24 July 2017   Leave a comment

Over the last ten years, the US has increasingly relied upon drones to pursue and kill individuals it believes are involved in terrorist activities.  President Obama significantly increased US reliance on these new weapons because they offered the possibility of degrading the ability of terrorist and rebel groups to carry out their activities with limited exposure to danger for American soldiers.  There have been claims that these strikes have been effective, but we actually know very little about hoe the drones are used and how effective and ineffective they have been.  Jacqueline L. Hazelton has written an essay on how to think about the use of drones and the dangers they pose to an effective foreign policy.  Her conclusion is that drones are of limited value:

“….the role of drone strikes in assuring U.S. security at home and abroad is quite limited and likely to become more so as counter-drone efforts and others’ acquisition of drones reduce U.S. air supremacy, as seen with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and as the United States again faces state rather than non-state adversaries.”

It is, unfortunately, too late to put this genie back into the bottle.

Amnesty International has released a report on sexual violence on a “massive scale” in South Sudan.  The violence is being committed by both sides in a civil conflict pitting President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, against the opposition leader, Riek Machar who is from the Nuer ethnic group.  The conflict has been going on  years and shows no sign of abating.  South Sudan is desperately poor and relies heavily on funds from nongovernmental organizations and wealthy nation-states.  That aid could be used as a lever to force the combatants to halt the sexual violence, but the price of withholding that aid would be a worsening of an already horrific situation.  Humanitarian interventions are never as clear-cut as they appear.

Israel is removing the security detectors around the al Aqsa Mosque in hopes of defusing the tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.  The decision was made after a telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II.  The metal detectors were viewed by many Muslims as an assertion of Israeli sovereignty at the site.  Israel will try to employ security measures that do not suggest ownership of the site.


Posted July 24, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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