US warns to "scalpel" instead of "hammer" Al-Qaeda, extremist affiliates

Posted By: Mamatha
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Washington, Aug 15 (ANI): The United States is poised to bring in changes in its counter terrorism operations against Al-Qaeda and its extremist affiliates by saying that instead of the "hammer" they will now be relying on the "scalpel" to dismantle terrorist groups.

"Instead of the hammer, America will rely on the scalpel," The New York Times quoted John O. Brennan, President Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser, as saying.

Brennan, an architect of the White House strategy, used this analogy while pledging a "multigenerational" campaign against Al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.

Demands have been made to transform the Central Investigative Agency (CIA) into a paramilitary organization as much as a spying agency, which some critics worry could lower the threshold for future quasi-military operations.

In Pakistan's mountains, the agency had broadened its drone campaign beyond selective strikes against Al-Qaeda leaders and now regularly obliterates suspected enemy compounds and logistics convoys, just as the military would grind down an enemy force.

For its part, the Pentagon is becoming more like the C.I.A. Across the Middle East and elsewhere, Special Operations troops under secret "Execute Orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies, the paper states.

With code names like Eager Pawn and Indigo Spade, such programs typically operate with even less transparency and Congressional oversight than traditional covert actions by the C.I.A.

"Yemen is a testing ground for the 'scalpel' approach," Brennan endorsed.

Administration officials warn of the growing strength of Al Qaeda's affiliate there, citing as evidence its attempt on Dec. 25 to blow up a trans-Atlantic jetliner using a young Nigerian operative.s American counterterrorism operations spread beyond war zones into territory hostile to the military, private contractors have taken on a prominent role, raising concerns that the United States has outsourced some of its most important missions to a sometimes unaccountable private army. (ANI)

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