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HomeGeopolitical CompassNile Valley & N.AfricaDrones, Deniability, and Disinformation: Warfare in Libya and the New International Disorder

Drones, Deniability, and Disinformation: Warfare in Libya and the New International Disorder

Author: Wolfram Lacher

Affiliation: Senior Associate, SWP

Organization/Publisher: War on the Rocks

Date/Place: Marsh 3, 2020/ U.S.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2875


Keywords:  Drones, International disorder, warfare in Libya.


While Western nations watch the war in Libya with disinterest, the conflict not only hints to the erosion of the US-led international order, but the author argues, is a pattern of warfare directly contributing to international disorder. By the end of 2019, there had been well over 1,000 drone strikes in Libya, making it “probably the biggest drone war theater in the world,” according to U.N. Special Representative Ghassan Salamé.  The increase in the number of interveners (big and small, local and distant), coupled with arms-length instruments such as drones and mercenaries that enable intervenors to maintain deniability, reveals a seismic shift in international relations. Through the triad-prism of drones, deniability and disinformation, intervening powers are meddling in conflicts where no vital interests are at stake because such military action has minimal risks and costs; intervenors include UAE, Egypt, Turkey, the United States, and Russia. While the drones are a new military instrument for intervenors in Libya, the disinformation campaigns and deniability are old covers to justify intervenors’ actions. Because prior States’ interventions have ushered in a decade of paralysis in the U.N. Security Council, today none of the Western council members care about whether resolutions or sanctions take place in Libya against denying actors.


By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate 



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