NATO asks US for Drones “to find stuff to blow up” in Libya

NATO commanders have asked the US to send more Predator drones to Libya to enable them to find more targets. After four months of airstrikes, NATO forces are having trouble locating new military targets. As one senior officer put it “It’s getting more difficult to find stuff to blow up…”  So far the Pentagon has not made a decision on whether to grant the request as it will mean moving the drones from Iraq, Afghanistan and, as Pentagon spokesperson put it tactfully “counter-terrorism operations elsewhere.”

Meanwhile the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have released new figures related to British drone strikes in Afghanistan in response to a question from Green MP Caroline Lucas this week. The figures, which Defence Minister Nick Harvey says are of ‘weapons released’ are for the first time broken down annually, so we are able to fill in more details about the rate of use (see table below). No doubt on some occasions more than one weapon is “released” during individual attacks.

Also this week two British citizens were arrested in Herat in Afghanistan .  Special forces raided the Hotel in which the couple, who are in their twenties and have dual nationality, were staying and they were flown to Kandahar airbase for interrogation. There will no doubt now be a legal battle of what happens to the pair. Clive Stafford Smith form the human rights organisation has offered to represent them. On at least two previous occasions British citizens in Afghanistan have been the subject of a drone strike. It is a step forward that this pair have been arrested rather than assassinated – particularly if as well may be the case, they were only visiting relatives.

We reported last month that France had announced that the UK and France were to delay a decision on the new joint drone by 12-18 months.  This was something of a surprise as a decision to go ahead to develop the proposed drone was expected in the summer. France has now announced that it is in talks with Dassault Aviation to procure a version of the Israeli Heron TP drone as a ‘stopgap’ measure.  This all smells very fishy and no doubt more will emerge over the coming weeks.

5 thoughts on “NATO asks US for Drones “to find stuff to blow up” in Libya

  • On at least two previous occasions British citizens in Afghanistan have been the subject of a drone strike.

    And the article you link to has this to say on the subject
    A pair of white British Muslim converts who joined al-Qaeda have been killed in a drone attack in a mountainous region of Pakistan,

  • I get the strong feeling that you so called peace protesters are not so much outraged by the fact that drones are being used against Gaddafi’s thugs but are actually outraged at the fact one of your idols is being overthrown. Let me guess, he’s a hero for ‘standing up to the west’…

    • we are not really a peace protesters , we are do what it takes fighters against your ruthless, ugly, monstrous, filthy terrorist, rapists and butchers in 10 downing st., white house, washington, Pariz ….and you?, are you boozing on the blood spilt by cameron, obama, sarky?…Libya will triumph!!!!

  • Maximilien Brussels 7th Dec 2011
    I have never seen any projectile which is likely to hit its target without -sometimes or often- “collateral damages”.
    As regards Somalia, do we then must congratulate the Salafist Shebabs for being good guys, forget their lust for Shariah rule, rape and kill thousands of their own kin? Without forgetting their clever piracy system etc As to Afghanistan, have we to congratulate the Taleban vor their increasingly better IED ,
    I don’t want to remind our own behaviour between civilized European people during the WWII, it should be a sheer lack of courtesy.
    I understand that do-gooders are always looking for an ethical generally unattainable “something” but I consider that their comparisons are sometimes if not always “out of time”.
    The day when “war” should or shall be an honest passtime is for a very distant future.
    With my regrets and best regards Maximilien

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