French and Kurdish forces in northern Iraq were attacked by an exploding drone last Wednesday, according to the Pentagon. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, the current spokesperson for the U.S. coalition in Iraq, admitted the device was “improvised” and said it exploded after it was taken back to a camp near the Iraqi city of Irbil.
Two Kurds lost their lives in the incident, according to a U.S. official. Dorrian referred to the attack as a “Trojan Horse” attack — apparently, the drone looked like a Styrofoam model plane. Two French operatives were also wounded.
The attack confirms a rapidly developing mode of drone warfare, which the U.S. has clearly monopolized. However, due to the wide availability of drones — you can even buy them on Amazon — both sides of the Syrian conflict have been improvising drone technology. A video recently released by an al-Qaeda affiliate purports to show a drone landing on a Syrian military target. Another video shows small explosives dropped by Hezbollah on al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Nusra near Aleppo, as reported by the Military Times.
Although these are small-time improvisations that will generate minimal damage, the fact that rebel groups are attempting to advance this style of weaponry should be cause for concern for the U.S. establishment. In 2011, Iran shot down a U.S. drone so they could take it apart and reassemble it, thereby learning how to develop the technology themselves. Fox News claimed Russia and China both requested information from Iran regarding the drone so they, too, could benefit from the technology. China has been making significant advancements in this area of warfare.
Though George W. Bush employed limited drone warfare during his presidency, the Obama administration rapidly and significantly expanded the program. The utilization of drone technology was instrumental in attacking Libya in 2011, as it provided the opportunity for the U.S. to destabilize a nation without putting “boots on the ground.” However, due to the fact the U.S. has been using predator drones to strike targets in countries they are not officially at war with — killing thousands of civilians in the process — the use of drones has been highly controversial.
Though the U.S. uses drones more extensively than other nations, use of the unmanned aerial weapons cannot remain limited to one nation, and as the attacks on Kurdish and French forces demonstrate, Washington’s drone warfare policies are already beginning to backfire.
Where this technology will lead us is a path that prompted a friend of mine, a Ph.D. student in Peace Studies, to observe that drones are “the worst invention in the world.”
This article (Battle of the Drones: How Drone Warfare Is Beginning to Backfire on the US) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to [email protected].