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UAE gets American drones as China ramps up sales

Al Jazeera

The White House's recent decision to allow the sale of advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates highlights the deliberate shift in US policy towards the UAE after it signed "normalisation" accords with Israel. Why would the UAE want American drones as it already has dozens of Chinese armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its inventory? And why has the United States now agreed to these sales, overcoming its traditional reticence to sell sophisticated weapons to other countries? Chinese armed drones have made a significant effect on the battlefields across the Middle East and North Africa. They have been used to assassinate Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen, kill ISIL-affiliated fighters in the Sinai, and for a time help Khalifa Haftar dominate the battlespace in Libya.


US military says Russian air defenses shot down unarmed drone near Libyan capital: report

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 7 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com The U.S. military believes the unarmed drone that went missing over the Libyan capital last month was actually shot down by Russian air defenses. The U.S. Africa Command is demanding the return of the aircraft's wreckage, which had been part of an operation conducted in Libya to assess the area's security and monitor for violent extremist activity. The command didn't give a reason for the drone loss after the Nov. 21 incident, but they had been investigating, Reuters reported.


US military drone disappears over Libyan capital, officials say

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 23 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com The U.S. military announced Friday it lost an unarmed drone over Tripoli, the Libyan capital -- the site of a months-long battle between the Libyan National Army and militias allied with the United Nations-supported government. The U.S. Africa Command said the remotely piloted aircraft was part of an operation conducted in Libya to assess the area's security and monitor for violent extremist activity. They didn't give a reason for the drone loss on Thursday, but the command will be investigating.


Google's artificial intelligence ethics won't curb war by algorithm

#artificialintelligence

On March 29, 2018, a Toyota Land Cruiser carrying five members of the Al Manthari family was travelling through the Yemeni province of Al Bayda, inland from the Gulf of Aden. The family were heading to the city of al-Sawma'ah to pick up a local elder to witness the sale of a plot of land. At two in the afternoon, a rocket from a US Predator drone hit the vehicle, killing three of its passengers. One of the four men killed, Mohamed Saleh al Manthari, had three children aged between one and six. His father, Saleh al Manthari, says Mohamed was the family's only breadwinner.


American Drone Strike in Libya Kills Top Qaeda Recruiter

NYT > Middle East

An American military drone strike over the weekend in southern Libya killed a top recruiter and logistics specialist for Al Qaeda's branch in northwest Africa, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, and a senior military official warned of more attacks on extremists there. The military's Africa Command said in a statement that the attack killed two militants, one of whom was identified as Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking official in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM. Mr. Dawud trained Qaeda recruits in Libya for strike operations in the region, and provided logistics, money and weapons that enabled the group to threaten and attack American and Western interests, the military statement said. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya -- eight since President Trump took office -- almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north. Over several months in 2016, the military conducted nearly 500 airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt to destroy the Islamic State's stronghold there.


U.S. Strikes Qaeda Target in Southern Libya, Expanding Shadow War There

NYT > Middle East

The United States military carried out its first ever drone strike against Qaeda militants in southern Libya this weekend, signaling a possibly significant expansion of the American counterterrorism campaign in the North African nation. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north -- eight since President Trump took office. In 2016, the military conducted nearly 500 airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt over several months to destroy the Islamic State's stronghold there. But the attack on Saturday that the military's Africa Command said had killed two militants -- later identified by a spokeswoman as belonging to Al Qaeda's branch in northwestern Africa -- took place in the country's southwest, a notorious haven for a deadly mix of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. "This appears to be the continuation of expanding AFRICOM activity in Libya's ungoverned areas," said Deborah K.


US launches Libya drone strike as Africa operations appear to ramp up

FOX News

The Libyan National Army has been battling ISIS in the cities of Sirte and Benghazi.


U.S. stealth bombers, drones launch airstrikes against Islamic State in Libya

Los Angeles Times

Stealth bombers and armed drones launched airstrikes Wednesday night against two Islamic State encampments in northern Libya in an expansion of the air war there, according to the Pentagon. The attacks were authorized by President Obama two days before he leaves office and are a reminder of the continuing turmoil in the oil-rich nation where a U.S.-led air war helped insurgents overthrow strongman Moammar Kadafi in 2011. Islamic State militants in Libya have established what officials say is the group's largest and most powerful affiliate outside its core areas in Syria and Iraq, although its area of control has shrunk considerably over the last year. B-2 bombers targeted two desert camps about 30 miles southwest of Surt, a port city on the central Mediterranean coast that U.S.-backed Libyan forces recaptured last year from the militants. U.S. officials said dozens of militants had escaped from Surt to the desert camps.


Obama Administration Reveals US Drone Strikes Killed Up To 116 Civilians

International Business Times

United States President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that up to 116 civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries where America is not at war. Obama's goal for the release of the numbers is reportedly to create greater transparency about the actions of the U.S. military and CIA in counterterrorism measures against militants plotting attacks against the United States. The announcement covered strikes from the day Obama took office in January 2009 through Dec. 31, 2015. The report by National Intelligence Director James Clapper said the U.S. conducted 473 counterterror strikes, including those by unmanned drones, in this period. Even though the report does not mention the countries where the attacks were carried out, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the Defense Department and CIA have pursued targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.


U.S. reveals death tolls from drones and airstrikes

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The United States on Friday lifted the lid on one of the most controversial tactics of President Barack Obama's secretive counterterrorism campaign, detailing for the first time the number killed in airstrikes in countries like Pakistan and Libya. The White House also released an executive order outlining the steps that should be taken to reduce civilian casualties in America's battle against violent extremism. In a much-anticipated report, National Intelligence Director James Clapper provided fatality estimates for the 473 strikes between 2009 and 2015 that were conducted outside America's principal war zones in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He said between 64 and 116 civilians were killed, and up to 2,581 combatants. Such attacks are typically conducted via drones, though manned warplanes and missiles have also been used.