The era of American drone supremacy is fading — but the threat of drone multipolarity is real — and potentially endless

So writes Edward Luce in the FT. He points out that there is no treaty governing the use of military drones as for the use of nuclear weapons.

We summarise with added links to Rand Corporation and Stimson Centre.

For almost ten years the Central Intelligence Agency has been able to strike targets with impunity. At the moment, Barack Obama orders drone assassinations without having to admit it, or explain himself to anyone. Hundreds of militants have been killed in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. But hundreds more civilians, perhaps thousands, have also been accidentally killed.

However, though America has only deemed the UK fit to buy their UAVs, others, including Iran, whose drones patrol the same Iraqi skies as their US counterparts, have reverse engineered the unmanned aerial vehicle with relative ease.

China is exporting drones. Last month Saudi Arabia became its first big customer. Within five years, many countries, some of them highly unsavoury, will possess military drones, according to the Rand Corporation.

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