Biden Administration Eeviews the War Policies of the Trump
Biden Administration Eeviews the War Policies of the Trump

Biden Administration Reviews the War Policies of the Trump

The government is reconsidering Trump-era rules governing drone strikes and commando missions outside conventional war zones, among other things.

Less than two months after taking office, much of President Joe Biden’s national security policy is being revised.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin re-examines military deployments around the world, and the administration takes a closer look at global counter-terrorism operations. Biden’s team is also reviewing the Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban and, like its predecessor Barack Obama, Biden’s detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, a Pentagon task force is reviewing Chinese policy, and the State Department has halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to make sure there is something that is advancing our strategic goals and advancing our foreign policy, Minister of State’s Tony Blinken said. said the moon.

The highly publicized reviews show Biden’s desire to distance himself from Donald Trump and to separate his policies from the Obama administration he serves. It is also a sign that with a month before his presidency, Biden is still ahead of many of the most important national security decisions.

This is partly a result of Biden’s slow start as president. Even after it became clear that he had won the election, the Trump administration continued the transition for weeks. In particular, the Ministry of Defense suspended the briefings in December, citing “a mutually agreed holiday” that the Biden transit objected to.

The rush of investigations, as well as the initial moves, such as Biden’s decision to hit an Iranian militia post in Syria last month, prompted the progressive to struggle to assess its emerging policy. Biden has campaigned to end “wars forever”, but seems ready to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond the May 1 date negotiated by Trump. But in Somalia, Biden has not yet carried out an attack – a major departure from the Trump years, which saw a record number of air strikes in a conflict almost as long as the Afghan war. While Biden has been criticized for not holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally responsible for the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US decision to halt the support of Saudi forces in Yemen’s offensive operations is a significant deviation from both Trump and Obama administration policy.

Biden’s strike in Syria, a response to attacks by Iranian-backed militias against US military targets in Iraq, has been criticized as evidence that the White House prioritizes the use of military force over diplomacy. However, the administration’s decision to leak details of the strike, including Biden’s cancellation of a second attack to rescue civilians, seems to have been calculated as a signal of restraint. Senior management officials told the Wall Street Journal that the strike is an unspecified secret statement that Iran will respond to US attacks on US interests in Iraq, but that they are not trying to escalate tensions and is in Tehran. “We had a highly coordinated diplomatic and military plan here,” an anonymous administration official told the Journal. “We made sure the Iranians knew what our intention was.”

However, the strike may not have had the desired effect. Less than a week later, a hail of rocket hit an Iraqi base used by US forces. No US service member was injured, but an American contractor died of a heart attack. The Biden administration “may feel the need to respond,” Pentagon officials told the New York Times.

A girl stands near the wreckage of vehicle oil and tires targeted by airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sana’a, Yemen, on July 2, 2020. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images
A girl stands near the wreckage of vehicle oil and tires targeted by airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sana’a, Yemen, on July 2, 2020. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

FOR THE BETTER PART OF TWO YEARS The US has turned a large part of the world into a borderless battlefield, staging ground battles or air strikes from Burkina Faso to Yemen, Tunisia to Somalia. Fundamental changes in these policies could overturn the national security paradigm that defines the American style of warfare in the 21st century. Biden has recently worked with Congress for the 9.

Perhaps no review of national security policy over the next four years will have a more significant impact than the administration’s comprehensive review of the rules governing Trump-era counterterrorism drone strikes and commando missions outside of traditional war zones. This re-examination of attacks in countries like Yemen and Somalia, first reported by the Daily Beast, offers Biden the opportunity to separate his administration from Trump, Obama and George W. Bush. When Biden was vice president, armed drones were a relatively new technology. But Obama since leaving office in China, UAE and Turkey have developed the capabilities of countries such as armed drone and remote-controlled weapons Syria, Libya and was used in last year’s Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. US drone policy is arguably more important than ever in terms of setting the tone for their use globally.

US drone policy is unquestionably more important than ever in setting the tone for the use of armed drones around the world.

The administration is allegedly still collecting data on drones attacks outside the Trump-run war zones, and Biden has issued “temporary guidance” centralizing the decision-making process in the White House. But the review will determine whether such strikes will require White House approval, as under the Obama administration, or whether responsibility will be transferred to the Department of Defense or the CIA, as under the Trump administration.

If American drone strikes continue in places like Yemen and Somalia, Biden will become the fourth president in a row to use them outside of the declared war zones of the United States. Now, more than 18 years after the CIA carried out the first drone attack in Yemen in 2002, national security experts, as well as human rights and civil liberty groups, see an opportunity to restrict and reassess whether the US will launch these attacks in the review. .

“If the government is going to be killing people around the world on an indefinite basis, they ought to at least be transparent with the American public as to why they’re doing that, what the standards are that guide those operations, and what the results of those operations are, ”Luke Hartig, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama White House told The Intercept. “This is an opportunity to ask some hard questions about where the U.S. should have forces deployed, how frequently they should be conducting operations, and whether there are alternatives to the use of force that they should be considering. “

Early in his first term as vice president, Biden implemented a “counter-terrorism surplus” strategy that prioritized an aggressive drone campaign in Afghanistan and the use of Special Operations forces over a massive US military influx. Some saw this as a starting template for the use of these tactics in Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.

The Obama administration dramatically increased the use of drone strikes in its early period, even killing a small number of US citizens in Yemen, such as the radical cleric Enver al-Evlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman Evlaki, whom he later did not meet. The Investigative Journalism Bureau counted at least 59 US strikes in Yemen from January 2009 to January 2013.

“A review of this policy and efforts to tighten restrictions to better protect civilians are welcomed,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of Amnesty International’s US Human Rights and Security program. “The US government should not use lethal force outside the war zones unless absolutely necessary to protect against an imminent threat to human life. International human rights law requires this, and unfortunately this is not the standard adopted by the Obama administration.”

REVIEW will not be the first attempt to create internal frontiers in drone attacks. In 2013, after facing criticism from civil liberty groups, the Obama administration unveiled a policy manual that set the standard of “near certainty” about the identity of targets when launching strikes outside recognized US war zones.

“[Counter Terrorism] actions, including deadly action against designated terrorist targets, will be as discriminatory and precise as reasonably possible,” the guide said. “In the absence of exceptional circumstances, direct action against a high-value terrorist (HVT) will only be carried out when there is almost certainty that the person being targeted is indeed a legitimate target and is in the place of action. … Direct action will only be taken if there is almost certainty that the action can be carried out without injuring or killing non-combatants. “

But despite almost the standard of certainty, the Obama administration continued to make some high-profile mistakes. Six months after declaring the rule in December 2013, US drones crashed into a vehicle convoy in Yemen. Initial leaks to the press pointed to al-Qaeda members in the cars, but a later investigation by Human Rights Watch found that drones hit a wedding and killed at least 12 people and injured six others.

Later, in January 2015, a CIA drone attack in Pakistan killed two aid workers, one American and one Italian, and both were abducted by militants. The error prompted Obama to take the rare step of declassifying the operation and apologizing to the victims’ families; management then paid the Italian worker’s family.

“A review of the drone program is absolutely necessary. But this review needs to be a real one – not just a review asking if we should go back to 2016 and the policies under President Obama.”

But the Obama administration has never adopted the same standard of accountability for victims or family members of Yemeni or other drone strikes. After Obama’s public apology to the families of Western aid workers, his administration was sued by the Yemeni Faisal bin Ali Jaber, whose nephew and brother-in-law was killed in the 2012 drone attack. Faisal asked Washington for $ 1 and a clear apology, but the Justice Department struggled with the case until the end of Obama’s presidency in 2016 and was dismissed the following year.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who wrote an opinion for the three-judge panel appointed by George W. Bush who dismissed the case, nonetheless called the program’s congressional oversight a “joke” and said “the proliferation of drones is unstoppable.” The President and Congress “must establish clear policy and clear paths for accountability for drone attacks.”

“Faisal’s case highlighted the hypocrisy in the program,” said human rights lawyer Jennifer Gibson at Reprieve who helped bin Ali Jaber’s case, in an email. Obama was right to apologize to the aid workers’ families, but said, “The United States never gave the same apology to Faisal or hundreds of other families who lost their innocent loved ones on this program.”

Yemeni engineer Faisal bin Ali Jaber, whose brother-in-law Salim bin Ali Jaber, an anti al Qaeda cleric, and 26-year-old nephew Walid Abdullah bin Ali Jaber, were killed in a drone strike in Yemen’s southeastern Hadramawt province on August 29, 2012, speaks at a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 15, 2013.

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

According to data compiled by Airwars, a UK-based air strikes monitoring group, there were 32 air strikes in Somalia declared for eight years during the Obama period, while the number of attacks jumped to 205 in Trump’s single term. The reasons center around Trump’s decision, reported in March 2017, to designate parts of Somalia as “areas of active hostility” and to abolish the almost certainty that strikes will not hurt or kill those who do not fight. Trump retired Brig while the White House refused to openly endorse or deny this. Gene. Donald Bolduc, who headed the African Special Operations Command during the change, had previously told that “the burden of proof on who could be targeted and for what reason changed significantly.” He added that this change led to the US air strikes that could not have been carried out before.

Similarly, according to an October 2020 Airwars analysis, Obama’s second term had 138 confirmed or possible US actions in Yemen. The same report concluded that between January 2017 and Trump’s inauguration last October, at least 230 US ground or air strikes were alleged or confirmed in Yemen – 196 of which confirmed or evaluated that Airwars took place with great confidence.

After four years of such escalations under the Trump administration, the return of Obama-era attacks outside the war zones will be welcomed in some quarters and considered a return to national security normality. Other experts urge the Biden administration to do more, but remain skeptical that a complete re-evaluation of its anti-terrorism policy is on the table.

“A review of the drone program is absolutely necessary. But this review needs to be a real review – not just a review asking if we should go back to 2016 and the policies under President Obama,” Reprieve’s Gibson told The Intercept. “The reported review has all the features of doing this.”