Malala Yousafzai has been moved to a hospital in Rawalpindi, the military administrative center outside Islamabad, and we are told the next 24 hours are critical for her survival. News media in Pakistan and the Subcontinent are expressing the widespread awe at her heroism and disgust at the cowardly attempt on her life. Islamabad's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called the shooting a "wake up call" that could represent a "turning point" for the nation, Pakistan's Express-Tribune reports. An editorial in India's Hindustan Times hails her as "the braveheart who took on the Taliban." Pakistan's Dawn newspaper calls her a "symbol of courage," and its columnist Syed Fazl-e-Haider has an op-ed in the New York Times, entitled "Malala Has Won."
Israeli warplanes swooped low over Lebanese villages Oct. 7 in a menacing show of force apparently aimed at Hezbollah the day after a mysterious incursion by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Israeli Air Force shot down the drone shortly after it crossed into southern Israel from the Mediterranean, passing "over settlements and military bases in the Negev," the IAF said. The craft's launch point is unknown. Israeli officials believe the UAV may have been on a mission to perform surveillance of the Dimona nuclear complex. Israeli politicians have been quick to draw their own conclusions. "It is an Iranian drone that was launched by Hezbollah," Knesset member Miri Regev, a former chief spokeswoman for the Israeli military, wrote on her Twitter feed. "Hezbollah and Iran continue to try to collect information in every possible way in order to harm Israel." (Slate, AP, Oct. 7; JP, Oct. 6)
Hundreds of Pakistanis, joined by dozens of activists from the US, on Oct. 6 launched a motorcade "march" against US drone strikes that they hope will reach the Afghan border region in the South Waziristan tribal area. The march—actually, a long vehicle convoy—is being led by Imran Khan, the former cricket star-turned-politician and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. The American activists are from the US-based anti-war group Code Pink. Authorities say the foreigners will not allowed into the tribal areas, and warn that the Pakistani Taliban have threatened to attack the march (presumably because of the PTI's moderate—although not secularist—politics). But Khan implied that the government had created the threat. "I condemn the hypocrisy of the government, who tried their best to make this march fail," Khan told around 5,000 supporters at a rally along the way. "They are saying that Taliban have sent nine suicide attackers. If [President Asif Ali] Zardari sends even a 100 suicide attackers this march will not stop."
Noah Shachtman, writing for Wired magazine's Danger Room national security blog Sept. 5, notes that while the Democrats are partying in Charlotte, and patting themselves on the back for the death of Osama bin Laden, the drone war in Yemen has gone into "overdrive"—to little notice in the US media.
29 dead in a little over a week. Nearly 200 gone this year. The White House is stepping up its campaign of drone attacks in Yemen, with four strikes in eight days. And not even the slaying of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States' secretive, undeclared war...
Afghanistan's intelligence agency said Aug. 26 that the operational commander of the Haqqani network, held responsible for audacious on Kabul, was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. "We confirm that Badruddin Haqqani, who was the mastermind of almost all sophisticated attacks in Kabul, was killed in a drone strike," National Directorate of Security spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told AFP. "Our information is based on interception of the conversation of the guys [Haqqani members] on the ground who confirmed he was dead," Mashal said. The death of Badruddin, the son of network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, has been rumoured for days despite denials from the closely allied Taliban, whose spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP: "This is propaganda of the enemy. Badruddin is alive and he will soon talk to the media. He is inside Afghanistan and busy with operations." In Pakistan, senior Haqqani network commander Maulvi Ahmed Jan also denied Badruddin had been killed. He told Reuters that a distant relative, aged 13, was killed in the strike and his funeral had been mistaken by locals for Badruddin's. (AFP, Aug. 26; Reuters, Aug. 25)
US drones killed 10 supposed al-Qaeda militants in separate strikes targeting moving vehicles in Yemen Aug. 7—in the midst of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The official SABA news agency said one of the dead was Abdullah Awad al-Masri AKA Abou Osama al-Maribi, described him as one of the "most dangerous elements" of al-Qaeda in the militant stronghold of Bayda province and the man in charge of a bomb-making lab. Another US drone targeted a second vehicle carrying three supposed al-Qaeda militants in the Zoukaika region of Hadramout province. (AP, Aug. 7) A US drone attack on Aug. 5 killed at least seven in Pakistan, striking a compound in Khushhali Turikhel village of North Waziristan tribal district. (NY Daily News, July 29)
A suicide bomber struck at a funeral in Yemen's southern city of Jaar Aug. 4, killing at least 35 and wounding dozens more, including the leader of a local group that was fighting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Authorities also said they had intercepted a would-be suicide martyr who intended to attack the British embassy in the capital Sana'a. (The Guardian, Aug. 5; Yemen Observer, Aug. 4) A US drone strike meanwhile killed five supposed AQAP militants at al-Qotn in Hadramout province. The last confirmed US drone strike in Yemen took place on July 3 in Shabwa province, reportedly killing two AQAP operatives. (Long War Journal, Aug. 4)