Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump will soon make it easier to export some types of lethal American-made lethal drones to more of Washington’s allies, according to a new report.
Trump is expected to ease rules for such foreign sales under a new policy on unmanned military aircraft due to be unveiled as early as this month, the first phase of a broader overhaul of weapons export regulations, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the plan.
US drone producers, facing increasing competition from abroad, especially from Chinese and Israeli rivals who often sell under lighter restrictions, have lobbied hard for the rule changes.
The new measures are part of Trump’s so-called “America First” policy, which seeks to rewrite the rules of global commerce in favor of the US and reduce the country’s trade deficit.
An announcement of the new policy has been delayed for months over deliberations on how far to go in increasing drones exports.
That delay prompted US Defense Secretary James Mattis to press the White House to expedite the policy shift to avoid losing out on sales to certain countries, two US officials told Reuters.
Human rights and arms control advocates, however, warn it risks fueling violence and instability in regions such as the Middle East and South Asia.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of US drone strikes around the world since Trump took office, according to a report published in December by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
The US carries out drone attacks in Yemen and several other Islamic countries, claiming to be targeting al-Qaeda elements. However, local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.