The Hill & The New York Times – 2017-09-30 17:55:29
Trump to Roll Back Limits on
Drone Strikes and Commando Raids
Julia Manchester / The Hill
WASHINGTON, DC (September 22, 2017) — The Trump administration is set to roll back various limits on drone strikes and commando raids put in place under former President Barack Obama, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Under the policy, strikes would be expanded to include “foot-soldier jihadists” who do not necessarily have leadership roles, instead of allowing strikes only if militants are considered “continuing and imminent threat” to US citizens.
The proposed strikes would also no longer have to go through high-level vetting, according to the Times.
The roll backs would apply to commando raids and drone strikes outside of conventional battlefields, and would affect missions in countries where the US has not targeted active Islamic militants, as well as countries such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia where the US are taken aim at militants, according to the report.
The proposal, which has taken shape over the past few months, will leader an intensified fight against terror organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qeada.
The proposal is likely to enrage human rights groups advocating for increased limits and bans on drone strikes to avoid civilian casualties.
However, the Trump administration will keep the requirement that there needs to be “near certainty” that no civilians will be killed during an attack.
The reported policy illustrates President Trump’s promise to go after jihadists with increased force, which he repeatedly advocated for on the campaign trail.
Trump reaffirmed this mission in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, vowing to crush “loser” terrorists.
“The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people,” he said.
Trump Poised to Drop Some Limits
On Drone Strikes and Commando Raids
Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt / The New York Times
WASHINGTON (September 21, 2017) — The Trump administration is preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. The changes would lay the groundwork for possible counterterrorism missions in countries where Islamic militants are active but the United States has not previously tried to kill or capture them.
President Trump’s top national security advisers have proposed relaxing two rules, the officials said. First, the targets of kill missions by the military and the C.I.A., now generally limited to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans, would be expanded to include foot-soldier jihadists with no special skills or leadership roles. And second, proposed drone attacks and raids would no longer undergo high-level vetting.
But administration officials have also agreed that they should keep in place one important constraint for such attacks: a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed.
The proposal to overhaul the rules has quietly taken shape over months of debate among administration officials and awaits Mr. Trump’s expected signature. Despite the preservation of the protections for civilians, the other changes seemed likely to draw criticism from human rights groups.
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