25 May 2016

Emily Knowles

Read the briefing

This Remote Control project briefing examines UK military operations in Libya and the UK government's lack of transparency concerning such activities. Despite official government statements that the UK military operation in Libya both began and ended with the 2011 NATO mission, research undertaken and commissioned by Remote Control suggests that this is only true if you take a very narrow view of what counts as a UK military operation. Since 2011, information has been slowly surfacing about the extent of ongoing covert UK engagement, including several waves of special force deployment, the presence of undisclosed numbers of military advisers, intelligence gathering operations, potential drone operations, and the recent approval of the use of UK air bases in US air strikes against ISIS. The briefing argues that the opacity of remote warfare in Libya could have serious consequences for the effectiveness, accountability, and perceived legitimacy of UK actions abroad.

Image by Defence Images via Flickr.

About the author

Emily Knowles is the Director of ORG’s Remote Warfare Programme. She writes and speaks regularly on changes in military engagement. Her research and policy interests include: the changing role of Britain’s special forces; security force assistance; the use of partner forces in combat; and the military, legal, and political implications of light-footprint remote warfare. She also leads on the team’s field research in conflict environments, having recently conducted research in Kabul, Basra, and Baghdad. Her commentary has been included in programmes like BBC1’s The Big Questions, BBC Radio 4’s The Briefing Room, and the British Forces Broadcasting Services’ Sitrep.