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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Western drones and African security
Author:Rotte, RalphISNI
Periodical:African Security Review (ISSN 2154-0128)
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:national security
regional security
defence policy
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10246029.2015.1124043
Abstract:While unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become a standard element of modern armed forces, African countries have been reluctant to acquire remotely piloted aircraft for military purposes until recently. This is mainly due to a lack of industrial capabilities and, for military purposes so far, procurement policies that have concentrated on small arms and light weapons, more prestigious armoured vehicles and combat aircraft. Moreover, counter-insurgency strategies in Africa tend to focus on manoeuvre warfare, co-opting rebels or fighting them using armed proxies. As a consequence, international counterterrorism operations against fanatical and reckless groups like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram in sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by a strong dependence on Western forces providing UAV-based reconnaissance and, in some cases for the United States, military strikes by drones. This essay reviews some of the incentives and problems of the use of UAVs in the African context. Given the geographical and military conditions of asymmetric warfare in Africa, and potential problems concerning international law, ethical aspects of the use of arms, and civil-military relations notwithstanding, it is argued that African security forces should develop their own UAV capabilities by intensifying their cooperation with Western armed forces. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]