Amid a global pandemic, economic recession and simmering racial tensions around the world, Israel's threat to formally annex parts of occupied Palestinian territory presents yet another international crisis in the making. This is because, with this outrageous move, the Israeli government threatens to unravel the rules-based system of international relations. Today's international law regime was established in the first half of the 20th century not only to regulate relations between states but also to assist the movements for self-determination across the world and oversee the end of colonialism. The looming Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and the global inaction on it evidence the failure of this regime to help end colonialism and put its very raison d'etre in question. Much of the narrative in international diplomatic circles around the issue of annexation has revolved around deterrence, with the rationale being the threat of tangible consequences to annexation will lead to a reconsideration of the move. Yet this narrative fails to acknowledge that we have reached a point, where Israel will annex yet another chunk of Palestinian territory precisely because deterrence has not worked.
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.
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.
New York, United States - The Trump administration's abrupt changes to foreign student visa rules have upended the plans of more than a million international students currently enrolled in institutions across the United States, with many fearing for their future. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced that it would strip the visa of foreign students whose entire courses have moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, with critics calling the move "xenophobic" and part of President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy. The directive by ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program is likely to hit hundreds of thousands of students, particularly from Asian countries, hard, as they will have to leave the US or face deportation. Many of them might face the prospect of distance learning from the other side of the world, where time zones, unreliable internet connections, and internet bans would make completing their degree programmes difficult - if not impossible. According to research conducted by ICE, nearly 80 percent of all international students in the US are from Asia, with China and India accounting for nearly half of them.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a train wreck in slow motion. This crash could turn out to be the spark that ignites a whole-of-global-society meltdown like in the world wars of the 20th century. Those were conflicts within humanity. Few may have recognised it yet, but the world wars of the 21st century have already begun and unlike those of the past century, the new conflicts are between humanity and nature. The COVID-19 pandemic is nature's first global-scale assault on the uber-modern human world.
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.
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.
On June 30, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's address to the UN Security Council calling for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended was expected to dominate the international news agenda. However, Iran's judiciary stole the morning's headlines by issuing an arrest warrant for Donald Trump the day before. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump, along with more than 30 others accused of involvement in the January 3 drone attack that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani, face "murder and terrorism charges". The prosecutor added that Tehran asked Interpol for help in detaining the US president. The same day, the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, denounced the warrant as a "propaganda stunt" at a press conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
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.
A drone has begun delivering urgent medical supplies to a hospital on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. The trial is part of a government project to develop a transport system that allows manned and unmanned aircraft to operate safely in the same airspace. And it could have significant implications for the delivery of humanitarian aid to isolated areas.