U.S. Drones Strike Against al-Qaeda in Yemen
On Monday, U.S. drones killed 12 al-Qaeda militants in an attack in Abyan province, in Southern Yemen. The victims included at least four leaders or prominent figures in a local Yemeni branch of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). One of the local tribal leaders killed was Abdel-Munem al-Fatahani, that the U.S. wanted for alleged links to attacks on the U.S. destroyer Cole, in 2000. Over the past year, al-Qaeda groups strengthened their position in the Southern region while the security forces tried unsuccessfully to push them back. No civilians were reportedly harmed during the strike.
In the New York Times, Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Mark Hanis, from Genocide Intervention Network, discuss the benefits of using drones to “serve human rights advocacy.” The authors believe that drones can witness human rights violations in sensitive regions and difficult territories to reach. ”A drone would let us count demonstrators, gun barrels and pools of blood. And the evidence could be broadcast for a global audience, including diplomats at the United Nations and prosecutors at the International Criminal Court.”
On Monday, U.S President President Barack Obama declared ”Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” on an online question- and-answer session. The CIA and the U.S. military conducted drone strikes in Yemen against al-Qaeda, but these campaigns had a smaller scale than in other regions, like on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite the tensions that these strikes have created with foreign governments, Obama defended the use of drone as they they helped to put the U.S. “on the offense” against al-Qaeda and weaken it.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Yemen’s Minister of information Ali al-Amrani escaped an assassination attempt in Sanaa. Unidentified assailants opened fire on the Ministers’ car but he had not been hurt. Amrani was appointed Minster of Information of the coalition government between the opposition and the General Peoples Congress (GPC) , Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s party who accepted to step down.