Yemeni debate over drones emerges after Salehs fall

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
6 min read

Parties in the post-Saleh interim government have been largely silent or even expressed muted public support over drone strikes, in an effort to win the favor of a country seen as the real source of political power in Yemen, analysts say.

The United States, eager to see Yemen recover from upheaval that put the impoverished state on the verge of collapse, has said it would provide $345 million in security, humanitarian and development assistance this year - more than double last year’s aid but much less than needed, one government official said.

Western diplomats say they believe most Yemenis support the operations, but acknowledge that public opposition is rising.

“Nobody wants to see the drones (but) we have people who are posing an imminent threat to the security and stability of Yemen as well as threatening security throughout the world,” a senior diplomat said.

“The solution ultimately will be on the basis of building up Yemeni capabilities,” he added.

While Washington usually avoids comment, the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks U.S. operations, says between 36 and 56 civilians have died this year.

At a recent funeral for those who died in the attacks in Radaa, relatives suggested tribes would take revenge if Sana’a did not do something to stop them.

“We are just farmers, in our homes, who are disturbed constantly in the middle of the night by American planes above,” said Jamal Abdu al-Sabouri, a relative of one of the Radaa victims, “we want a solution and we demand that Hadi pay attention to this issue... We want security and stability but if they’re going to disturb us, we’ll disturb everyone too.”

In the chaos of the disintegration of Saleh’s system of tribal and religious alliances, tribes have taken steps to express displeasure with Hadi’s government. Electricity lines were attacked in Maarib last month after a court issued death sentences against kinsmen accused of al Qaeda militancy.

“A strike like this isn’t a simple thing. It makes us lose hope in the state or that there even exists a Yemeni state here,” said Muhammed Muqbil, who lost three relatives.

Top Content Trending