Drone Strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, Proliferation Elsewhere

A US drone strike in Yemen on Thursday (5th May), was an attempt to assassinate US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, said to be head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  Two Saudi brothers were killed in the strike but Al-Awlaki apparently escaped.  Al-Awlaki has been placed on a list of people approved for targeted killing by President Obama. This was unusual in that he was a US citizen.  Ai-Awlaki’s father and the US civil rights group ACLU have attempted to have him removed from the list but failed.

On Friday (6th May) four US drones attacked a compound in North Waziristan killing at least 17 people.  While most press reports concentrated on the fact that this was the first drone strike in Pakistan since the killing of Bin Laden, it is also the first strike since Imran Khan threatened further civil disobedience against NATO supply routes if drone strikes did not cease.

Meanwhile drone proliferation continues as military companies push drones in Africa, Europe, South America and India.  As we have reported previously, Israel is a key exporter of drones and drone technology and a recent report suggests that they are  currently negotiating to sell – or perhaps rent – Heron drones to Angola.  The report also suggests that Kenya may be a future customer.  

In Europe, defence industry officials are pressing governments and companies to “get on with it” and push forward with developing the next generation of drones.  BAE Systems CEO told shareholders at the companies AGM to expect a decision on development of a new Anglo-French drone within the next six months.   In India, development work on an autonomous combat drone has begun.  India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) told press that the aim is to develop the UCAV within seven to eight years . 

In Latin America, at least 11 countries are using surveillance drones with many drones flying over other nations territories and borders.  Most, if not all, the drones have come from Israeli companies or been built with Israeli technology.  The proliferation has led to calls for a ‘code of conduct’ to prevent the arming of drones and it will be interesting to see if this is taken up.



Categories: US Drone Operations

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5 replies

  1. I can understand your concerns about the proliferation of UAVs (Please less of the drone) but from reading your articles i get the feeling there is something of a bias towards Israel.
    I’ve not heard you use similar tones against the use of UAVs by hezb- Allah (you know where they pack them full of explosives and fly them into Israel, luckily they have all been shot down)
    Nor do I hear you comment on UAVs been produced by Pakistan,China. In fact while you do write up on how the US furnishes countries with UAVs. You don’t mention they refuse to sell the hunter killer types to Pakistan. (which is where China comes in)
    As i said I’m all for your work in reducing the impact of war on the world by use of UAVs, but its a multi Faceted stage out there but according to your posts the only actors out there are: The US,The Uk and Israel.

    • Pounce

      Thanks for your comment. I have covered the development of Chinese UAVs – not aware that they have exported any. I am not aware that Pakistan have produced any UAVs, let alone exported any. If you have any info please do post links here. I have seen speculation that Palestinian groups could or have used a UAV but if you have a link to story that would be good. I use the word ‘drone’ as that what people commonly call UAVs – trying to avoid the miltary jargon.

      Everybody and anybody who criticises Israel is always accused of bias.

      Best wishes Disarmingman

  2. Disarmingman

    “…….Everybody and anybody who criticises Israel is always accused of bias…….”

    That, in itself, suggest something about your bias against Israel. Of course, the picture that shows the sign “Gaza hurts” suggest your political leanings as well. However, when someone ask you a direct question (as pounce did), you may try giving a direct straight “honest” response. At least someone can respect you for that.

    • Tom,

      Why does stating that ‘Everybody and anyone who criticises Israel is always accused of bias…” mean I’m biased against Israel? I’m honestly not trying to be annoying!! What makes you say that?!!

      Again, not trying to be annoying but what was the direct question that I didn’t answer?

      Best wishes Chris

  3. Hi Chris

    Thanks for your reply. Pounce suggested you might have a bias toward Israel (sorry, not a question). You replied that “…Everybody and anybody who criticises Israel is always accused of bias…”

    Everybody and anybody, Chris? That’s completely untrue to begin with. I’ve criticized Israel without so much as a peep from anyone. Plenty of commenters criticize Israeli policies in the West Bank (for example) without being criticized – Alan Dershowitz to begin with. However, there are plenty of reasons that Israeli citizens/defenders take offense to the onslaught of anti Israelism in the west which need not be discussed here.

    Maybe a better answer to Pounce would have been “I report the use of drones without any bias directed at one country or another”. That certainly would have sufficed for me that your focus was on the use of drones in warfare (assuming you are honest) – and not a particular country. Indeed, your (weird) response suggested that you are biased against Israel.

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