6 Strikes in 8 days, 35 Dead: The US Drone war on Pakistan is back

MQ-1 Predator

The sixth 2013 U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan killed eight citizens on Wednesday.
The sixth US strike in eight days announced Obama regime’s policy of killing unarmed citizens from unmanned aircrafts. Eight deaths might sound miniature when compared to the thousands of innocent citizens who lost their lives in drone strikes in 2012, however, with Wednesday’s death toll of eight, the total drone deaths in Pakistan registered 35 for January 2013 and analysts predict the development as an introduction to US’s 2013 Af-Pak doctrine.
A trio of drone-fired missile strikes between Wednesday and Thursday killed a Pakistani Taliban commander and 19 others. Earlier a drone attack on Sunday killed another 17 people.
The U.S. launched 43 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2012, according to the tally kept by the New America Foundation, reflecting a two-year downward trend from 2010’s high of 122 strikes. The average time in between strikes last year was 7.7 days. But eight days into 2013, there have already been six deadly drone strikes, for reasons that remain unclear. It’s worth noting that senior Obama administration officials recently reversed their earlier rhetoric that the U.S. was on the verge of defeating al-Qaida and have reignited propaganda campaigns pronouncing Taliban along the Pak-Afghan border as existential threats.
The drone strikes are likely to play a central role in the Senate’s confirmation hearing of John Brennan, the White House counter terrorism official whom President Obama nominated Monday to lead the CIA. Brennan, a CIA veteran, has been at the center of the drone campaign in Obama’s first term, even providing Obama with the names of suspected militants marked for a robotic death.
But even if the White House doesn’t know a target’s name, he can still be marked for death. Obama has provided the CIA with authority to kill not only suspected militants, but unknown individuals who are reported to follow ‘a pattern of militant activity’, in what it terms “signature strikes.”
A recent study conducted by Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia Law School’s human-rights branch explored how drones have torn the broader social fabric in tribal areas of Pakistan, creating paranoia that neighbors are informing on each. Many in FATA are traumatized and live under the buzz of Predator and Reaper engines.
Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former chief of the Joint Special Operations Command and commander NATO forces in Afghanistan, has been publicly ambivalent on the drones for months. In July, he told an elite audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival about how a drone spotted an Afghan man “digging in the ground” at night, leading his forces to order a deadly helicopter attack on the presumption the man was burying a bomb. McChrystal later learned that tilling soil at night is a tradition among Afghan farmers, and the dead man posed no threat.
Brennan’s nomination is renewing the national discussion about drone strikes. His confirmation hearing as CIA director, as yet unscheduled, provides senators with perhaps their best public opportunity to explore the future of the drone campaign.
INP/AH/LK



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2 Comments

  1. chocho said:

    Nothing could be more shameful for Pakistan government and nation to witness the drone attacks killing its people and violation of its territory and not doing anything to safegaurd is citizens. No country will let this happen.

  2. ali said:

    Here is the reality. Each attack occurs after ISI informs CIA. CIA send a fax where he attack will happen. Then airspace is cleared for the drone and drone kills people. This has blessing of Pakistan govt., and the Generals. All the patriot generals were pushed out by Musharaff. The current Generals are all servants of Uncle Sham.

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