Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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You Might Have Missed: Iran, Red Lines, Drones, and Dieting

by Micah Zenko
September 28, 2012

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line as he addresses the sixty-seventh UN General Assembly in New York (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters). Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line as he addresses the sixty-seventh UN General Assembly in New York (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters).


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I believe that, faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.” (September 27, 2012)

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, “I think that this whole matter of red lines should be made, but not publicly.” (September 27, 2012)

Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, “I don’t want to set red lines or deadlines for myself.” (September 14, 2012)

Rockets Galore,” The Economist, September 29, 2012.

(3PA: A Hellfire drone missile costs $115,000 and weighs 50 kilograms. The new Spike missile costs $5,000 and weighs less than 3 kilograms.)

Peter W. Singer, “After-Action Report; It’d Be Stupid But Not Disastrous,” TIME, September 28, 2012.

(3PA: This five-part series on the effects of defense sequestration is a solid and balanced analysis.)

Department of Defense, Press Briefing with George Little, September 25, 2012.

Q:  You said the secretary sees the mission moving forward in Afghanistan.  Just kind of been a tumultuous couple weeks here.  What are the metrics of success that you guys are most impressed with?  What are the things that tell you that that’s the case?

LITTLE:  Well, partnered operations continue.  Overall levels of violence are down.  We see Afghans more and more in the lead for their own operations and for their own governance.  That is the goal here.  That is what we’re trending toward.  At the end of the day, that’s how success is going to be defined.  It’s whether Afghans can provide for their own security and govern themselves.

If anyone thinks that the metric of success is a surrender ceremony on the deck of a ship, they’re wrong.  The metric of success in Afghanistan is enabling the Afghans, Afghan political institutions, and the Afghan national security forces, to create a brighter future for Afghanistan.  That is the point and that is the goal of our strategy.

(3PA: How would the Pentagon define “a brighter future for Afghanistan,” or know when they’ve achieved that objective?)

Q:  Iran says it has built and deployed a reconnaissance drone, the Shahed 129 they’re calling it.  It says it doubles the range of previous drones, and they say it’s like the RQ Sentinel drone that went down in Iranian territory in 2011.  Are you aware of this drone, of this — of this deployment?  Can you verify it in any way?  And are you concerned about it in any way?

LITTLE:  I’m not in a position to verify that claim one way or the other.  I think that we have the most sophisticated, elaborate remotely-piloted vehicles in the world.

General Richard B. Myers, “How Junk Food in Schools Affects the Military,” Politico, September 24, 2012.

Being overweight or obese has now become the leading medical reason why young adults cannot enlist in the military. The Defense Department estimates that 1 in 4 young adults is too overweight to enlist.

When weight problems are combined with other disqualifying factors, like failing to finish high school or being convicted of a serious crime, an estimated 75 percent of Americans age 17 to 24 are not able to join the military.

Casey L. Coombs, “Yemen to Get UAVs from the United States,” Aviation Week, September 26, 2012.

An anonymous Yemeni defense official, who was not authorized to speak with the press, tells Aviation Week that Yemen is receiving four AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven UAVs. The 1.9-kg Raven is equipped with sensors for target acquisition, and infrared cameras capable of displaying persons carrying weapons.

“This type of technology would be very appropriate for Yemen’s frontline military units because it provides real-time intelligence from the battlefield to launch strikes while minimizing troops’ exposure to surprise attacks,” according to Aysh Awas, director of security and strategic studies at Sheba, a think tank here in the Yemeni capital.

Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan, Stanford Law School and NYU School of Law, September 2012.


Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by Javed Mir

    Like the expected ubiquity of drones, nuclear weapons will soon be available at the shopping malls!

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