A Comparative Study of Non-State Violent Drone use in the Middle East is a The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) report by Yannick Veilleux-Lepage and Emil Archambault.

This report investigates the drone programs of five non-state groups operating in the Middle East: Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthi Movement, Islamic State (IS), and the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). Unlike many other violent non-state actors, these groups have demonstrated a willingness to innovate tactically and/or technically in drone usage, maintaining a long-term engagement with drone technology and displaying the ability to develop drone infrastructure. The development of their drone programs varies in terms of timescales, methods, strategies, and tactics. The report rejects the notion of a uniform course of development for all non-state groups’ drone programs, emphasizing the importance of situating a terrorist group’s use of drones within the context of its overarching strategic goals.

The argument presented is that understanding a specific group’s goals with drones is crucial for comprehending the threat and addressing the challenges presented by innovation within drone programs rather than episodic drone use. The report proposes a framework for studying drone innovation that applies to these groups and potentially to others in the future.

Publication Date– December 2022

A Comparative Study of Non-State Violent Drone use in the Middle East contains the following major sections:

  • Introduction
  • Hezbollah
  • Hamas
  • Houthi Movement
  • Islamic State
  • Kurdistan Worker’s Party/Democratic Union Party
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Conclusion

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