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September 2, 2016 3:55 pm

Former Top Israeli Security Official Says Obama Administration’s Push to Set International Drone Strike Guidelines Threatens Global Anti-Terrorism Efforts

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A Heron 1 UAV built by Israel Aerospace Industries. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Heron 1 UAV built by Israel Aerospace Industries. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A new Obama administration initiative to establish international guidelines for drone strikes poses a danger to global anti-terrorism efforts, a former top Israeli security official told Defense News on Thursday.

“If the modern Western world wants to continue to fight terrorism in the future, this capability is essential,” Major General Yaakov Amidror, who served as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser from 2011 to 2013, was quoted as saying by Defense News. “From a professional point of view, it’s important to understand there is no substitute for this capability.”

According to Defense News, Israeli officials and experts view the US plan as “diplomatically dubious, practically unenforceable and potentially crippling to a critical sector of Israel’s defense industrial base.”

Amidror added that there would be “minimal” benefits to setting a common set of drone strike guidelines without the involvement of China, Iran and Russia.

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The goal of the US initiative, being led by the State Department, is to “bring nations that export armed unmanned systems under the same guidelines that US firms have operated under since February 2015,” the Defense News report said.

The report cited Israeli experts as warning that, without Iranian participation in the guidelines, terrorist groups like Hezbollah would continue receiving drone strike systems.

Also, the experts said, Israeli and Western manufacturers of such systems would face a competitive disadvantage if China and Russia did not adhere to the guidelines.

“There’s no vacuum in the field of military exports in general and of armed drones in particular,” Tal Inbar, head of UAV and Space Programs at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Studies, was quoted as saying. “The limitations the US has imposed on itself are what led to the rise of Chinese strike UAVs in the world.”

Furthermore, Inbar noted, “This seems to be a futile effort given the fact that the horses have already left the stable. Today, almost every country that produces its own UAVs has tried to add some kind of offensive weaponry, either based on real need or for prestige.”

He continued: “And let’s not forget that the US is the number one country that produces and uses these types of drones… I wonder why the Obama administration is pushing this now, since the number of unmanned attacks during his two terms went sky high.”

One unnamed Israeli defense industry executive told Defense News he believed the Israeli government would likely not “overtly refuse” to take part in the US initiative, but expressed hope that it would “drag its feet” until a new president takes office in January.

“[W]e should try to let the clock run out,” the executive was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Friday that, after years of delay due to Israeli opposition, the Obama administration is set to approve the sale of $7 billion worth of Boeing fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait.

According to the report, Israel has tried to block the sale due to its concern that the jets might be used against the Jewish state in the future.

The report said the administration could start notifying congressional lawmakers of the sale “as early as next week.”

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  • leave it to antisemitic racist Obama to stick it to Israel again

  • NCS

    another reason to vote for Trump

  • nat cheiman

    Let Obama set American guidelines just as Germany set guidelines for migrants entering Europe. Israel will have their own standards set by the IDF and common sense

  • sgp

    What a surprise!! This administration from day one has been seeking ways to weaken our friends and strengthen our adversaries. He seems to have a particular adversarial animosity bend toward the Israel. Hang in and run the clock and God willing you will receive better treatment after a new administration comes to power. However I can not help wonder why so many US Jewish voters continue to vote in their least best interest. Do they really think HRC would be any better?.

  • shloime

    it’s hard to miss the irony in the american proposal, since barack obama has authorized ten times as many drone strikes as his predecessor, george bush. and now, less than 6 months from the end of his term, he has had a sudden revelation, and wants to restrain both his successor in the white house, and israel, from doing as he has done.

    i wonder how he justifies this rather remarkable bit of hypocrisy?

  • Jonah

    What Israel and its people need to understand is that every edge Israel Tor survival…Obama is whittling away at them. Now I want you to get this. Obama could win every war he starts and conquer the world but if he does not destroy Israel and salt the ground he has lost the battle with God. Every move he makes includes those actions for the future destruction of Israel. Right now Russia is taking the bullet for Israel if Obama had not made them a target all the weapons they are massing for war with Russia would be used to fight Israel. Their is a reason God hard wired Russia and China to be a thorn in Obamas side….to protect Israel from the full blunt of his attacks.

  • stevenl

    Quick learning is needed for IL. Do not share all your new tech with anyone.

  • art

    You must give Obama credit. He is very thorough in his efforts to destabilize and undermine the wesy. He and Hillary pushed, from behind, the Arab spring which has led to chaos, and thousands of deaths in the mideast, has insulted and harmed US allies, has invited Russia into the mideast and has strengthened Iran ( and lied to US citizens).