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‘Drones strikes to continue despite EU ban’

Published time: February 28, 2014 10:10
Protesters against drone strikes gather in an attempt to deliver a letter to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan as they gather outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, June 29, 2013. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

EU legislation banning the use of drones won’t diminish the number of drone attacks, it will just be much more selective in terms of where they can be used, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

A number of European parliaments have voted in favor of a proposed EU ban on American drone strikes, which have resulted in massive casualties among the civilian population, and also demanded from the US more transparency. The new legislation is to put more pressure on such states as Germany and Britain who are closely involved into the US drone operations.

RT: The EU's bill banning drone attacks covers strikes outside of war zones, like in Yemen and Pakistan, as well as attacks in combat zones that violate international laws. So what kinds of strikes can still be carried out under these guidelines?

Michael Maloof: The resolution reflects the will of a lot of people around the world on the use of drones because so many innocent people have been killed. While it reflects the sympathetic sentiment, the reality is that drone strikes are still going to continue. I think what it's suggesting at least is that if you are going to use drones and designate it and be legal about it, you go to the UN Security Council and ask for it. And that does not appear to be the case either for the US, or for Germany or the UK, [which] are very eager to sell drones to the US and, in fact, have participated in some of their activities. I think it’s going to raise some problems for the UK and Germany. The US probably will ignore it. But the reality is that people are very upset that this is happening. The area has to be designated as a warzone, as I understand the resolution, but when you consider drones that are now being used from Pakistan to Yemen, perhaps into Somalia and into the Maghreb and North Africa, those areas have not been designated as the warzones because you deal with transnational terrorist activity. So this raises a dilemma and I think the UN is going to have to address this problem in very short order.

RT: So far, the UK and Germany have resisted citing national security as their motive for involvement in US strikes. Facing increased scrutiny following this vote, what reasons might they cite to validate their actions now?

MM: I think the concern they might have from a national standpoint is the potential threat of terrorism into Europe itself coming in from the Maghreb and North Africa. Those countries are becoming increasingly restive over that fact and also Britain has been concerned about Pakistan and the TTP, and also the fact that many Pakistanis are coming out of the UK and fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Consequently this is going to pose some serious national issues for Germany and the UK especially.

RT: The US has been carrying out drone strikes for years. With this new legislation now, how do you think it is going to end up? Will there be more territories called warzones?

MM: I think it’s not going to diminish it. The reality is while it expresses sentiments of concern about killing innocent people and many thousands have been killed, drone strikes are going to continue. The use of drones is really going to be the new 6th-generation type of warfare that the US instigated, initiated, and we are seeing other countries quickly adapting that process. And I don't think it is going to diminish at all, it will require being much more selective in the use of drones and where they can be used and indeed the UN is going to have to deal with this transnational problem of terrorism, which is a subject and rather an object of drone strikes. It’s potentially a serious problem to come.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.