U.S. rejects demands to vacate Pakistan drone base....
[This Brennan guy is trying to muster-up a little of the Bush "dead or alive" spirit in this speech, claiming that we "seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda." If this was what he really wanted, then he should just pick up the phone and talk to the "al-Qaeda" big bosses, who are the same today as they were thirty years ago, when this grand psyop began. Langley runs "the base"--always has. It is all a great big psycho-drama, intended to gain public support for the destruction of the Pakistani state, under the pretense of hunting our terrorist progeny.]
To destroy the al-Qaeda “evil”, the US needs to dismantle its core in the tribal regions of Pakistan and prevent its ability to re-establish a safe haven in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, a senior US official has said.
“We aim to render the heart of al-Qaeda incapable of launching attacks against our homeland, our citizens, or our allies, as well as preventing the group from inspiring its affiliates and adherents to do so,” John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security, said Wednesday.
“And we seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda,” he said expanding on the White House counter terrorism strategy at the John Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Acknowledging that US “relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration, he said: “We are now working with our Pakistani partners to overcome differences and continue our efforts against our common enemies.”
“It is essential that we do so.As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against al-Qaeda,” he said explaining why we must continue our cooperation with Pakistan.
Claiming that over the past two and half years more than half of al- qaeda’s top leadership has been eliminated, Brennan said with the death of Osama bin Laden, the US had struck its biggest blow against the terrorist group.
Information seized from his hideout in Pakistan reveals Laden’s concerns about al-Qaeda’s long-term viability, he said noting the al-Qaeda called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers.
“Perhaps most importantly, bin Laden clearly sensed that al-Qaeda is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds,” Brennan said.
But “this fight is not over,” he said and cited President Barack Obama to reiterate his administration’sresolve: “We have put al-Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.”
1 07 2011
[This base has been under control of the UAE since the 1990's, after they provided the initial funding for its construction. These wealthy Arabs have been in cahoots with the CIA since the beginning and throughout the entire "Islamisation" destabilization project. It looks like top lawyers will be fronting the American takeover of Balochistan.]
By Mark Hosenball and Kamran Haider
The United States is rejecting demands from Pakistani officials that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against suspected militants, U.S. officials told Reuters.
U.S. personnel have not left the remote Pakistani military installation known as Shamsi Air Base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive material.
“That base is neither vacated nor being vacated,” the official said. The information was confirmed by a second U.S. official.
The U.S. declaration that drone operations in Pakistan will continue unabated is the latest twist in a fraught relationship between security authorities in Washington and Islamabad, which has been under increasing strain for months.
Regarding the Shamsi base in particular, Pakistani officials have frequently suggested it is being shuttered, comments that may be aimed at quieting domestic opposition to U.S. military operations using Pakistani soil.
Earlier this week, Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told the Financial Times that Pakistan had already stopped U.S. drone operations there.
On Thursday, Mukhtar told Reuters: “When they (U.S. forces) will not operate from there, no drone attacks will be carried out.”
He said Islamabad had been pressuring the U.S. to vacate the base even before the May 2 commando raid in which U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden. After the raid, Mukhtar said, “We told them again.”
A senior Pakistani military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that when U.S. forces first launched counter-terrorism operations inAfghanistan, Pakistan “provided Americans two bases in Jacobabad and Shamsi. Jacobabad base has been vacated for long time ago, but Shamsi is still with them.”
“They are vacating it,” the official insisted. “Shamsi base was for logistic purpose. They also used it for drones for some time but no drones have been flown from there.”
The official said no base in Pakistan was presently used by the Americans for drone operations. But he did not give a precise date for when drones supposedly stopped operating from Shamsi.
The U.S. officials disputed that account. If anything, the Obama administration is moving to a counter-terrorism strategy based more on drone strikes and other covert operations than on deploying large numbers of troops.
On Wednesday, John Brennan, president Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor, promised that in the tribal regions along the Afghan/Pakistan border, the U.S. would continue to “deliver precise and overwhelming force against al Qaeda.”
“And when necessary, as the President has said repeatedly, if we have information about the whereabouts of al Qaeda, we will do what is required to protect the United States — as we did with bin Laden,” Brennan said in a speech.
Pakistani officials have faced fierce criticism for tacitly allowing the CIA to conduct drone operations on Pakistani soil. Allegations that civilian bystanders have been killed in drone attacks have only compounded the political problems facing Pakistani authorities.
Brennan rejected suggestions that U.S. drone attacks had caused numerous civilian casualties, claiming that the U.S. had been “exceptionally precise and surgical” in its operations. “Not a single collateral death” had been caused by U.S. counter-terrorism operations over the last year, he said.
U.S. officials have said that since the United States in July 2008 greatly increased the rate of drone-borne missile strikes against suspected militants along the Afghan/Pakistan border, the number of civilian deaths caused by such attacks has totaled under 40. Some Pakistani officials and human rights activists have claimed the death toll is much higher....