Globe Trot: Countries respond to hundreds of migrant deaths at sea

by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/20/15, 03:34 pm

ITALY: Officials may mount targeted interventions with Libyan-based smugglers after the weekend’s devastating shipwreck killing somewhere between 700 and 950 migrants. Today, ships in the Mediterranean Sea have responded to at least two distress calls coming from other migrant vessels—one from an inflatable life raft near the Libyan coast with 100 to 150 people aboard and another from a reportedly sinking boat with 300 people on board.

APRIL 20 is an infamous day in modern history: It’s Hitler’s birthday, plus the last day he was seen in public in 1945; it’s the day marking the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961; the day in 1978 when a Korean Air Lines passenger jet was shot down by the Soviet Union; the day of the Columbine High School shootings in 1999; of a Johnson Space Center shooting in 2007; and the day the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Today’s news is full of Islamic State (ISIS) terror. Be careful out there.

LIBYA: Over the weekend, ISIS released a video showing the execution of at least 35 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Unlike the February execution of Egyptian Christians in the country, no one could immediately confirm their capture by ISIS. But today Ethiopian officials have.

Just to keep track, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed to launch a NATO campaign to side with rebels in unseating Col. Muammar Qaddafi (who had become a U.S. ally), Libya’s head of state. As one result, NATO funneled Western weapons to Benghazi that likely ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda and were used in the attack on the U.S. compound in 2012 that killed the U.S. ambassador. In the absence of further intervention following Qaddafi’s ouster and the Benghazi attack, al-Qaeda-linked rebels are giving way to ISIS in a country in chaos, leading to another humanitarian crisis and the deaths of hundreds.

IRAQ: About five weeks ago, I had coffee at a patio restaurant across the street from the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, where a suicide bomber attacked Friday, killing three civilians in the area. Peshmerga and U.S. Special Forces soldiers strolled the street that day. It’s hard to imagine how ISIS, which claimed responsibility, could penetrate the Kurdish security zone. The area has about 1 million displaced Iraqis living in temporary quarters after fleeing ISIS last year. They have few places to go should violence continue in Erbil. The U.S. Consulate is in Ankawa, a Christian suburb with churches on the same street, plus stores and restaurants, including a TGI Fridays that was opening when I was there.

PAKISTAN: Since her shooting last week in Karachi, Debra Lobo, 55, has survived several rounds of surgery and faces a long recovery. On Friday afternoon, an attending doctor told family and friends, “Debra is out of danger.” Lobo, an American physician who is married to a Pakistani and has two daughters ages 18 and 16, has worked in Karachi for 22 years. She was shot in the head while leaving the medical school campus where she teaches. Pamphlets blaming the attack on ISIS, and promising more attacks on Americans, were found near her body.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S. military officials are worried about the rise of Islamic State in Afghanistan after ISIS-linked militants took credit for a bombing Saturday in Jalalabad that killed at least 33 and the beheadings of five Shiites abducted in southeastern Afghanistan.

Mindy Belz

Mindy is senior editor of WORLD Magazine and the author of They Say We Are Infidels. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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