Another irksome aspect of the lingering American presence beyond its military withdrawal, the US State Department has fielded a whole fleet of surveillance drones to fly over Iraq. They say the flights are meant to protect the city-sized US Embassy on the outskirts of Baghdad.
For the Iraqi government, however, the unwelcome overflights amount to a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, and they have a point. It is hard to imagine the US would give unfettered access to the whole of its airspace to any other nation’s surveillance drones, no matter how big its embassy was.
The State Department’s Diplomatic Security branch hasn’t exactly been keeping the drones a secret, but it hasn’t broadcast them very loudly either. Their mention is a single paragraph buried near the back of its recent annual report.
Contractors responsible for providing the drones say that it may be a growing industry, with the State Department reportedly planning to field similar fleets in countries like Indonesia which they consider “high threat.” No word yet on how the Indonesian government feels about that.