Secret drone base in Saudi Arabia a delicate issue for many
Base could inflame anti-American passions in the conservative Islamic state.
Drone strikes on Obama-selected targets in Yemen are being launched from a secret base in Saudi Arabia. The exact location of the base is not being disclosed, however its mere presence is a political risk for Saudi Arabia.
Drones are now widely used in military operations. This image shows an Air Force Captain piloting a drone over Iraq in 2004.
The mere presence of the base is controversial for Saudi Arabia, which has its own problems with al-Qaeda. The conservative Arab state was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden and has a significant number of citizens who despise the American presence there.
Although the base is in Saudi Arabia, the extreme flying range of the drones means that it can fly sorties across a wide area including as far away as Pakistan and the Horn of Africa. The base could also launch drones into Iran, although no connections between the base and alleged drone flights into that country has been established.
Back in the United States, the existence of the secret base has invited new scrutiny from Americans who are concerned about U.S. drone operations.
According to statistics released by a number of agencies, U.S. drone strikes kill as many as 50 non-terrorists for each legitimate terrorist they eliminate. The 50 to 1 ratio seems high, however strikes are conducted against homes and vehicle convoys that are used by targeted individuals and others. It is very difficult to separate the innocent from the guilty for the purposes of a drone strike. Mistakes can also occur.
In addition, some of the strikes have targeted American civilians who chose to affiliate themselves with al-Qaeda. A secret justice department memo was leaked last week, which concluded that the President, or other authorized individuals, were within legal bounds to order strikes against Americans overseas.
This memo has become the subject of intense scrutiny and legal challenge as it provides no due process for the accused. Defenders of the memo say that due process is impossible for these individuals and that because of the unique threat they pose to their country, they must be eliminated. White House spokesman Jay Carney has called the strikes, "Legal, ethical, and wise."
The memo is particularly important because the man tapped to become the next director of the CIA is John Brennan, an architect behind the ongoing drone program. It is likely that if he is confirmed, U.S. drone operations will expand rather than contract.
What implications that has for the government of Saudi Arabia, and the Obama administration remains to be seen.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Drones, Saudi Arabia, base, Pakistan, Iran, memo
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Middle East News
- You'll be surprised to see what Palestinians are smuggling into Gaza
- Use Twitter, go to HELL
- As death and destruction rain down in Syria, refugees flee with lives to Jordan
- Hezbollah can reach Israel with missiles, report says
- Did intervention in Iraq unjustly discriminate against the Christians there?
- With Hezbollah statement, Syrian conflict threatens to spread into multinational conflict
- Chemical weapons in Syria - Did they or didn't they?
- The Most Powerful Weapon for Peace in Syria, The Trappist Nuns of Allepo
- Butchered in Baniyas! Women, children slaughtered in Syria (GRAPHIC WARNING)
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?