US drone strikes in Pakistan over the past 8 years have killed at least 1,715 people, says the New America Foundation

January 31, 2012
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According to an AFP tally, 45 US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.
The New America Foundation think tank in Washington says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years.
Human rights campaigners have expressed deep concern over increased use of drone strikes. The State Department also confirmed it used surveillance drones to protect US diplomats in so-called “critical threat environments” overseas.
The United States had until now refused to discuss the strikes publicly, but the program has dramatically increased as the Obama administration looks to withdraw all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Looks like Obama wants to get re-elected


Backstabs to Syria and Radar Deal Triggers Benefits in Weaponry for Turkey

October 11, 2011

Turkey is playing us well. The have their chips all in the right place at the right time. Friends with Syria in fair weather and then a backstab… in fact it appears that Ankara is planning a Syrian overthrow of Assad.

Al-Asaad (not Bashar al-Assad) is now staying in a refugee camp in the southern province of Hatay after escaping from his post in the Syrian Air Force in July. Nearly 7,608 refugees are currently sheltering in Turkish camps along the border with Syria. The number of military defections in Syria is increasing, said al-Asaad, who is the leader of a group of similar defectors that are now calling themselves the Free Syrian Army. “Right now there are more than 10,000 defectors in the Free Syrian Army, and the number is increasing day by day,” al-Asaad said. “Defecting soldiers are setting up ambushes against government forces to prevent them from entering the villages.”

(AlArabiya) Formed in Istanbul at the end of August, the Syrian National Council unites all the major known factions opposing Assad’s rule, both inside and outside Syria. It includes the Local Coordination Committees, an activist network spurring protests in Syria, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood as well as Kurdish and Assyrian groups. The formation of the council has been welcomed by Western countries including the United States and France. However, unlike the transitional council set up by Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Qaddafi, they have not offered it any formal recognition.

Erdogan is cooperating with a NATO missile shield in exchange for weapons that he will use against his Kurds and will use against the Jews in Israel. This appears to be upsetting the Iranians.

Rahim-Safavi said trade ties with Turkey — which is an importer of Iranian gas and exporter of an array of manufactured goods — would be in jeopardy if Ankara does not change its course.
“If Turkish political leaders fail to make their foreign policy and ties with Iran clear, they will run into problems. If, as they claim, they intend to raise the volume of contracts with Iran to the $20 billion mark, they will ultimately have to accommodate Iran.”

…but Turkey isn’t scared of Iran. Iran needs Turkey more then Turkey needs Iran… and Turkey is benefitting by unscrupulous dealings between Iran and NATO. There is no incentive for this behavior to stop

Turkey has already started to see the benefits of its decision to host a special radar for NATO’s planned missile shield as the United States promised to transfer three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Ankara’s control for use against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Frank Ricciardone told reporters Sept. 30 that the U.S. had agreed to transfer three AH-1Ws to the Turkish military to be used in the fight against the PKK.

They had some before, but relations were rocky.


Iran_already has expressed its ire against Turkey,” said an Ankara-based defense analyst familiar with U.S.-Turkish relations. “So something more is expected to come from the United States, probably in terms of equipment and in political support.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that a number of MQ-1 Predator drones would also be acquired from the U.S.; Turkey had asked for both unarmed and armed versions of the Predator nearly three years ago. The MQ-1 Predator is mainly the surveillance version, and the MQ-9 Reaper is the armed version.