After all, at an all Parties Conference convened by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan on in early September, the participants unanimously recommended the initiation of dialogue with all the stakeholders to curb terrorism and taking up the drones issue at the United Nations. The resolution said, in part:
"We are unanimous that the use of drones is not only a continued violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts of eliminating extremism and terrorism from our country. The Federal Government should consider the possibility of taking the drone issue to the United Nations as drone attacks are a violation of International Law."Now, the newly-issue report of UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.
Surprise, surprise: Barack Obama has arranged for a little "talk" with the Pakistan leader prior to the U.N. event. As trumpeted in The New York Times, the U.S. will be dangling $1.5 billion in restored aid in front of the Pakistani leader.
Oh, and by the way, might the U.S. also suggest in that meeting that Sharif should remain silent about drones for a few days?
(An offer he can't refuse?)
This is not new in kind -- the U.S. dictates course of action (and inaction) to Pakistan all the time -- but in magnitude is probably the biggest thing since the Bush administration went to Musharraf shortly after 9/11 and said, "You're either with us or you're against us."
At a time when the international community is making remarkable strides in working together to avert conflict, confrontation, war, and injury and doing the difficult work of multilateral peacemaking, it is important that the U.S. avoid even the appearance of trying to undermine this work. Yes, "even" Pakistan deserves to have its own voice.
Maybe we need to demand transparency for all the talks between the U.S. and the Pakistani leaders. That's right -- all the nitty-gritty back-and-forth. The public can handle it. We've already seen The Godfather.
(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)
On Sunday, September 7, 2013, the New York Times ran an account of a drone strike that had occurred the previous Thursday: U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6 in Pakistan, Fueling Anger . This short account is a case study in what is wrong with the U.S. drone wars.
(See September 5 in Pakistan: Another Day, Another Drone Killing)
#NATOvictims - Drone Strikes in Pakistan )