularity among most states, there seems to instead be growing acceptance of cross-border special operations raids.
An Al Qaeda affiliated group claims to have killed French journalists in Mali.
M23, one of the biggest rebel groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has agreed to lay down their arms. This is an important step for peace in the region, but there remain several other rebel groups that continue to fight the government, and the threat of retaliatory attacks against former members or supporters of M23.
Amnesty International has come out with a report stating that oil companies operating in Nigeria have blamed spills on sabotage by militants (which does happen sometimes, to be fair, though apparently not even close to the extent companies claim) to avoid paying compensation for them.
Basically the biggest typhoon ever has hit the Philippines. Organizations like the Red Cross fear that there may already be over 1,000 deaths. The storm is now headed towards Vietnam, where thousands of people are getting evacuated out of its path.
China has rejected a visa application for a Thompson Reuters reporter with decades of experience reporting in the region, another sign of increased tension between China and foreign news organizations. Last year, Al Jazeera English had to shut down their Beijing bureau after they were unable to renew their press credentials or the visa for their correspondent.
New reports show more substantial evidence that the former leader of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, may have been poisoned with radioactive polonium.
Secretary of State John Kerry said something right: he suggested that Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank indicates that they might not be serious about a peace deal.
One the longest-running conflicts in Latin America is a step closer to being resolved. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the Colombian government have reached an agreement in their negotiations in Cuba about FARC guerrilla’s ability to participate in the political system. The FARC has pledged to renounce violence in exchange for the ability to participate fully in elections.