National Security

FP's Situation Report: How Washington turned its back on Darfur

Hagel in Beijing and a U.S.-China divide exposed; Fears of extremism and ethnic violence in Africa; Can you laugh at the military?; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel

A three-part series by FP's Colum Lynch investigates how the U.N. mission in Darfur failed - and why, and how Washington turned its back on a foreign policy triumph. The last in the series is Blood Oath. FP's Colum Lynch, this morning: "A decade ago, Darfur, a distant expanse of territory in western Sudan, became a household name in the United States and posed a stark moral question for American policymakers, generals and diplomats: should Washington risk American lives to try to prevent genocide in a remote backwater that had no obvious strategic value to the United States? The answer, in part, was a clumsily named peacekeeping mission, the African Union/United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur, or UNAMID, that the United States helped create in 2008 to offer peace and security to the more than 2.7 million people driven from their homes in a government-sponsored scorched earth campaign. Then-President George W. Bush's top Africa diplomat, Jendayi Frazer, hailed the deployment of this 'large, robust peacekeeping force for Darfur' as a triumph of American diplomacy. The United States, she vowed, would be 'watching closely' to ensure the government of Sudan extended 'nothing less than full cooperation.' Read the rest of Part III here.

Drawing from a massive trove of highly confidential U.N. documents obtained by FP, Part One reports on the U.N.'s failure to protect citizens kidnapped in Darfur. In Part Two, Lynch reveals the Sudanese government's complicity in a April 2013 assault on a U.N.-African Union compound in Darfur and the U.N.'s subsequent inaction called Now We Will Kill You. Read an excerpt from Part II of Lynch's series, published yesterday, at the bottom.

In Africa, the Pentagon worries about extremism and ethnic violence. VOA's Jeff Seldin: "...deep concerns remain about the growing nexus of extremists, especially in northeastern Mali and southwestern Libya.  [Africa Command Commander Gen. David Rodriguez] points to the 2013 attack on a gas facility in Ain Amenas, Algeria, where three al-Qaida-linked groups joined forces. 'They're also transferring things that are very worrisome like the IED technology, and tactics, techniques and procedures,' said Rodriguez. In addition, U.S. defense officials say they and their African partners worry about the flow of extremist fighters to Syria and their eventual return across sometimes porous borders." More here.

Read the transcript of the briefing at the Pentagon yesterday with Rodriguez and DASD Amanda Dory, here.

CNA Corporation and the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University released The Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership: Building Partner Capacity to Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism, here.

Welcome to Wednesday's Kansas edition of Situation Report. We're at Leavenworth to participate in a military-and-the-media panel and hoping we don't wind up in the pen here. If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Tell a friend.  And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold and @njsobe4.

The U.S.-China divide is revealed during Hagel's visit. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is winding up his Asia tour and is today in Beijing. AFP's Dan De Luce: "Visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese military chiefs traded warnings and rebukes Tuesday as they clashed over Beijing's territorial disputes with its neighbours, North Korea's missile programme and cyber espionage. Both sides were clearly at odds over a litany of issues, despite Hagel and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan calling for more dialogue between the world's strongest and largest militaries, with the American coming under hostile questioning from a roomful of People's Liberation Army officers.

"One member of the audience told Hagel the United States feared China's rise and was sowing trouble among its Pacific neighbours to 'hamper' Beijing because one day 'China will be too big a challenge for the United States to cope with.'

"The Pentagon chief denied the US was trying to hold China back but the tough questioning contrasted with the deferential reception given to his predecessor Leon Panetta at a similar event two years ago. Hagel faced a blunt reprimand in an earlier meeting with a senior officer, General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, according to an account from the official state news agency Xinhua. Referring to critical comments by Hagel earlier in his Asia trip, Fan said the 'Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks'.

"Hagel's press secretary acknowledged the two 'shared a very frank exchange of views.'" More here.

Full transcript of Hagel's visit to the National Defense University in Beijing and the PLA's questions here.

Ahead of POTUS visit later this month, Japan moves closer to the US. The NYT's Martin Fackler in Tokyo: "In one of the clearest signals that Japan is trying to allay fears that it is whitewashing wartime atrocities - and to repair somewhat frayed relations with the United States - the foreign minister said on Tuesday that his government would not try to push revisions of that history." Full story here.

China might actually seize Japan's southern islands. The Naval War College's James Holmes for FP: "In a speech in Tokyo on April 6, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a not-so-subtle reference to China's aggressive behavior in the disputed Senkaku Islands, warning that countries cannot ‘redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion or intimidation,' whether that be ‘small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.' Two days later, Hagel's Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan fired back: China, he said, has ‘indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu' -- as the Chinese call the islands -- while noting that the ‘Chinese military can assemble as soon as summoned, fight any battle and win.'" More here.

The administration implements START, despite tensions with the Kremlin. The WSJ's Julian Barnes and Adam Entous: "The Pentagon said Tuesday it would sharply cut the number of U.S. submarine and bomber-launched nuclear weapons, and preserve most of the nation's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles to comply with the New START treaty with Russia. The Pentagon announcement of sharp reductions in the nuclear forces comes at a seemingly incongruous moment, as tensions with Russia are mounting over its takeover of Crimea and its deployment of troops to the eastern border of Ukraine." More here.

Far-Right Nationalists and Communists brawled in the Ukrainian Parliament yesterday, a video and FP's Elias Groll's post here.

The US Army Guard agrees to a controversial Apache planDefense News' Paul McLeary: "In a surprising move, the head of the US National Guard Bureau has given his blessing to the US Army's plan to move all of the Guard's Apache attack helicopters into the active force while receiving several hundred Black Hawk and Lakota multi-use helicopters in return." More here.

Congress should avert delays in the Army's aviation restructuring plans. Heritage's Dakota Wood and Brian Slattery in Issue Brief #4194: "The Army's decision to transfer AH-64 Apache helicopters from the National Guard to the active force has sparked a debate that ultimately concerns the roles, missions, and contributions of these ground components. Congress should prevent unnecessary delays in the implementation of these plans while making a stronger commitment to providing the resources that the armed forces need to maintain national security." More here.

A Marine guard at the main gate of Camp Lejeune shoots and kills a fellow guard. The Marine Corps Times' Hope Hodge Seck: "Military officials are investigating after a Marine gate guard killed a Marine colleague with his M4 service rifle Tuesday evening aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C. The incident is not being considered an act of terrorism or an active-shooter scenario like last week's deadly rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, officials said." More here.

Obama heads to Fort Hood today. The Houston Chronicle's Sig Christenson: "President Barack Obama will appear at a memorial ceremony Wednesday on Fort Hood's Sadowski Field as the post mourns the deaths of three soldiers lost in last week's mass shooting. Roughly 2,000 soldiers, their families and Army civilian workers, as well as well as others invited to the ceremony, are expected to gather on the sprawling parade field in front of the III Corps headquarters, Fort Hood spokesman Tyler Broadway said." More here.

What do you say to vets and what do you not say? Some pointers from NationSwell's Feifel Sun about how to talk to vets returning from combat. Do ask specific questions with genuine interest and don't just say "thank you for your service." But don't "tread too gently around vets because you assume everyone has experienced trauma," or don't ask them to "put difficult experiences behind them." More here.

ICYMI - America used to love laughing at the military. When did it become so taboo? Stephen Walt for FP: "War is not a funny topic, but military life used to be a bountiful source of comic inspiration. The grim reality of the battlefield prompts plenty of black humor and the rigid orthodoxies of modern military organizations have been ripe fodder for satire in the past. Given that the United States has been at war for two out of every three years since the end of the Cold War, you'd think there would be lots of dark comedy and irreverent commentary on military topics, and not just when some randy commander gets caught with his pants down. Yet Americans no longer see the military as a worthy target for political satire. Instead, we treat the armed services in almost reverential terms: Politicians rarely say anything remotely critical of the troops or their bemedaled commanders and it is hard to think of any important plays, movies, or television shows that poke serious fun at the Pentagon. Congress, organized religion, Wall Street, Hollywood, doctors, lawyers, teachers, sports teams, and just about every other institution in America is ripe for ridicule these days, but not the American military." More here.

Continued:

The second part of FP's Colum Lynch's series on Darfur; Yesterday, Part II, Now We Will Kill You. Lynch"Last April, in the dead of night, five men dressed in Sudanese military uniforms and armed with AK-47 rifles swaggered up to the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping outpost in the East Darfur town of Muhajeria and shot open the front gate's padlock. As they entered the darkened compound, the intruders opened fire, unloading several rounds through the wall of the base's military briefing room, spilling a handful of hot spent cartridges on the ground as they advanced. A lone Nigerian peacekeeper standing sentry at the compound's entrance returned fired as a second Nigerian soldier entered the fray, scuffling with one of the assailants in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground. The attackers finally retreated as reinforcements in an armored personnel vehicle rolled toward the compound, ending the firefight before anyone got seriously hurt. But the night was just getting started." Read the rest of Part Two here.

 

National Security

FP's Situation Report: State, Pentagon clash over Syria intervention

USAID contractor announces a hunger strike in Havana; Another is arrested in Afg; Gun control an issue at the DoD; What do artists, bug splats and the drone war have in common?; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel 

A hawkish State Department clashes with a more circumspect Pentagon over Syria policy, but both sides agree on the need for an expanded train-and-equip program for moderates. The WSJ's Adam Entous and Julian Barnes on Page One: "Frustrated by the stalemate in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing for the U.S. military to be more aggressive in supporting the country's rebel forces. Opposition has come from the institution that would spearhead any such effort: the Pentagon.
"Mr. Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power have advocated options that range from an American military intervention to weaken the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to using U.S. special operations forces to train and equip a large number of rebel fighters. Such moves would go far beyond the U.S.'s current engagement.
"In recent White House meetings, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have pushed back against military intervention, said senior officials. They say the risk is high of being dragged into an open-ended foreign entanglement. Both sides have agreed on the need to create an expanded program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels. But the Pentagon worries the Assad regime would halt cooperation on the removal of chemical weapons if the military training starts now. Officials said Mr. Kerry has now agreed to a delay.
"The disagreement between a hawkish State Department and a dovish Pentagon, the officials from both sides said, is the latest chapter in an agonizing three-year administration debate over Syria. Current and former State Department officials see the Pentagon's objections as a way of killing proposals without explicitly saying no. Pentagon officials say they are trying to prevent the U.S. from getting sucked into another messy Mideast conflict, a concern that also helps explain President Barack Obama's reluctance to engage more directly in Syria." More here.  

Hezbollah's deepening involvement in Syria is one of "the most important factors" in the conflict, argues ISW's Marisa Sullivan in a new report out this morning and provided early to Situation Report. Sullivan: "...Hezbollah fighters have operated openly and in significant numbers across the border alongside their Syrian and Iraqi counterparts. They have enabled the regime to regain control of rebel-held areas in central Syria and have improved the effectiveness of pro-regime forces. The impact of Hezbollah's involvement in Syria has been felt not just on the battlefield, where the regime now has momentum in many areas, but also in Lebanon where growing sectarian tensions have undermined security and stability. The war in Syria presents a significant threat to the strategic alliance of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. 

"The Syrian government, the vital conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, is in danger of being overthrown. Iran cannot afford to lose its most important foothold in the Levant, and Hezbollah cannot risk losing its access to critical Iranian and Syrian support. Syria's importance to Hezbollah, however, is not limited to its role as a conduit for financial and material support; the Assad regime has provided safe haven for Hezbollah training camps and weapons storage. It is through this relationship that Hezbollah has therefore entered the conflict as a key player." Read the whole report here.

The Syrian rebels are seen using missile launchers in new videos. FP's Shane Harris: "A new video posted on YouTube earlier this week appears to show a Syrian rebel fighter launching a U.S.-made anti-tank missile at what is said to be an enemy tank, raising new questions about whether Washington has begun to supply powerful weapons to groups trying to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the TOW missile system were supplied by the United States -- and analysts cautioned Monday that its pedigree was unclear -- it would signal a dramatic change in the Obama administration's policy towards arming Syrian rebels.

The U.S. government has been reluctant to supply heavy weapons such as anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles, which could be used to shoot down military or civilian aircraft, for fear they'll fall into the hands of religious extremists. The fighter in the video appears to be a member of Harakat Hazm, said two analysts, which is part of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group generally seen as more moderate than some of the Islamist fighters who are also trying to overthrow Assad." More here.

A take on the videos of TOW missiles from Jack Mulcaire on War on the Rocks, here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Tell a friend.  And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold and @njsobe4.

As USAID's Rajiv Shah goes to the Hill today, Alan Gross, in a Havana prison, announces he's on a hunger strike over his "shameful ordeal." Gross, a USAID subcontractor, has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than four years. This morning, Gross, through his attorneys, announced that he wants both the U.S. and Cuba to "resolve this shameful ordeal" so he can return home and says he's been on a hunger strike since last week. Gross, in a statement provided to media last night, embargoed for this morning: " I began a fast on April 3rd in protest of the treatment to which I am subjected by the governments of Cuba and the United States.  I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal. Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters."

The WaPo's Karen DeYoung: "... Gross was arrested in 2009 for distributing Internet and other communications materials in Cuba under a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against the Cuban state and is said to be in poor health. His case moved back into the limelight last week following revelations about a separate USAID program to undermine Cuba's communist government with a Twitter-like network designed to build an audience among Cuban youth and push them toward anti-government dissent. While unclassified, administration officials have described the program as 'discreet.' The 'Cuban Twitter' program, discontinued in 2012, caused an uproar among U.S. lawmakers who charged they had never approved spending for it. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who heads the appropriations subcommittee in charge of the USAID budget, called the program 'dumb, dumb, dumb.'" WaPo story here.

In Afghanistan last week, a former DAI employee, a USAID contractor, was arrested for embezzling $539,000. Situation Report has learned that the employee, Abdul Khalil Qadery, was arrested by Afghan authorities after officials discovered he had allegedly stolen approximately $539,000 from the Afghan government's Agricultural Development Fund, which helps farmers across the country. DAI had been supporting a USAID-funded project as part of the ADF called the Agricultural Credit Enhancement Program, to which DAI was providing management assistance. Qadery, who is no longer employed by DAI, disappeared with the money last year after allegedly siphoning funds for the program to himself. He resurfaced in Mazar-i-Sharif, where he was arrested by Afghan authorities last week. The money was stolen from a private bank, according to Steven O'Connor, a spokesman for DAI, the large international development consulting firm who has worked with USAID for decades. A USAID official told Situation Report the money allegedly stolen by Qadery was repaid to the fund through a DAI insurance settlement.

Ukrainian police move against pro-Russian demonstrators. The WaPo's Kathy Lally: "Police began removing the pro-Russian demonstrators occupying eastern Ukrainian government buildings early Tuesday after a tense night of confrontation that officials here accused Moscow of provoking to seek a pretext for invasion. Protesters were cleared from the regional administration in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said, although they remained entrenched Tuesday in similar government offices in Donetsk, where protesters erected a barricade of tires and barbed wire." More here.

Iran wants to get moving on a dealReuters' Parisa Hafezi and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna: "Iran said it hopes enough progress will be made with major powers this week to enable negotiators to start drafting by mid-May a final accord to settle a long-running dispute over its nuclear program. The Islamic Republic and six world powers will hold a new round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday intended to reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20 on how to resolve a decade-old standoff that has stirred fears of a Middle East war... So far, officials say, they have largely focused on what issues should form part of a long-term deal. ‘We will finish all discussions and issues this time to pave the ground for starting to draft the final draft in Ordibehesht (an Iranian month that begins in two weeks),' Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon arrival in Vienna. A U.S. official gave a similar timetable last week, voicing hope that the drafting of an agreement could begin in May." More here.

Hagel tours China's newest aircraft carrierThe WSJ's Dion Nissenbaum in China, traveling with Hagel: "China's military opened its doors on Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, offering America's top defense official a rare look at its new aircraft carrier. The two-hour visit was the first China has granted to a foreign official seeking a close view of the Liaoning, a refurbished Ukrainian ship that is the centerpiece of the county's naval ambitions.

"The U.S. ambassador to China, former Sen. Max Baucus, and top Pentagon officials joined Mr. Hagel on the tour during the defense secretary's first visit to China since taking command at the Pentagon a year ago. The visit provided American officials with a rare opportunity to assess the capabilities of the Liaoning and Chinese military development. Chinese officials compared their carrier development to the beginning of the American carrier fleet in the early 1900s, U.S. officials said. ‘They know they have a long way to go in naval aviation,' said one defense official traveling with Mr. Hagel. The official praised China for allowing Mr. Hagel to visit the ship as a milestone in military openness." More here.

What does Seal Team Six need $11 million for? A new "human performance center." Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio this morning: "The elite Navy SEAL team may have killed Osama Bin Laden and inspired Hollywood, but it could use an extra $11.1 million for a 'Human Performance Center.' The request is among $400 million in unfunded priorities that the U.S. Special Operations Command submitted to Congress on April 1 as part of a $36 billion wish list from the military services and combat commands. Admiral William McRaven, who directed the May 2011 Bin Laden raid in Pakistan and now heads the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, wrote that the new facility would be built at Dam Neck, Virginia, where the elite unit formally known as Devgru, or the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, is based." More here.

The place it's hardest for veterans to get a job? On Capitol Hill. Military Times' Leo Shane III: "What's the worst federal agency for hiring veterans? Try Congress. Despite numerous efforts by lawmakers in recent years to spur veterans employment in the private sector, few congressional offices have followed suit. A new survey estimates that fewer than 180 veterans are employed as Capitol Hill staff, a mere 3 percent of the 6,000-plus employees there. For comparison, in fiscal 2012 nearly half of all Defense Department employees were veterans. One in three Veterans Affairs and Transportation Department workers were veterans that year, and the Education Department - one of the lowest veteran hiring rates among federal agencies - had just under 10 percent. Now, a network of veterans working in Congress is hoping to change that. HillVets, formed less than a year ago to connect and assist former military personnel working in the legislative branch, this month announced plans to double the number of veterans in those jobs by the start of the next legislative session, in January 2016." More here.

Who's Where When today: Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of the National Guard Bureau Army Gen. Frank Grass and U.S. Army Reserve Command Commanding General/Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on "Army Active and Reserve force mix in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program" at 9:30 a.m., in room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

In a new report, CSIS's Maren Leed and Ariel Robinson examine the current state of the soldier/squad system and how it might be best advanced in the face of constrained budgets, here.

The administration's nominee for the Pentagon's No. 2 post thinks strategy before weapons. For the Daily Beast, Bill Sweetman: "...What makes [Bob] Work an unusual nominee at his level is that he arrives with a record of thinking about strategy, in the sense of matching goals to resources. In his time at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), before his four years as deputy Navy secretary, and his tenure as head of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Work led and supported studies that came to specific conclusions about new opportunities and challenges for the U.S. and its allies. One area where his views could have an early effect is on the battle over the Navy's next-generation drone, the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), should look like. It pits the advocates of a stealthy and offensive aircraft against those who support something that poses less of a threat, whether to well-defended adversaries or their own pet programs. More here.

Fort Hood Sparks Gun Control Fight Between Republicans and Pentagon. FP's John Hudson: "Hawkish Republicans and the senior leadership of the Pentagon typically see eye-to-eye on most things, but the deadly shooting at Fort Hood last week has exposed a rift on a highly-charged issue: Gun control. After U.S. Army Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez killed three troops and wounded 16 others last week, Republicans on Capitol Hill began calling for new legislation to allow servicemembers to carry concealed weapons on U.S. bases. The measures are strongly opposed by the Pentagon, which says they would be costly and do nothing to improve security at bases." Full story here.

It took Specialist Ivan Lopez eight minutes to fire at least 35 rounds, injure 16 and kill three. The Army released a detailed account of how the shooting at Fort Hood unfolded. The NYT's Manny Fernandez and Alan Blinder: "...Lopez, 34, stayed on the move throughout the rampage, driving in his own vehicle to three buildings - including his transportation unit's headquarters and another office where he worked - shooting and killing a soldier in each. As he drove from building to building, he also fired at soldiers on the street and in a passing car, wounding several, before he was confronted by a police officer, put his gun to his head and took his own life, the official said.

"Specialist Lopez's assault started at about 4 p.m. inside the administrative office of his unit, the 49th Transportation Battalion, said Chris Grey, a spokesman for the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, the lead agency investigating the shooting. Investigators have not yet established a clear motive, but the catalyst appeared to be an argument Specialist Lopez had with soldiers from his unit about his request for a leave of absence to attend to family matters. In that argument, he expressed anger over the processing of the request, officials said. One of the soldiers in that meeting, Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, described the specialist as "irate."

The Pentagon's reliance on Europe is ‘wishful thinking.' RAND's Michael Shurkin and Chris Pernin for Defense One: "The Pentagon's latest four-year strategy guide, called the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR, is for the most part an admirably sober proposal for meeting current and anticipated defense requirements in light of growing fiscal austerity. The bottom line is that the U.S. military must do more with less, perhaps even a lot less. One area where it lapses into a bit of wishful thinking, however, is with the expressed desire that the United States better coordinate with its European allies toward the shared objective of strengthening NATO military capability. This is one area that deserves another look." More here.

Making "bug splats" into art: artists assault on drone warfare. FP's Elias Groll: "In 2012, the journalist Michael Hastings revealed to the wider world that American drone operators had adopted a morbid term to describe those killed by one of their missiles: "bug splats." The term, Hastings explained, had become popular "since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed."

That phrase seems to sum-up the problems that have plagued the American drone war, which has left thousands of civilians dead and has been beset by criticism that the use of such weapons has inaugurated a new era of impersonal, video game-like warfare.

"An art collective is now trying to turn the term 'bug splats' on its head with a provocative new installation in a remote area of Pakistan that features a giant portrait of a survivor of an American drone strike that killed much of her family. The collective, whose members live in the United States, France, and Pakistan, printed the image on the kind of vinyl tarp found in most Pakistani villages and unfurled it about two weeks ago, though they won't say where." More here.