World News Brief, Thursday May 30

US drone strike kills Pakistani Taliban's number two; Chinese cyber attacks on agenda for US defense secretary; India and Japan discuss cooperation on maritime security; new Bulgarian government may struggle to lead; Kenyan MPs vote to keep high salaries; and more

Top of the Agenda: U.S. Drone Strike Kills Taliban Number Two

A U.S. drone strike killed Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the number two of the Pakistani Taliban (Reuters), in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Wednesday in a heavy blow to the militant group. His close aide and five others, including Uzbek militants (Dawn), also died in the attack. The Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is a separate entity allied to the Afghan Taliban, and has launched devastating attacks against the Pakistani military and civilians. In response, Pakistan's foreign office expressed "serious concern" over the attack, saying that drone strikes are counterproductive (TheNews), have human rights and humanitarian implications, and violate principles of national sovereignty and international law.


"They've opened up Pandora's Box and done little to try to cap the use of drones by other countries as a legal matter. The administration has given a series of very good speeches on this, but has not put sufficient legal meat on the bones that it could criticize other countries that may apply the same principles the U.S. is applying today," says John Bellinger in an interview for CFR.

"Pakistan's military and civilian leaders have quietly collaborated with drone operations, but at the same time they reinforce their public legitimacy by denouncing the policy as a violation of national sovereignty -- which in turn further inflames public opinion. The net consequence is that U.S. relations with this vital and profoundly brittle country are a disaster," writes James Traub for Foreign Policy.

"In response to his critics, Mr Obama has tried to make the [targeted killing] programme look better. He has, for example, imposed new guidelines for determining targets. Previously, a non-US citizen could be killed by a strike if he or she posed a 'significant' threat to the US, according to legal experts. In contrast, the requirements for killing an American were more limited - he or she had to pose an 'imminent' threat," writes Tara McKelvy for the BBC.



Hagel to Visit Southeast China to Discuss Cyber Threat

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is headed to Southeast Asia, where he will discuss the escalating cyber threat amid the recent disclosure that China used cyberattacks to access data from nearly forty Pentagon weapons programs (AP) and around thirty other defense technologies.

CFR's Adam Segal gives three thoughts on cyber operations and the Defense Department's report on the Chinese military in this blog post.

JAPAN: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in Japan for a four-day visit, stressed that the two countries could deepen cooperation in maritime security (JapanTimes), as well as their economic ties.


New Bulgarian government may struggle to lead

Kenyan MPs vote to keep high salaries


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on