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Q&A: UN's Agnes Callamard on drone strike that killed Soleimani

Al Jazeera

The United Nations's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings presented a new report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Agnes Callamard's investigation focused on the legality of armed drones including one that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad's airport on January 3. It concluded the United States acted unlawfully in carrying out the attack. The US, meanwhile, denounced her findings. Callamard spoke to Al Jazeera about her probe and the future of drone warfare.


Death by drone: How can states justify targeted killings?

Al Jazeera

In a move that caused a ripple effect across the Middle East, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad's international airport on January 3. On that day, the Pentagon announced the attack was carried out "at the direction of the president". In a new report examining the legality of armed drones and the Soleimani killing in particular, Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial and arbitrary killings, said the US raid that killed Soleimani was "unlawful". Callamard presented her report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday. The United States, which is not a member after quitting the council in 2018, rejected the report saying it gave "a pass to terrorists". In Callamard's view, the consequences of targeted killings by armed drones have been neglected by states.


US denounces UN report on Iran general's 'unlawful' killing

Al Jazeera

The United States lashed out on Wednesday at a United Nations probe into the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general, saying it gave "a pass to terrorists". US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani in a January attack near Baghdad's international airport. The incident stoked fears of an all-out conflict between Iran and the US. The US air raid that killed Soleimani and others in his convoy was "unlawful" and an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter, the UN expert on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, concluded in a report on Tuesday. She said the US provided no evidence "an imminent attack" against American interests was being planned and, therefore, its "self-defence" justification did not apply.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


Air Force tech stops drones from being shot down

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Senior Air Force commanders are employing new tactics, technologies and protocols to better safeguard drones from being shot down by enemy fire during missions. Air Force Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of U.S. Forces Europe, recently told reporters that senior U.S. military leaders are now in an effort to increase mission survivability for combat drones operating in high-risk areas. Responding to a question about an MQ-9 Reaper being shot down over Yemen last year, Harrigian emphasized that drone operations need to become less predictable to enemies. "There is something to be said for operating in a manner that offers us an opportunity to not be as predictable as we have been.


US killing of Iran's Qassem Soleimani 'unlawful': UN expert

Al Jazeera

The US drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani was "unlawful", the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport. Soleimani was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago", Trump said at the time. Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. Callamard concluded that it was an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter.


Iran nuclear site fire hit centrifuge facility, analysts say

FOX News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seized on a U.N. report confirming Iranian weapons were used to attack Saudi Arabia in September and were part of an arms shipment seized months ago off Yemen's coast; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports. A fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above Iran's underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday, analysts said, one of the most-tightly guarded sites in all of the Islamic Republic after earlier acts of sabotage there. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an "incident" that only affected an under-construction "industrial shed," spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. However, both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, a facility earlier targeted by the Stuxnet computer virus and built underground to withstand enemy airstrikes. The fire threatened to rekindle wider tensions across the Middle East, similar to the escalation in January after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and Tehran launched a retaliatory ballistic missile attack targeting American forces in Iraq. While offering no cause for Thursday's blaze, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the U.S. following other recent explosions in the country.


Saudi-led coalition hits Houthi-held areas in renewed air raids

Al Jazeera

Fighter jets belonging to a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched dozens of air raids on several Yemeni provinces, as the kingdom announced the start of a new military operation. The Houthi-run Al Masirah Media Network reported air raids on the capital, Sanaa, as well as Marib, al-Jouf, al-Bayda, Hajjah and Saada provinces throughout Wednesday and into the night. It said an elderly woman and a child were killed and four others wounded in Saada province. In Sanaa, residents described the air raids, which also struck the city's international airport, as "violent". Saudi state television reported earlier on Wednesday that the coalition had begun a military push against the Houthis after the group stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on the kingdom.


Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump that Interpol rejects

Boston Herald

Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly said Monday. Interpol later said it wouldn't consider Iran's request, meaning Trump faces no danger of arrest. However, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and 35 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the Jan. 3 strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face "murder and terrorism charges," the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.