Baghdad seen from space the year before it was invaded by the United States.
Those words above belong to Iraq’s acting minister of the interior, Adnan al-Asadi, who is quoted by The New York Times among other Iraqi officials reacting negatively to the State Department’s unmanned (and unauthorized) surveillance drones flying over Baghdad.
These are not the same type of drones used to bomb Afghan villages, explains the State Department via the Times. They are unarmed and much smaller and their purpose is to identify potential risks to U.S. personnel, like angry mobs of Iraqis. To that end they might be tasked to fly over parliament, where Iraqi leaders are fuming that they weren’t asked for permission to use their sovereign airspace. —PZS
The New York Times:
The United States, which will soon begin taking bids to manage drone operations in Iraq over the next five years, needs formal approval from the Iraqi government to use such aircraft here, Iraqi officials said. Such approval may be untenable given the political tensions between the two countries. Now that the troops are gone, Iraqi politicians often denounce the United States in an effort to rally support from their followers.
A senior American official said that negotiations were under way to obtain authorization for the current drone operations, but Ali al-Mosawi, a top adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki; Iraq’s national security adviser, Falih al-Fayadh; and the acting minister of interior, Adnan al-Asadi, all said in interviews that they had not been consulted by the Americans.
Mr. Asadi said that he opposed the drone program: “Our sky is our sky, not the U.S.A.’s sky.”