Al Libi’s death: Another milestone in war against terror

Published: June 8, 2012

The second in command of al Qaeda, Abu Yahya al Libi, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on June 4. PHOTO: REUTERS

The second in command of al Qaeda, Abu Yahya al Libi, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on June 4. The Obama Administration has already hailed al Libi’s death as another significant milestone in the drive to root out terrorists from their safe havens in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, our Foreign Office has again let the US authorities know that the drone strikes violate our country’s sovereignty.

At this point, I think it would be worthwhile if we asked ourselves why the US resorted to using these Predator drones in the first place.

The Americans claim that they have broken al Qaeda’s back by targeting the organisation’s top and mid-level leadership and, therefore, knocked down its ability to launch attacks on the US mainland and its allies. I think hardly anyone, including our own defence analysts, would doubt this.

I remember a time when the US would, quite literally, beg the Pakistan Army to launch an operation in North Waziristan, where all the big-shot fundamentalists had supposedly established their bases. But our army claimed that it was battle-fatigued; that it had just cleared out militants from Swat, and had not been over with what it saw in South Waziristan. And then, there was always India to look out for in the east. So, that was that.

However, the clever Americans found a way to deal with that. They started using Predator drones during George W Bush’s second term in 2004, after, apparently, getting all-clear from the Musharraf government.

Pakistan only had to sacrifice its sovereignty, while the US would make sure that its soil wasn’t used for plotting another 9/11-style attack.

Eight years on, and we are still crying about the violation of our borders. The attack on Salala check post in November 2011, though not caused by any drone strike (thank God), did not make the CIA rethink the programme. We stopped Nato from using our country to supply necessary items to its troops in Afghanistan. But then the CIA scored once again, by bagging al Libi. Of course, there are doubts at this point if he really was killed in the strike on June 4, as he had reportedly been killed in a similar fight in 2009. But nonetheless, the incident would just lend further credence to the drone programme.

Ali.Mehdi

Ali Mehdi

A sub-editor for the Karachi pages at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Your right. How may Al-Libi’s are there ?Recommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com Solomon2

    “ur army claimed that it was battle-fatigued; that it had just cleared out militants from Swat, and had not been over with what it saw in South Waziristan. And then, there was always India to look out for in the east…clever Americans found a way to deal with that. They started using Predator drones during George W Bush’s second term in 2004, after, apparently, getting all-clear from the Musharraf government. Pakistan only had to sacrifice its sovereignty -”

    Pakistan’s sovereignty, with regards to U.S. attacks on terrorists, was sacrificed the moment the Pakistani military started making excuses for not acting. Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 Pakistan has the binding sovereign obligation to root out terrorists, terror havens, terror financing, etc. from its territory.

    No action => no sovereign claims. Thus Pakistani laws, declarations, and what not forbidding attacks on terrorists on its territory have no backing in international law. The drone attacks on terrorists are quite legal. Haven’t Pakistanis wondered why no other nation will speak out in its support?

    There is another nation that has experienced continuous violations of its sovereignty by U.S. drones: Yemen. There, however, the approach of the government was very different: Yemen’s president had no trouble with U.S. drone operations but insisted that the terrorists killed were all the result of action by Yemen’s own armed forces. If the Pakistani gov’t is truly anti-terrorist as well as “sensitive” to sovereignty issues, why not adopt Yemen’s way?Recommend

  • Confused

    Pakistan is not strong enough to have any sovereignty. The government can’t even handle national issues, let alone any international relations, it’s more of a given up, get what you can and run from it scenario, let’s face it.
    However, I’m fed up of this War on Terror. 11 years and going, 10 to get rid of one man. How much of a threat was it to the US or frankly the world? I do not vouch for Al Qaeda, they should be eliminated, but this was just plain overkill.
    Waste of money, Waste of relations, every few months or so a top level extremist militant is killed, good. But look at the wastelands now. Look at Iraq.
    It doesn’t damage the US much, what with the drones and all, but approximately 35000 of our people have been killed by suicide bombings. Yet we still just keep yelling hoping one day it will annoy US enough to leave us.
    For now, we need to shut up and just get our own people basic necessities, it seems more feasible, imo. This is a more complicated issue that we are too frail and dejected to undertake without some self-help.Recommend

  • Tch tch

    What is Al Libi accused of except making Youtube vidoes?.
    Wasnt he in US Custody from 2001 -2005. How did he “escape” one of the world most guarded base(Bagram) as claimed by Americans?
    Al Libi is just another Emmanuel Goldstein. He will be replaced in a second.
    27 others were mowed down to death over the week to get him. Something for our pax Americana Cheerleaders should think about…Recommend

  • Hari

    Your points are well put Ali!!

    -HariRecommend

  • Vikram

    Probably some one in Pakistan government got some reward for thisRecommend

  • http://Karachi ashar

    Who can confirm who died and who cares? All we do is to believe what US says and follow. even the so called people of reason who are always ready to reason the historiocity of Jesus, the divinity of Quran find no courage to at least reason one action of US and its results that he claim not confirmed by any quarter. Who confirm and who cares?

    I believe that the HQ of AL Qaida is somewhere in the undergrounds of Pentagon.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    “…it would be worthwhile if we asked ourselves why the US resorted to using these Predator drones in the first place.”

    Maybe because Pakistani forces captured Al Libi and handed him over to the US, who let him escape in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Jack_Shah

    The American drone strikes are completely illegal – and this article makes a very poor case for drone strikes.

    First, lets explore how terrorists are defined, from New York Times we learn that “It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” So basically if I am in Waziristan I am a terrorist –> and that drones are not really killing terrorists. It is also disingenuous to believe that the Pakistan army can somehow attack civilians en masse.

    Second, lets get to the heart of the problem, the goal here is to prevent future terrorist attacks to America. Do we really believe that the militants that are killed due to drone strikes have the capability of attacking the US? I find it difficult to believe the Taliban, an illiterate movement looking to kick the US out of Afghanistan has the ability to attack US soil across the globe. Even if they did we should remember that the 9/11 commission report stated that 9/11 was an intelligence and security failure on part of the US.

    To summarize, it is impossible to justify the continued use of drones by the US is not right.Recommend

  • Vigilant

    Using drones to kill some-one on suspicion with trial is constitutionally and morally wrong….specially by those who are leader of human rights…..

    But elimination of Al-Qaida…………..Good riddanceRecommend

  • Dr ubaid

    according to new reports he is not dead … iheard over twitter Aq claimed.Recommend