This winter, in partnership with CDFAI, we will be launching DRONE WEEK, a week-long online discussion of the present and future applications for UAV technology. OpenCanada will host contributions from leading experts on the implications of deploying UAVs for military, strategic, and humanitarian purposes.
In the lead up to DRONE WEEK, OpenCanada will be tracking international events and analysis related to UAVs in our dispatch blog. We welcome your suggestions – tweet @TheCIC #droneweek and tell us what you’re reading.
Week 1 Highlights:
Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi has responded with enthusiasm to U.S. drone strikes and publicly accepted responsibility for many of them. He appears to view the risk of growing domestic opposition to a strike-friendly policy as an acceptable one because U.S. aerial drone attacks expand the capacity of Yemenese security forces to target extremists.
Whether or not drones attacks are similarly useful to the Pakistani security forces in countering terrorism is the subject of continuing debate (although not so much during the presidential election campaign, whether in relation to Pakistan or anywhere else, as the Washington Post and Bloomberg News both pointed out). According to Thomas Ricks in Foreign Policy, the current American drone program in Pakistan is a decent option, and the alternatives are less than promising.
Decidedly less enthusiastic on having American drones patrolling the skies is Iran’s Defense Minister, who recently confirmed that Iran defense forces fired shots at a U.S. predator drone that entered Iranian airspace last week. There’s little sign that the U.S. drone program (or the controversy surrounding it) is going to gear down over the next four years – almost immediately after Obama’s re-election was confirmed, a strike was reported in Yemen. The U.S. government has a new warfare trajectory defined by cover opts and drone strikes, says Jeremy Scahill. Whether or not the U.S. can ever return to a ‘peacetime presidency’ while on this trajectory is worth considering.