Skip to comments.U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan on rise for 2013
Posted on 01/11/2013 8:30:43 PM PST by Seizethecarp
The CIA has opened the year with a flurry of drone strikes in Pakistan, pounding Taliban targets along the countrys tribal belt at a time when the Obama administration is preparing to disclose its plans for pulling most U.S. forces out of neighboring Afghanistan.
A strike Thursday in North Waziristan was the seventh in 10 days, marking a major escalation in the pace of attacks. Drone attacks had slipped in frequency to fewer than one per week last year.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials attributed the increased tempo to a sense of urgency surrounding expectations that President Obama will soon order a drawdown that could leave Afghanistan with fewer than 6,000 U.S. troops after 2014. The strikes are seen as a way to weaken adversaries of the Afghan government before the withdrawal and serve notice that the United States will still be able to launch attacks.
The CIA may see a diminishing window for using drones with such devastating effectiveness as the military begins sharp reductions in the 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, current and former officials said.
The surge in drone activity comes as key leadership positions at the CIA and in Obamas national security cabinet are in flux.
Former CIA director David H. Petraeus, who had previously commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan, had sought to place tighter restrictions on the agencys drone campaign in Pakistan, leading to clashes with the head of the CIAs counterterrorism center, former officials said.
Petraeus resigned in November after admitting to an extramarital affair, leaving his deputy, acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell, with approval authority on drone strikes in Pakistan.
This week, Obama nominated his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, as the next CIA director. The direction the drone program might take under Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, is unclear.
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Piss off an nuclear armed islamist state, what could possibly go wrong?
CIC Barry has accelerated the withdrawal of US/NATO troops from Afghanistan thus ensuring a steep reduction in bases and resources for drone strikes on the Af/Pak border that have been keeping Taliban and al Qaeda heads down.
With those drone bases and strikes cut back both the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments will be increasingly at risk along with the US and EU targets of opportunity that an increasingly safe al Qaeda command in North Waziristan can plan to hit...without fearing unwelcome “guests.”
How long before we run out of drones?
Just sing the Drone national anthem by Steve Tyler and Aerosmith, ‘Drone On’.
We have lots of factories and metal and explosive and electronics. We rule the skies of Pakistan, and that’s a fact, Jack.