Priyanka Motaparthy calls attention to the possible expansion of the drone war into Kenya:
The U.S. military is seeking new authorities to expand its program of lethal drone strikes into Kenya, in order to target al-Shabab fighters in the region, the New York Times reported last week. The request reportedly comes in response to the January 5 al-Shabab attack on the Manda Bay base in Kenya, which killed one US soldier and two private military contractors.
While the authorities have not yet received executive approval, they point toward yet another government effort to expand a secretive and unaccountable killing program on foreign soil. The proposed expansion threatens the lives and safety of civilians living in western Kenya, widens an accountability vacuum that human rights and other civil society groups have been fighting for nearly two decades, and keeps the public in the dark about the legal and policy standards that govern it.
The Trump administration has already significantly escalated the drone war over the last three and a half years. There were as many drone strikes and airstrikes in Somalia in the first five months of this year than there had been in that country from 2007 to 2016. Now the war that the US has been fighting in Somalia threatens to spread into neighboring Kenya with all of the potential danger to civilians that this entails. When we talk about the forever war, we don’t just mean the open-ended deployments in unwinnable and unnecessary conflicts that we see in Afghanistan and Syria. It very much includes this perpetual war machine of fighting militias in other countries’ wars that have no discernible connection to American security. That part has to end as well.