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Drones: American/Saudi war of terror

Ahmed Elbassiouny

February 28, 2013

A couple of United States based sources have leaked information on the existence of a secret US drone base in Saudi Arabia, that carries out unmanned drones all around the region. The base has been functional for over two years.
Protecting the regimes
The US administration explained that the base is there to chase and attack Al-Qaeda members in Yemen, for "anti-terrorism" missions. But on the Saudi side, the minister of the interior refused to comment on this--raising questions about whether keeping Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist activity in Saudi Arabia under control is the reason or the excuse for drones. The truth is that the drone base is more for protecting the Saudi Arabian’s oil fields and the ruling family, from any possible attacks. That is probably why no reasonable explanation was seen from the Saudi side.
Ever since the news about the existence of such a base was leaked, journalists have been roaming Google maps and other satellite services, looking for the base. Noah Shachtman, editor of Wired magazine’s online Blog, managed to get photos of what might be the US base. It was found hidden in the Saudi deserts, near the Yemeni border - where it is very hard to locate. The US has been hiding this from the public for two years, through what the Washington Post described as an "informal arrangement among several news organizations" that had been "at the request of the administration."
War of terror
Drones are emerging as a central part of Obama's foreign policy, and he nominited drone program architect John Brennan to head the CIA. Brennan claims drones are a humane form of warfare based on surgical strikes that limit civilian casualties and spare US soldiers. But the increasing reliance on drones is an attempt to compensate for US imperialism which is militarily and economically overstretched, with rivals in China and Europe and resistance movements threatening its control over the Arab world. Meanwhile the concern for US casualties is based on limiting anger within the military, as veterans come home to a vicious austerity agenda and Iraq Veterans Against the War condemns occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But drones are not a softer form of imperialism, and protesters at Brenna's senate confirmation hearing held signs saying "drones fly, children die." A drone strike in Yemen in December 2009 killed 55, including 14 women and 21 children. It's estimated drones have killed 3,000 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen--the last two without even declaring war. Drones have been not only been used to launch illegal and covert attacks on sovereign nations, they have also been used to justify killing the adminsitration's own citizens--encouraging other countries to restrict civil liberties. Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney recently cited drones as justifcation for his draconian bill to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship, saying, “in the case of the United States, instead of going through legal niceties of citizenship revocation they seem to be using drones to bomb American citizens who are terrorists.”
The CIA has been defending the legality of the leaked base, which has been part of counter-revolutionary measures Yemen, and which has killed many civilians. While paying lip service to democracy, the US has used the Saudi regime as a counter-revolutionary force force against the Arab Spring in several countries in the region. Solidarity with revolutionary movements in Saudi Arabia means standing against Western intervention, drone programs and counter-revolutionary elements in the region. 


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