love the sound of a drone in the
morning By Pepe Escobar
It may not have been a deadly Predator
equipped with a Hellfire missile eager to
incinerate a Pashtun wedding party, but in our
Brave New UAV World - also known as Obama's Drone
Wars - even a lowly ScanEagle, manufactured by a
Boeing subsidiary, may be assured to steal the
the star of the show on Iranian TV after it was
captured over the Persian Gulf. Geopolitical
junkies fed up with the same old US generals
regurgitating cliches on Fox or CNN will certainly
feast on that ultra-retro "We will trample the US
under our feet" banner, not to mention the quirky
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
production values in the PR front.
Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC's navy,
ScanEagle was "hunted"
and then "forced" to "land electronically" after
invading Iran's airspace. Well, it may have been
slightly more complicated. The always delightful
Moon of Alabama still provides the best explanation:
the IRGC probably electronically disabled the
drone's satellite link and then took over its
line-of-sight radio control.
providing endless puns of the "Persian cats take
down US drone" kind - complete with photos of cats
messing around with model made-in-Iran copies of
RQ-170s (that's the drone downed in Iran a year
ago) - this is almost as good as the new Bob
Woodward scoop on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News
to buy General Petraeus into becoming
Murdoch's personal US presidential candidate. Foxy
Foxy General, by the way
- even before he got "physical" with adoring
groupie Paula Broadwell - would never be caught in
a such a debasing predicament. His Central
Intelligence Agency drones in AfPak were and
remain bona-fide killing machines, not lowly
gadgets gathering useless intel.
Drone War installment at least provides a measure
of Monty Pythonesque respite from the usual doom
and gloom - as in Turkey getting approval from the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to
deploy Patriot interceptor missiles to "defend
itself" from some stray Syrian firecracker daring
to cross the border.
NATO bureaucrats in
Brussels are already in overdrive spinning to
oblivion the official denial along the lines of
"Oh no, we don't want a no-fly zone over Syria -
it's just that we love big, bad, bulging
The US - as usual, as always -
denies everything regarding the missing ScanEagle,
as in a spokesman for the US Naval Forces Central
Command in that sublime paragon of democracy,
Bahrain, stressing, "The US Navy has fully
accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV)
operating in the Middle East region."
Maybe it's a terminology problem; Iran is
actually in Southwest Asia (so lost drones in a
"pivoting" area don't count). But wait; it gets
better. The spokesman also said, "We have no
record that we have lost any ScanEagles recently."
So the Navy lost not only a drone but also the
Thus the Navy's frantic efforts
to apportion blame to other people's drones. Maybe
this ScanEagle was from that other GCC-enabled
democratic paradise, the United Arab Emirates.
Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and even
Colombia all have ScanEagles. Britain and France
also manufacture drones, and Russia is on its way.
Or maybe an evil Eye-ranian spy stole it on a
shopping trip to Dubai.
an upcoming boom of plastic ScanEagle miniatures
refreshing the depressed, sanctioned-to-death
Iranian market, just as it happened a year ago
with the RQ-170. Live Persian cats from Qom to the
Caspian Sea will certainly have a ball taking them