Wings over Waziristan: Footage of the British RAF in Tribal Areas, 1936-7

Derek Gregory has two must-read posts on drone warfare in Pakistan’s FATA here and here. Included is amazing footage of RAF bombing sorties against the tribal Wazirs during the 1936-7 “insurrection” led by the “mad mullah” the “Faqir of Ipi”. This was an asymmetrical conflict which drew in 40,000 Indian Army soldiers against 4,000 lashkars – marking it as one of the largest-scale revolts in the inter-war period, and one that was never quelled.

The footage is an important historical reminder that the CIA’s drone campaign rests upon a colonial legacy that is still being played out in modern-day lawfare and warfare.

Extracts from BBC program ‘Wings over Waziristan’, with Group Captain Robert Lister interviewed here.

Colonial film footage here with excellent analysis, including the following references:

Omissi, David E. Air Power and Colonial Control: The Royal Air Force 1919-1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990)

Warren, Alan Waziristan, The Faqir of Ipi, and the Indian Army: The North-West Frontier Revolt of 1936-37 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2000)

Government of India Official History of Operations on the N. W. Frontier 1936-7 (Delhi: Government of India, 1943)

Moreman, T. R. The Army in India and the Development of Frontier Warfare, 1849-1947 (London: Macmillan, 1998)

‘Faqir of Ipi: Revolt on the N. W. Frontier’ The Times April 20, 1960: 15

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