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Entries in Drone Strikes (11)


Yemen Feature: Covering Up the Civilian Deaths from a US Drone Attack (Raghavan)

Funeral in Dhamar, Yemen, after a US drone strike, September 2012 (Photo: Mohamed Mohamed/Xinhua)

More than three months later, the incident in Radda offers a window into the Yemeni government’s efforts to conceal Washington’s mistakes and the unintended consequences of civilian deaths in American air assaults. In this case, the deaths have bolstered the popularity of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network’s Yemen affiliate, which has tried to stage attacks on U.S. soil several times.

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EA Video Analysis: A Beginner's Guide to Drone Strikes, "Kill Lists", and Obama's War on Terror 

Slate recently published an interactive map of US drone strikes in Pakistan, graphically revealing the scale of this emerging form of warfare. With reports that the CIA is seeking to expand its fletts of drones, coupled with the announcement that a UN team will investigate civilian deaths caused by such attacks, we ask what the effects are of this cheaper form of American warfare and risk consideration of the people who feel the effects of the strikes.

With the expanding use of drone strikes, the Obama Administration --- co-operating with the media to reveal its "secret" programmes --- is promising the American public a war without end should it enjoy a second term. Is this a renewed "War of Terror" with a goal that can be achieved, or does it risks exacerbating the "terrorism" it is supposedly eliminating?


Yemen Feature: An Arab Spring? No, Just More US Drone Strikes (Woods/Slater)

Covert US strikes against alleged militants in Yemen have risen steeply during the Arab spring, and are currently at the same level as the CIA’s controversial drone campaign in Pakistan, a new study by the Bureau reveals.

At least 27 US military and CIA strikes involving cruise missiles, aircraft, drones or naval bombardments have taken place in the volatile Gulf nation to date, killing hundreds of alleged militants linked to the regional al Qaeda franchise. But at least 55 civilians have died too, the study found.

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US War-On-Terror Special: The Drone Mentality (Greenwald)

Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon, summarises the US use of drone strikes in the latest phase of the War on Terror. From the realization that not even the CIA knows who the strikes are killing to the foggy legal justification for the drone operations to the personal story of the death of 16-year-old Tariq Aziz, Greenwald collects and examines the latest headlines in his blanket condemnation of the tactic.

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US and the World: The Future is Bright, The Future is Drone Attacks (Finn)

The killing of terrorism suspects and insurgents by armed drones, controlled by pilots sitting in bases thousands of miles away in the western United States, has prompted criticism that the technology makes war too antiseptic. Questions also have been raised about the legality of drone strikes when employed in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, which are not at war with the United States. This debate will only intensify as technological advances enable what experts call lethal autonomy.

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Yemen Analysis: Why the US Death-by-Drone Strategy Will Not Work (Johnsen)

There are many more Islamists in Yemen --- people who went abroad to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq --- than there are members of Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula. 


Because many of those who went abroad to fight did so to defend Muslim lands from western military aggression and when they returned they disagreed with AQAP's claim that Yemen is a legitimate theater of jihad. 

With the US launching bombs into Yemen many more individuals will join up with AQAP for the same reason they went abroad to fight: to defend their land from what they see as Western military aggression. 

As if this wasn't bad enough the US is taking it one step further and, according to the Wall Street Journal, will be targeting people according to their "pattern of life."

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Pakistan: Obama Administration Divides Over Drone Strikes (Entous/Gorman/Rosenberg)

Fissures have opened within the Obama administration over the drone program targeting militants in Pakistan, with the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and some top military leaders pushing to rein in the Central Intelligence Agency's aggressive pace of strikes.

Such a move would roll back, at least temporarily, a program that President Barack Obama dramatically expanded soon after taking office, making it one of the U.S.'s main weapons against the Pakistan-based militants fighting coalition troops in Afghanistan.

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Bin Laden Feature: How US Drones Drove Osama to His Final Location

Bin Laden's Abbottabad CompoundThe only defence against the strikes was to stay indoors around the clock and not draw attention to oneself or to leave the area. Bin Laden did both. In 2006, he moved in Abbottabad, the military town north of Islamabad, ditching his bodyguards and remaining in the same room in the compound for the next five years.

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Pakistan Feature: Is This a "Crisis" in Relations Between CIA and Islamabad?

On Tuesday, both The Washington Post and The New York Times reported on Pakistani demands that the Central Intelligence Agency restrict its operations, including drone strikes, inside the country. The Post reported, from US and Pakistani officials, of Pakistan's demand that Washington "impose new limits on CIA drone strikes in their country and...expel agency operatives whose missions are not approved by Islamabad".

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UPDATED Afghanistan Feature: How Did A US Drone Manage to Kill 23 Innocent Men and Boys? (Cloud)

UPDATE 0635 GMT: US military officials have said that a Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman were killed in a Predator drone airstrike in Afghanistan last week in an apparent case of friendly fire.

A Marine unit under fire called in a drone attack on "hot spots" moving in their direction. Those "hot spots" turned out to be Marine reinforcements, including the two US troops killed in the strike.

This is believed to be the first time that US personnel have been killed by a Predator.

Nearly three miles above the rugged hills of central Afghanistan, American eyes silently tracked two SUVs and a pickup truck as they snaked down a dirt road in the pre-dawn darkness.

The vehicles, packed with people, were 31/2 miles from a dozen U.S. special operations soldiers, who had been dropped into the area hours earlier to root out insurgents. The convoy was closing in on them.

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