Drone strikes happened in Pakistan and more are expected elsewhere.
Would it help if the United States government would explain its foreign policy with respect for the use of drone technology to strike terrorists? Since the news today is that America killed 13 insurgent terrorists in northwest Pakistan, and since Iraq has requested similar assistance, it makes sense to be as clear as can be about US policy. The White House has been pretty good about explaining such policies, so let’s review what they have published. To make it easier, here is a list of key elements followed by the actual policy, and a reference to today’s news.
List of key elements on the “Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the US Areas of Active Hostilities":
1. These standards and policies have been briefed to Congress since day one of the Obama administration and updated accordingly.
2. It is preferred to capture terrorists rather than to kill them.
3. An important test in determining the “use of lethal force” is to know for certain that the terrorists are trying to kill Americans, or American allies with which we have protection agreements.
4. Continuing imminent threat to U.S. persons
(See the annotated details below.)
The policy gets tricky in the instance of Pakistan where on one hand they are an allied nation state, but on the other hand their military is often conflicted to the point of being aligned with insurgent Taliban and terrorists. Interpretation is more of an art than a legal science.
“Pakistan: 13 killed as US resumes drone strike campaign
The foreign ministry of Pakistan has condemned the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty
The Guardian, Thursday 12 June 2014 14.03 EDT
US drones have fired missiles at militant hideouts in north-western Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led programme after a nearly six-month break, officials said on Thursday.
The Pakistani foreign ministry condemned the strikes as a violation of sovereignty. The attacks came days after a five-hour siege of Karachi airport left 36 people, including 10 militants, dead which raised concerns over Pakistan's ability to deal with the Pakistani Taliban, who said they had carried out the assault along with an Uzbek militant group. It was not immediately clear if the drone strikes were connected to the airport attack. Pakistan had asked the US to halt drone strikes while it was trying to negotiate a peace deal with the militants, but even before the airport siege those talks had largely collapsed.