It’s not an immediate end, but it’s ended to have that effect over time. Because appeasing the backers of the Taliban and Al Qaeda is more important than fighting terrorism.
The Obama administration has sharply curtailed drone strikes in Pakistan after a request from the government there for restraint as it pursues peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, according to U.S. officials.
“That’s what they asked for, and we didn’t tell them no,” one U.S. official said. The administration indicated that it will still carry out strikes against senior al-Qaeda targets, if they become available, and move to thwart any direct, imminent threat to U.S. persons.
That’s very different than actively pursuing targets. This indicates a switch to a reactive model by reacting to threats, rather than assertively going after Al Qaeda terrorists.
Moving from offensive to defensive mode puts the terrorists in control. If Obama goes through with this, Al Qaeda has won.
Concern about Pakistani political sensitivities provides one explanation for the absence of strikes since December, the longest pause in the CIA’s drone campaign since a six-week lull in 2011
It’s the same game as Iran. Threaten the fake peace process and force more concessions.
Disclosure of a pause in the drone campaign in Pakistan came as a senior Republican lawmaker assailed the Obama administration for tightening the guidelines under which lethal drone strikes are permitted.
Rep. Mike Rogers (Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that policy changes made by President Obama last year to the drone program “are an utter and complete failure, and they leave Americans’ lives at risk.”
Rogers cited the spread of al-Qaeda offshoots in Yemen, Syria and Africa, and said that “individuals who would have been previously removed from the battlefield by U.S. counterterrorism operations for attacking or plotting to attack against U.S. interests remain free because of self-imposed red tape.”
That’s the only kind we have. What does all this mean in the bigger picture?
The Obama administration will narrow its controversial drone program in Pakistan to target a short list of high-level terrorists, and aim to end it during the prime minister’s current term, senior U.S. officials have told their Pakistani counterparts.
Which means we’re done fighting.
The CIA has long added new targets to a longer “kill list” on a rolling basis as old targets are hit.
Now, U.S. officials say, the “kill list” is not self-replenishing, a change long sought by Islamabad. “By taking one off, we’re not automatically putting one on,” a senior U.S. official said. As a result, the number of targets on the list are decreasing as the CIA’s drones focus on a more limited number of high-level targets that “will enable us to conclude the program,” the official said.
And Obama will be able to claim “Mission Accomplished” because the kill list is empty, when it actually just isn’t updated.