Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pakistan the Model | Strikes Kill 15 in Waziristan - New Air Base to Target Yemen

According to the Voice of America, Pakistani intelligence officials report three CIA-run drone strikes have killed 15. This is a long established pattern.

The Long War Journal has links to yesterday's Wall Street Journal article spelling out a new CIA strategy to destroy al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula using Pakistan as the model. They would rely on unmanned Predator and Reaper strike aircraft.

The new CIA drone program will initially focus on collecting intelligence to share with the military, officials said. As the intelligence base for the program grows, it will expand into a targeted killing program like the current operation in Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press was reporting on the building a secret air base to launch drone strikes into Yemen.

The United States is building a secret CIA air base in the Persian Gulf region to target terrorists in Yemen, preparing for the possibility that an anti-American faction may take over Yemen and ban U.S. forces from hunting a lethal al-Qaida faction there…”

General Petraeus, the current commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan is currently in Washington to hand-deliver the military proposal for the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan next month to the President.

He will face Senate confirmation next week for his new job as CIA director.

When it was announced in April that Mr. Panetta would leave the CIA to head the Department of Defense and General Petraeus would take over as head of the CIA a pattern was emerging. Here is what the NYT’s had to say.

"As C.I.A. director, Mr. Panetta hastened the transformation of the spy agency into a paramilitary organization, overseeing a sharp escalation of the C.I.A.’s bombing campaign in Pakistan using armed drone aircraft, and an increase in the number of secret bases and covert operatives in remote parts of Afghanistan.

General Petraeus, meanwhile, has aggressively pushed the military deeper into the C.I.A.’s turf, using Special Operations troops and private security contractors to conduct secret intelligence missions. As commander of the United States Central Command in September 2009, he also signed a classified order authorizing American Special Operations troops to collect intelligence in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran and other places outside of traditional war zones.

The result is that American military and intelligence operatives are at times virtually indistinguishable from each other as they carry out classified operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. Some members of Congress have complained that this new way of war allows for scant debate about the scope and scale of military operations. In fact, the American spy and military agencies operate in such secrecy now that it is often hard to come by specific information about the American role in major missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya and Yemen."

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