Open Briefing has produced a series of monthly intelligence briefings on remote warfare since April 2014. Periodically, we undertake a more in-depth assessment of the trends in remote warfare. This current report sets out the findings of the third such assessment. A key theme of this assessment is the adoption of remote warfare by state and non-state actors beyond the United States and its Western allies.
Monthly briefing from the Open Briefing intelligence unit on developments in remote-control warfare. This month: NATO designates cyberspace as an operational domain and includes cyber attacks in Article 5; newly-released official estimates of casualties from US drone strikes step in right direction but too limited; Iraqi special forces play critical role retaking Fallujah from Islamic State; and more.
Overall, the US-led coalition has had some considerable successes in containing and rolling back Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; however, much more should have been achieved given the combined military might and other resources of the 66 members of the global coalition to counter Islamic State. Those gains that have been made have come at the expense of civilian casualties. Furthermore, there are no signs that the terrorist threat to the United Kingdom from Islamic State is reducing despite nearly two years of UK airstrikes and other efforts to target the group.
This briefing provides an update on recent developments in the conflict against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It also includes an overview of UK air, ground and sea forces in the region and an analysis of Ministry of Defence data on airstrikes. It concludes that the deliberate opacity surrounding UK special forces deployments allows the British government to authorise ground operations while at the same time claiming that there are no UK combat troops involved in the conflict, thereby sidestepping public and parliamentary debate.
This briefing provides an update on recent developments in the conflict against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It includes the MoD response to an Open Briefing Freedom of Information request and an overview of UK military actions in the two countries, including ground operations - an often overlooked element of the UK campaign. It also discusses the substantial cache of IS documents recently handed to Sky News.
Monthly briefing from the Open Briefing intelligence unit on developments in remote-control warfare. This month: The dangers of fully-autonomous weapons discussed at World Economic Forum for first time; UK government’s draft surveillance legislation threatened by European Court of Human Rights ruling and parliamentary committee criticism; UAE and Saudi Arabia pledge special forces to confront Islamic State and support Syrian armed opposition; and more.
UK forces continue to be very active in Iraq, but have also increased offensive operations in Syria. However, the majority of UK airstrikes continue to be opportunist rather than intelligence-led, with targets being both identified and attacked by combat air patrols. The first major UK combat injuries have been reported, raising questions over the true nature and extent of UK ground operations against Islamic State.
On 2 December, the UK parliament voted in favour of authorising airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria. The RAF has since targeted well heads within the Omar oil field in Syria and undertaken multiple missions around Raqqa. A key issue in the build-up to the vote was the risk posed to innocent civilians in the areas of Iraq and Syria targeted by the RAF. Claims by the government and Ministry of Defence that there is no evidence of civilian casualties from UK military action against Islamic State do not stand up to scrutiny.