ICCT Live Briefing on Report Launch: “A Comparative Study of Non-State Violent Drone Use in the Middle East”

On 15 November, 2022, 16:00 – 17:30, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism hosted a Live Webinar marking the release of a report by Dr. Yannick Veilleux-Lepage (Leiden University) and Dr. Emil Archambault (University of Ottawa) on the use of militarised drones by five terrorist groups (Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Yemeni Houthi Forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party), operating in the Middle East.

In recent years, the proliferation of drones has changed how violent non-state groups operate and has offered them new opportunities both in terms of committing acts of violence and generating propaganda. Commercial off-the-shelf drones have been acknowledged as a potential powerful force-multiplier in asymmetrical conflicts, and the capabilities offered by these affordable and widely available systems have increasingly been adopted by a range of state and non-state armed actors. Other non-state groups have gained access to medium-sized military drones, acquiring quasi state-like capabilities. Since late 2016 a variety of forces on the battlefields of Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have used remote-piloted aircraft as a weapon of choice. This adoption of modified dual-use technology by non-state groups presents, therefore, significant new challenges to military forces engaged in peace and security operations. The reports details, through an analysis of how and why non-state groups acquire, develop, and employ drones for violence, this altered operational environment.

This report and webinar were funded by the Canadian Department of National Defence’s MINDS Targeted Engagement Grant.

Moderator:

Dr. Joana Cook, Editor-in-Chief at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism

Speakers:

Dr. Yannick Veilleux-Lepage, Assistant Professor at Leiden University

Dr. Emil Archambault,  Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa School of Political Studies

The Webinar hosted a live Q&A session with the audience for the last 30 minutes.