Today’s US drone strike in the South Waziristan Agency, the latest in an almost daily salvo of strikes this month, killed four people including, according to Pakistani officials, the “third-in-command” of al-Qaeda Shaikh al-Fateh.
If the story sounds familiar it is because the killing of al-Qaeda’s third-in-command has been a several time a year occurance during the global war on terror. As only the top two members of the organization are well known, the killings of the organization’s “number three” are regularly reported and spun as a major victory, though they never seem to change the situation on the ground.
Still, if it is confirmed that the person killed in the attack is an al-Qaeda leader, it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the previous 20 US attacks in the month of September had failed to kill anybody who was a confirmed militant, killing dozens of civilians and scores of “suspects.”
It may also serve to distract attention from the US incursion into Pakistani territory over the weekend and the killing of at least 60 “suspects” with attack helicopters. The identities of those killed in the attack remain to be revealed.
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