Bad Idea: Armed Drones in West Africa

MQ Predator drone on the tarmac
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

It’s unofficial: “The government of Niger has approved the use of armed American drones.” Though this Reuters report is not a statement of American policy, it follows an NBC News report that American policymakers were indeed considering the use of airborne “lethal force” in the western Sahel, a semi-arid strip of land bordering the Sahara Desert. The Department of Defense (DoD)’s expansion of an airfield in central Niger and the Nigerien Minister of Defense’s public comments corroborate the story: the U.S. plans to add remotely piloted airstrikes to its policy approach in West Africa.

It is a bad idea whose time has come. After the Western interventions in Libya and Mali…

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