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Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination

Luca Trenta Orcid Logo

Defence Studies, Volume: 21, Issue: 4, Pages: 468 - 488

Swansea University Author: Luca Trenta Orcid Logo

  • Accepted Manuscript under embargo until: 10th May 2023

Abstract

The recent assassinations of General Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh have renewed debates surrounding governments’ use of assassination. Some commentators have interpreted these episodes as an escalation in practices of ‘remote warfare.’ Recently, the literature on remote warfare has expanded to in...

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Published in: Defence Studies
ISSN: 1470-2436 1743-9698
Published: Informa UK Limited 2021
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58441
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first_indexed 2021-10-20T17:16:06Z
last_indexed 2021-11-18T04:28:01Z
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spelling 2021-11-17T16:56:20.5103139 v2 58441 2021-10-20 Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination 77a2eaf23b410b1d6a38ea070f14f992 0000-0001-5681-8176 Luca Trenta Luca Trenta true false 2021-10-20 APC The recent assassinations of General Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh have renewed debates surrounding governments’ use of assassination. Some commentators have interpreted these episodes as an escalation in practices of ‘remote warfare.’ Recently, the literature on remote warfare has expanded to include multiple activities at – and below – the threshold of war. From its focus on geographical distance, ‘remoteness’ now encompasses the ‘political’ distance of deployments of force. ‘Remoteness’ has blurred the line separating the methods used to deploy force and the ways – overt or covert - in which they are deployed. Having highlighted the role of covertness, this article establishes that assassination should be included in the ‘remote warfare’ canon. A study of the US government’s involvement in assassination permits us to elucidate the interplay between remoteness and covertness. The article shows that a deeper engagement with the assassination as a tool of US foreign policy provides two main advantages. First, it permits us to better historicise the ‘opacity’ and ‘political distance’ of practices associated with ‘remote warfare.’ Second, it helps unveil the origins of the legal, political, and technological infrastructures that currently sustain much of the US government’s global ‘remote wars.’ Journal Article Defence Studies 21 4 468 488 Informa UK Limited 1470-2436 1743-9698 Remote warfare; covert action; assassination; US foreign policy; drones 10 11 2021 2021-11-10 10.1080/14702436.2021.1994393 COLLEGE NANME Politics, Philosophy and International Relations COLLEGE CODE APC Swansea University 2021-11-17T16:56:20.5103139 2021-10-20T18:13:56.8251397 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences School of Culture and Communication - Politics, Philosophy and International Relations Luca Trenta 0000-0001-5681-8176 1 Under embargo Under embargo 2021-11-17T16:52:18.9742516 Output 199269 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true 2023-05-10T00:00:00.0000000 Released under the terms of a Creative Commons NonCommercial license true eng https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
title Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
spellingShingle Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
Luca Trenta
title_short Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
title_full Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
title_fullStr Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
title_full_unstemmed Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
title_sort Remote killing? Remoteness, covertness, and the US government’s involvement in assassination
author_id_str_mv 77a2eaf23b410b1d6a38ea070f14f992
author_id_fullname_str_mv 77a2eaf23b410b1d6a38ea070f14f992_***_Luca Trenta
author Luca Trenta
author2 Luca Trenta
format Journal article
container_title Defence Studies
container_volume 21
container_issue 4
container_start_page 468
publishDate 2021
institution Swansea University
issn 1470-2436
1743-9698
doi_str_mv 10.1080/14702436.2021.1994393
publisher Informa UK Limited
college_str Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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hierarchy_top_id facultyofhumanitiesandsocialsciences
hierarchy_top_title Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
hierarchy_parent_id facultyofhumanitiesandsocialsciences
hierarchy_parent_title Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
department_str School of Culture and Communication - Politics, Philosophy and International Relations{{{_:::_}}}Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences{{{_:::_}}}School of Culture and Communication - Politics, Philosophy and International Relations
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description The recent assassinations of General Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh have renewed debates surrounding governments’ use of assassination. Some commentators have interpreted these episodes as an escalation in practices of ‘remote warfare.’ Recently, the literature on remote warfare has expanded to include multiple activities at – and below – the threshold of war. From its focus on geographical distance, ‘remoteness’ now encompasses the ‘political’ distance of deployments of force. ‘Remoteness’ has blurred the line separating the methods used to deploy force and the ways – overt or covert - in which they are deployed. Having highlighted the role of covertness, this article establishes that assassination should be included in the ‘remote warfare’ canon. A study of the US government’s involvement in assassination permits us to elucidate the interplay between remoteness and covertness. The article shows that a deeper engagement with the assassination as a tool of US foreign policy provides two main advantages. First, it permits us to better historicise the ‘opacity’ and ‘political distance’ of practices associated with ‘remote warfare.’ Second, it helps unveil the origins of the legal, political, and technological infrastructures that currently sustain much of the US government’s global ‘remote wars.’
published_date 2021-11-10T04:07:44Z
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