HC 772 Defence CommitteeWritten evidence from Stefan Wolff, Professor of International Security, University of Birmingham


The increasing deployment of so-called drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs], or Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles [RPAVs])1 over the past decade in the context of the US-led global counter-terrorist campaign for the purposes of surveillance, monitoring, intelligence gathering, and military strikes has given rise to a growing debate on the legality, legitimacy, and strategic effectiveness of this approach. However, the latter has received less attention than the other two dimensions, and debate in the UK on the effectiveness question is less informed, especially as it relates to the doctrinal and regulatory implications of the use and proliferation of military drone technology.

This background paper offers a summary of the current debate on remote warfare. In so doing it draws on a range of different sources, including publically available government documents, analysis provided by think tanks, academic publications, and information gathered in the course of a number of interviews and focus groups conducted in London, Washington and Brussels.2 The paper focuses on the policy aspects of the drones debate, not on its legal dimension and elaborates on four specific dimensions:

(1)the objectives for which drones are used in the context of counter-terrorism;

(2)the positive and negative effects of the use of drones beyond counter-terrorism;

(3)the effectiveness of the drones campaign to date from a counter-terrorist perspective; and

(4)the effectiveness of the drones campaign from a broader national and international security perspective

In concluding, the paper outlines some key considerations for shaping future UK drones policy.

The Current Debate on Remote Warfare3

The objectives of drone warfare

1. The primary objectives of drones in pursuit of counter-terrorist objectives are intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), the disruption of terrorist networks (including denial of safe havens and training grounds, and the elimination of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives. In other words, the use of drones for targeted killing is but one of a range of purposes for which they can be employed, and drones are only one tool employed for targeted killings. In the cases of Afghanistan,4 Pakistan,5 and Yemen,6 the public debate on their use is particularly linked to the elimination of terrorist operatives considered actual and potential threats to US and other Western security interests. Less, if any, attention is focussed on the deployment of drones for ISR purposes.7

2. The specific capabilities that drones have—greater speed of deployability against ISR or strike targets, enhanced precision of targeting, spatially and temporally extended reach into otherwise inaccessible areas, and limiting danger to pilots—make their use often preferable compared to the deployment of troops or special forces on the ground. These secondary objectives of drone use, based on their relative advantage over other means, however, do not come without specific drawbacks.

3. To begin with, in the context of targeted killings, drone strikes are less flexible in outcome than special operations (where soldiers on the ground can decide whether to kill or to capture), they thus result in a loss of intelligence that could have been gathered from a captured terrorist operative or that could have been gained from continuing to monitor the movements of an alive terrorist operative.

4. Using drones, rather than troops or Special Forces on the ground, is also meant to achieve a greater degree of precision in strikes in order to limit “collateral damage” and civilian casualties in pursuit of the same counter-terrorist objectives.8 While there is clear evidence that the deployment of drones has become significantly more “precise”,9 legitimating their use on these grounds runs the danger of creating unrealistic, self-defeating expectations that can easily backfire when civilians are injured or die in drone strikes.

5. Moreover, even if drones were to avoid any civilian casualties and minimise material destruction, their deployment still involves a violation of sovereignty if it occurs without the consent of the government of the state over whose territory they are operated. Yet, the purpose of using drones, rather than troops or Special Forces on the ground, would be to minimise such violations of sovereignty.

The positive and negative effects of drones beyond counter-terrorism

6. Following on from the discussion of the rationales behind the use of drones for counter-terrorist objectives, among the positive effects are improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aiding in the discovery and prevention of terrorist plots, the elimination of high-value targets (or their capture by Special Forces Operations based on drone ISR), and the denial of safe areas and training facilities for terrorist leaders and operatives.

7. On the negative side, the most frequently cited unintended effect that can occur instead of, or alongside, possible benefits of using drones in counter-terrorist campaigns, is the enlargement of the pool of potential recruits to terrorist groups as a result of broader resentment among the public.10

8. This latter point is also highly relevant in terms of possible negative effects from the use of drones from the perspective of counter-insurgency, because drones have been, and are, deployed in contexts of a simultaneous insurgency in all countries in which they are currently being used for counter-terrorist purposes. In Afghanistan, the United States has been active in a counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban as a direct party to this conflict, whereas in Pakistan and Yemen (as well as in Somalia and across the Sahel zone11), the US is not officially a party to conflicts between the respective governments and various insurgent forces. In other words, the application of drone strikes does not merely have effects in relation to a counter-terrorism strategy, but it also affects counter-insurgency campaigns, whether pursued directly by the US or by states’ governments, or by a combination of both.

9. Negative effects for counter-insurgency result primarily from the loss of civilian lives as both insurgent (and terrorist) narratives are essentially validated. The likely result of this is a strengthening of support for the insurgent movements and increased hostilities inflicting higher costs on the United States, where it is directly involved in counter-insurgency campaigns, local governments, as well as civilian populations that are not only exposed to greater threats to their physical lives but also overwhelmingly bear the social, economic and political costs of insurgent wars.

10. In this respect, it is also important to be mindful of the danger that insurgent movements and terrorist organizations (or their local branches or affiliates) increasingly perceive a “common enemy” and join forces: insurgents provide safe havens and local knowledge to terrorists, terrorists provide increased expertise, reach and possibly funds to local insurgencies. Such links are further likely to be mutually reinforcing where insurgents and terrorists can benefit from links with organized crime, profiteering from drugs, weapons and illegal migrants. All these different dynamics clearly play out, albeit to different degrees, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

11. That said, there are possible positive effects of the use of drones in counter-insurgency situations as well. Drones deployed for ISR for counter-terrorist purposes can assist in increasing the effectiveness of counter-insurgency campaigns, for example, by enabling the disruption of insurgent movements and supply lines. Targeted strikes against terrorist groups can have a deterrent effect, at least in the sense that terrorist-insurgent alliances become less likely, partly because terrorists are seen as bringing drones with them and increasing risks to insurgents by making them accidental or deliberate targets of drone deployment for both ISR and targeted/signature strikes. Thus, an effective counter-terrorist campaign can deny insurgents access to resources, safe havens and expertise and thus increase the likelihood of political settlement as it potentially limits their ability to mount a victorious military campaign against the government.

12. The use of drones thus can affect intra-state conflicts towards escalation or de-escalation (as well as maintain a status quo). However, drone use also has an effect on the relations between states, eg, between the US and the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen. As these governments come under increasing pressure domestically because of the impact of drone strikes, they are likely to become more hostile, at least rhetorically, vis-à-vis the US, thus potentially further validating terrorist and insurgent narratives. If hostility extends beyond mere rhetoric, the US may well face losing their cooperation or at least seeing it reduced or suspended. Potentially, similar blow-back could be experienced in countries, and from populations, where the US stations drones. This would reduce the ease with which they can currently be deployed or require sea-based alternatives to current land-based stationing.12

13. In order to assess the broad policy implications of drone strikes, we thus need to consider their combined effects in terms of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency as it is these combined effects that produce a net-effect (increase, decrease, or status quo) for national and international security through the impact that they have on intra-state and inter-state conflicts (see Figure 1). However, without careful and systematic analysis, of which there is relatively little available to date, partly because of the limited availability of suitable open-source data, we can merely observe a net-impact of a range of factors on national and international security; with drones being one among these factors. In this sense, Figure 1 is a simplification for illustrative purposes, not a statement of a definitive causal chain.

The effectiveness of the drones campaign to date: the counter-terrorist context

14. Targeted killings of leaders of non-state terrorist groups have a long and mixed history of success. They are meant to reduce capabilities, demoralize rank and file members, and deter new recruits.13 While drones are not the only way to conduct a campaign of targeted killings, they have arguably been effective in eliminating a number of high-value terrorist operatives (as well as mid-level cadres and foot soldiers) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen—that is, they have been instrumental in achieving key objectives in a counter-terrorism strategy (Schmitt 2010).

15. Because of their superior ISR capabilities, deploying drones for targeted and/or signature strikes14 has also limited training capacities, especially in Pakistan, for foreign fighters by reducing the number of trainers available and limiting access to and mobility in training camps. Limited access to training has had a negative effect on the international reach of al-Qaeda and its affiliates: it has reduced the effectiveness of jihadist fighters in a technical sense (eg, bomb-making expertise) and in an operational sense (eg, their ability to operate covertly in the societies they target).

16. In Yemen, with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) being the dominant group, the killing of top-level leaders has reduced the number of foreigners going to the country for training. Pakistan, in contrast, because of the larger number of jihadist groups has not seen a similar drop in foreign recruits.

17. However, this relative success has come at a price. Public opinion surveys and local and international media coverage, as well as academic research and reports by advocacy organizations indicate that blowback has been significant.15 Anti-Americanism is on the rise (Zaidi 2009), often explicitly linked to the use of drones, insurgent violence continues unabated in Afghanistan16 (targeting the US and ISAF presence as well as Afghan security forces) and Pakistan (putting increasing pressure on an already weak government), and both the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased their public stance against the US and especially its drones policy. In Pakistan, in particular, this has apparently necessitated a change in US policy away from so-called signature strikes (Brown 2013, Gannon and Abbot 2013, Markey 2013).17

18. The available evidence, thus, suggests that the use of drones has eliminated individuals but not destroyed the networks in which they operate, nor has it created a significant more hostile local environment for terrorist operatives and leaders. Networks, such as the Haqqani network in Pakistan, have not only survived to date but have arguably also been strengthened with new and more committed recruits. The Haqqani network has also turned more decisively against the government of Pakistan, thus weakening an important US/Western ally in the region, and it continues to undermine counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency efforts in both the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan and areas with high Taliban presence in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

19. Pakistan is significantly more important a theatre for Western counter-terrorist operations than Afghanistan because of the training camps and operational/planning bases that the tribal areas offer to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The underlying dynamic here also includes significant, but recently decreasing, levels of cooperation by the Pakistani government with US drone deployment.18 In response to requests by the Pakistani government to eliminate high-value targets in their own counter-insurgency campaign, there has been a trend over time towards widening the potential targets of drone strikes beyond al-Qaeda. While this has contributed to ensuring at least tacit consent, if not active cooperation, from the Pakistani government (International Crisis Group 2013), it has also been counter-productive from a Western counter-terrorist perspective by reinforcing a common-enemy narrative among al-Qaeda and local insurgents (and the tribes with which they are affiliated). This is particularly problematic as tribes in Pakistan are very much in control of the areas in and from which al-Qaeda operates, with the latter having a “guest status”. The more tribes are in a position in which they feel they need to support and protect their guests, the more difficult it is to achieve counter-terrorist objectives. While the relatively small and compact tribal territories in Pakistan continue to support a feasibility case for drone use, terrorist operatives have, with the assistance of tribal allies, been able to adapt their behaviour.

20. The picture is more mixed in Yemen. Here, drone strikes against Ansar al-Shari’a, the military wing of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have effectively supported a campaign by Yemeni security forces in coalition with local tribal militias and routed AQAP from significant areas in the south that it had taken over in the course of 2011 and early 2012, forcing the terrorist group to retreat to remaining safe areas in the eastern mountains of Yemen, and denying it control of territory deemed essential for recruitment and as a launch pad for operations in Yemen and overseas. The combined effect of drone strikes and the campaign by local tribal and security forces has had a severely debilitating effect on AQAP and resulted in the group limiting its external operations (traditionally aimed at aviation targets) and focusing on more traditional guerilla tactics of only local reach. The relative effectiveness of the counter-terrorist campaign has also, at least temporarily, led to a reduction in the level of collusion between elements in the Yemeni regime and AQAP and tribal acquiescence to its presence and operations. While there can be no question that there has been some blowback in terms of public opinion,19 there is no clear evidence that the drones campaign in Yemen has either strengthened the southern insurgency (which is motivated by secessionist demands), nor that it has increased the pool of potential recruits for AQAP domestically or internationally.

21. Similar to the situation in Pakistan, however, it is clear that AQAP’s will and capability to remain al-Qaeda’s most potent and dangerous affiliate has not been diminished by the drones campaign. Yet, as noted above, the group’s aspirations, for the time being at least, remain locally focused and confined.20 In other words, improved intelligence and continuing US-Yemen cooperation on counter-terrorism (Ghobari 2013), alongside the deployment of drones for both ISR and targeted killings (Reuters 2013), have effectively contained, but note eliminated, the threat posed by AQAP.

22. However, there is potentially a longer-term problem in Yemen in the sense that historically links between AQAP and local tribes are stronger than in Pakistan. While some tribes in the south did turn against AQAP in the course of 2012, others have retained close links with tribal leaders simultaneously serving as senior AQAP leaders. As such individuals get targeted in the course of the drones campaign, the potential for radicalizing entire tribes and turning them into AQAP foot soldiers and future leaders also increases. Moreover, those tribes that did turn against AQAP may also have done so more for opportunistic reasons than out of a strategic choice against terrorism and the ideology that AQAP stands for.

23. Increased support (limited or otherwise) for al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, however, has to be seen within a broader context. Such support is normally due to a whole range of factors, including widespread social, political, economic and other grievances that individuals harbour; and while drone use may be a contributing factor, it is unrealistic to draw direct and singular causal inferences from the correlation of drone use and increased al-Qaeda support. In turn, any successes can equally not solely be attributed to the use of drones either.

Beyond counter-terrorism: has drone warfare so far been an overall effective tool to increase national and international security?

24. It is difficult to draw clear conclusions, from the limited and anecdotal evidence available in the public domain, about the overall effectiveness of drone warfare for national and international security. This is so for two reasons. On the one hand, the evidence from the three cases—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen—that have seen well over 90% of recorded drone strikes, is decidedly mixed in terms of effects from both a counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency perspective. Terrorist groups in neither country have been able to mount any significant international operations since drones have been deployed there as essential components of US strategy. In this sense, at the very least there has been no short-term net-decrease in US (or other Western) national security as a result of deploying drones. Yet, security within these countries and the wider regions in which they lie, has not improved, and arguably worsened. Insurgent violence continues, government security forces struggle to cope, state institutions remain weak, corruption and transnational organized crime remain rampant posing threats beyond the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

25. On the other hand, and as noted earlier, it is difficult to establish clear causal links between these developments and the use of drones. Drone warfare by the US government (and, albeit to a more limited extent and confined to Afghanistan so far, by the UK) clearly is but one factor in a more complex picture of cause and effect. Drone operations capture international news headlines, but they are far fewer in number than special operations missions. While the latter also result in far fewer civilians being killed, they do have similar effects in terms of popular blowback against the United States, being seen as violations of sovereignty, culturally offensive, and creating a feeling of permanent insecurity and uncertainty—much like drones do. At the same time, in their ability to capture, rather than kill, high-value targets, they also play a role in achieving some of the positive effects in counter-terrorist campaigns.

26. In the context of counter-insurgency campaigns, it is worth remembering that the insurgencies now being countered, and effected by a parallel, but related, counter-terrorist campaign, have much longer and deeper roots and have not been caused by either US counter-terrorism in general or drone warfare in particular. However, it is also important not to deny that there have been a number of unintended and undesirable consequences of drone warfare from a counter-insurgency perspective, including the strengthening of insurgencies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the increasingly difficult relations between the United States and the governments of both countries, and the rising sense of anti-Americanism among local populations.21 While the latter is also exploited by political players across the entire spectrum for their own more limited power games, the use of drones for targeted killing (and to a lesser extent ISR), and the loss of civilian life and physical destruction that it brings with it, have strengthened narratives that make desirable domestic political solutions in Afghanistan and Pakistan at least more difficult (Mariet D’Souza 2009, Zaidi 2010a, b).

27. Seen purely from a national security perspective, the available evidence to date, bearing in mind the above caveats, does suggest that drone warfare can be an effective tool in combination with others in the wider arsenal of counter-terrorism if used selectively, judiciously, and as a means of last resort, including in the prevention of acts of terrorism. This is important from a national security perspective, and it is important to realize that, at the same time and in the short term, the US government (and other allies’) national security does not equally depend on successful counter-insurgency. There is an argument that the failure of counter-insurgency will eventually render current counter-terrorist successes worthless as it will enable a re-grouping and resurgence of terrorist groups and their capabilities to strike at US and Western domestic and overseas interests in the long-term, because it does not destroy their networks. However, there is at this stage limited evidence to suggest an effective counter-terrorist campaign, including target hardening at home and abroad, could not continue to contain such resurgent terrorist threats even in the longer term.

28. In other words, when keeping the objectives of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency distinct and separate, and prioritizing counter-terrorism over counter-insurgency, drone warfare, as one element of counter-terrorism, can contribute to achieving the desired positive net-effect for national security at considerably lower cost and loss of live among US armed forces than alternative approaches, such as the large-scale use of expeditionary ground forces which, even if deployed for purely counter-terrorist purposes, would be much more likely to be drawn into local insurgencies, to attract foreign terrorist operatives keen to target US assets otherwise beyond their reach, and to suffer significant casualties.

29. Two significant caveats need to be borne in mind in this context. First, the permanent elimination of terrorist threats, to the extent that this will ever be possible, will depend on sustainable political settlements in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and thus, from today’s perspective, at least in part on a successful counter-insurgency campaign. This, however, will be a very costly, long-term effort in which the US and its Western allies can play a supporting role, but in which local governments need to be the key players. Such a strategy would not preclude the continuation of at least selective use of counter-terrorist tools, including the use of drones in kinetic and ISR operations.

30. Second, the US (and UK) drone campaign to date has faced significant criticism and a degree of adaptation by targets, but has not yet encountered any systematic defensive or offensive counter measures. In other words, it has been conducted in an environment largely free from adversaries with counter-drone capabilities.22 It is unlikely that this situation will prevail forever; and while drone technology will also become more and more advanced and capable, the arguable relative success that drone warfare has had to date needs to be assessed in this context of virtually unchallenged operations. This, too, calls for a broader approach in which drones are not the sole tool of counter-terrorist strategy and in which their deployment is not critical to its overall success.

Conclusion: Looking Ahead to Future UK Drones Policy

31. Drones have clearly become, and will remain, a fixture in a number of traditional and non-traditional combat theatres, including an expansion of drones for ISR use into the Sahel and Maghreb, as well as possibly Syria—areas which currently attract a large number of foreign jihadist fighters. This may be a temporary phenomenon due to the on-going instability in these areas, but it could also be sign of things to come with the continuing penetration by al-Qaeda of spaces with limited, if any, permanent state control, social unrest and economic deprivation. Moreover, Syria as a future theatre of drone operations would most likely then also draw in Israel and Hezbollah, possibly also Turkey, as major players deploying drones and risking a further serious escalation and linking of on-going conflicts in the region.

32. In these and other areas, the determination of which will depend on an assessment of where major al-Qaeda threats exist, the predominant initial use is likely to be ISR, with relatively high thresholds for initial targeted strikes. Yet, as in Pakistan and Yemen, the number of “legitimate” targets will increase over time as will the number of drone strikes.

33. While the present focus is primarily on the use of aerial drones and their deployment by the United States (and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom and Israel) in ISR and strike operations in counter-terrorist campaigns, their potential extends far beyond these current purposes and users. While the US has established a clear quantitative and qualitative advantage, in line with its broader conventional and other military dominance, it is likely that other countries, including potential adversaries, will invest greater resources in developing or otherwise acquiring their own drones and counter-drones capabilities. It may be too early to speak of an impending drones arms race, but proliferation of drones technology and capability is already evident, including to non-state actors. Similarly, it will be important to monitor the development of counter-drone capabilities by potential state and non-state adversaries, which in turn will have an impact on capability enhancement of current drone technology, including into the area of fully autonomous systems.

34. This may mean that future diplomatic efforts may be required to negotiate an international regulatory regime for the development, acquisition, and use of drone technology. Until such time that this is deemed feasible and desirable, however, it is important that existing national and international legal frameworks be observed and that their application to the use of drones is transparent. This must include greater public clarity about the distinction between counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency objectives, their relationship to national and international security interests, and the rationale behind prioritizing one over the other (or not).

September 2013


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Figure 1


1 The term predominantly used in the media, in academic accounts, and in some of the policy literature is drones. I will also use this term, without implying any pejorative meaning.

2 Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, these discussions took place on the condition of anonymity and insights gleaned from them are not specifically referenced below.

3 Good overviews of the debate are, among others, Bachmann (2013), Boyle (2012), Boyle (2013), Dworkin (2013), and Galliott (2012). See also, Aaronson and Johnson (2013).

4 See for example, Geiß and Siegrist (2011), Gilli and Gilli (2013), Miller (2011), O’Hanlon and Riedel (2010), Wilner (2010), and Zenko (2013).

5 See for example, Zaidi (2009), Ahmad (2010), Aslam (2012), Bachmann (2013), Davies (2009), Plaw (2013), and (Williams (2010), 2013)). More generally on the complexity of the situation in Pakistan, see Ahmad (2010) and Synnott (2009).

6 See for example, Hudson, Owens, and Callen (2012), Hull (2011), Lin (2010), Sohlman (2011), and Zenko (2012). More generally on terrorist threats in Yemen, see Phillips (2011).

7 Almost 10 years ago, Cogan (2004) argued that intelligence officials in the 21st century would be hunters, rather than gatherers. While linking this primarily to the increased use of special forces operations, the analogy applies just as much, and arguably even more so, to the advanced ISR capabilities that contemporary drones possess.

8 For these and other arguments favouring the use of drones in conflict theatres like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, and primarily for counter-terrorist objectives, see, among others, Byman (2013), Panetta (2009), Schmitt (2010), Williams (2013), and Wilner (2010). For a moral justification of employing drones, see Strawser (2010).

9 In relation to Pakistan, for example, precision, as measured in the number of civilians killed, has increased significantly. According to data by the available from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (2013), the number of estimated civilian casualties has decreased in absolute numbers since 2009, as well as relative compared to the number of terrorist suspects killed: from a high of 100 civilians killed by drone strikes in 2009, down to 84 (2010), 52 (2011), 4 (2012) and in the first seven months of 2013.

10 This so-called “blowback” has been widely cited as major drawback in terms of the long-term effectiveness of drone warfare. Cf. Boyle (2013), Cronin (2013), Gilli and Gilli (2013), Hudson, Owens, and Flannes (2011), Hudson, Owens, and Callen (2012), and Satia (2009).

11 On the extension of the drone campaign to the Sahel zone, see Schmitt (2013).

12 Independent of any potential need for sea-based drones bases, there is potentially also a separate incentive to develop sea-based alternatives in that carriers could be smaller and cheaper to procure and operate, thus increasing their number overall and with it UK opportunities to project power and influence (Shields and Spencer 2011).

13 For a recent overview of targeted killings as a form of warfare, see Bachmann (2013) and, slightly more dated, Patterson and Casale (2005). See also Dworkin (2013) and Kretzmer (2005). Note also that drone strikes can be a useful tool within a broader arsenal of deterrence against terrorist networks as argued by Kroenig and Pavel (2012). David (2003) examines arguments in favour of Israel’s policy of targeted killing.

14 Targeted (or personality) strikes are those that are meant to eliminate so-called high-value targets, whereas signature strikes are those that are carried out on the basis of observable patterns of activity likely linked to terrorist behavior. In both cases, targeting poses significant legal challenges, including the need to comply with principles of distinction, discrimination, and proportionality (Boothby 2012). On targeting more broadly, see Callahan et al (2012), Gray (2013), and Hardy and Lushenko (2012). Specifically on targeting in so-called signature strikes, see Heller (2013).

15 See, for example, Gilli and Gilli (2013) and Hudson, Owens, and Flannes (2011).

16 Farrell and Giustozzi (2013) examine the resilience of the Taliban in Afghanistan despite the heavy attrition they have suffered during almost a decade of Western-led counter-insurgency efforts.

17 It has to be borne in mind that US-Pakistani relations had steadily deteriorated prior to the upsurge in drone warfare in Pakistan in 2008; in other words, drones have added to a cumulative series of factors that have contributed to worsening of bilateral relations since the late 1990s. On US-Pakistan relations, see also Fick (2009), Farshori (2013), and Markey (2013).

18 See, for example, a July 2013 report in The Express Tribune (2013), International Crisis Group (2013), and Landay (2013).

19 This has been particularly the case in the context of the rapid intensification of the number and lethality of drone strikes in July and August 2013. See Eldemellawy (2013).

20 The latest AQAP-related terror plot was entirely focused on targets within Yemen, including Western embassies (BBC News 2013) and parts of the country’s critical oil infrastructure (Mukhashaf 2013).

21 The compatibility of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular has been covered widely in existing literature, the consensus broadly being that current counter-terrorist efforts negatively impact upon counter-insurgency efforts. See, for example, Aslam (2012) and (Boyle (2013), 2010)). For a contrasting view, see Exum et al (2009).

22 There have been very few reported and confirmed incidents of drones being attacked or shot down, but Iran has reportedly captured US drones (The Guardian 2013, BBC News 2011) and attacked one with fighter jets (BBC News 2012).

Prepared 24th March 2014