This week’s Newsweek International cover features Imran Khan, a man who just might be Pakistan’s next Prime Minister.
An article in the Apr 12, 2010 issue of Newsweek argues the killing of radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki would do more harm than good, as his links to attacks on American targets are speculative (at the time, administration officials today would likely disagree) and it’s not even known for certain if he is a member of al Qaeda.
As the lawyers and judge who will try Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab move this week to outline the contours of his hearing, the Obama administration is trying to prevent a repeat attack. The White House announced last week that the CIA will try to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, the Qaeda-linked American citizen living in Yemen who tutored Abdulmutallab. Awlaki will be hard to find—he is currently hiding in southern Yemen, protected by his powerful tribe—but if a drone operator has a shot, he will take it.
Today, a drone operator took that shot. Awlaki was killed. In the coming days, the Obama administration will have to defend its decision in taking out an American citizen by a drone-fired missile.
The rationale here seems self-evident. First, Awlaki has already been linked to two recent attacks in the U.S.: Abdulmutallab’s attempted bombing and also the Fort Hood rampage, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a shooting spree at his home base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. (Hasan was advised over the Internet by Awlaki.) Second, Awlaki’s ability to speak English and recruit Westernized Muslims poses a continuing threat: just last month, he called on Muslims living in the United States to carry out similar strikes in the coming months. Eliminating him now, the White House claims, will do much to prevent a third attack. And third, the optics are great: Obama is a president who has promised to bring the fight to Al Qaeda.
Unfortunately, the administration’s argument is based more on frustration and assumption than real strategy. Killing Awlaki will do little to disrupt Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Inside that organization, he is a nobody—at best, a midlevel functionary in a local branch. There are dozens of men who could do more harm to the United States, and killing Awlaki would only embolden them and aid in recruitment. For an organization as resilient and adaptive as AQAP, his death would be a minor irritant, not a debilitating blow. The futility of such a strike should give Obama pause before he greenlights the assassination of a fellow citizen.
Read the rest of the piece. Do you think his killing is justified?
Anti-government demonstrators display their hands — which read “Youth of the Freedom” — as they demand the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Taiz Tuesday.
Photo by Anees Mahyoub (AP)
India’s Pink Gang, the largest women’s vigilante group in the world, shames abusive husbands and corrupt politicians by going door-to-door clad in electric pink saris and wielding sticks called laathis—the same sticks used by local cops when patrolling their beat. Recently, they’ve gained political clout by winning seats in the panchayat elections—the equivalent of American municipality elections.
Great piece from Amana Fontanella-Khan on India’s pink gang—which happens to be the largest vigilante group in the world. (Photo by Fontanella-Khan)
Barbie Nadeau Jacopo Barigazzi reports on our new favorite term, bunga-bunga, and the latest sex scandal to threaten Italy’s prime minister.
Ten months after the quake, Haitians scour a Port-au-Prince garbage dump for food and supplies (more photos from Antonio Bolfo here). On Haiti’s recovery, Jeneen Interlandi writes, “The people of Haiti need food, shelter, and clean water, but they also want their country back, and eventually they may have to reclaim it from the very people who rushed there to save them.”
Fascinating piece by Barbie Nadeau on the multi-crater Campi Flegrei caldera, a “supervolcano” with the eruptive potential to affect not just Naples but the entire planet.
The editor-in-chief of Elle France, on a new Pew Research Center survey, which found that three in four French people believe men have a better life than women—by far the highest share in any country polled. As the New York Times puts it: “The birthplace of Simone de Beauvoir may look Scandinavian in employment stats, but it’s Latin in attitude. French women appear to worry about being feminine, not feminist, and French men often display a form of gallantry predating the 1789 revolution.”
Ouch. Sweden, anyone?