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Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 20:17 | SYDNEY
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Reader riposte: Drones over the long-term

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This post is part of the Remote-control warfare debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

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11 May 2010 08:41


This post is part of the Remote-control warfare debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

Peter writes in with this contribution to the drone debate.

A recent article by the LA Time illuminates more aspects of the drone attacks on terrorist groups operating from the FATA pertinent to this ongoing blog debate...

In these drone attacks, as an earlier post makes clear, the US endeavors to abide by law of war conventions meaning that only the terrorist groups leadership and readily apparent foot soldiers are targeted.

As the article observes attacks are not authorised against those individuals that facilitate Al Qaeda operations or fund the group. This approach, while legally correct and ethically sound, does have strategic ramifications when thinking about these wars of non-state actors.

...The drone strikes are then principally focusing on terrorist attrition and disruption. The Times Square bomber and the Christmas airline bomber were not well trained suggesting that the terrorist groups are indeed having difficulties in their redoubts.

However, the drone strikes cannot go on at this level forever, and when they decline the terrorist groups will gradually recover as quickly as their resourcing allows. Moreover, for the foreseeable future Pakistan and Afghanistan (or Yemen) are unlikely to control their territory to a level that definitely rules out transnational terrorist groups using these states as a sanctuary.

The present strategic balance between defensive and offensive actions against FATA based terrorist groups may need to shift. More emphasis may need to be placed on defensive measures, as the present level of offensive action cannot continue indefinitely...

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