Why US drone attacks should stop in Yemen and elsewhere
By NOON ARABIA / counterfire.org
Sep 21, 2012

Both the International law and US constitution prohibit killing outside of armed conflict without due process, "except as a resort to avert a concerete, specific, imminent threat of death or serious physical injury", yet the United States continues the use of drone strikes in "targeted killings" of "suspected" terrorist overseas that "might" be plotting against it without due process of law. This has caused the unaccounted deaths of hundreds in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan and widespread anger.

The first known US drone strikeapproved by Obama in Yemen was in Ma’jalah, Abyan, on 17 December 2009, killing 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children, and 14 alleged al-Qa’ida members, only one of which was confirmed to be connected to Al QaedaA Yemeni investigative journalist remains in prison until today for "un-covering" this story.

policy shift, approved in April 2012, allowed the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command to strike militants in Yemen who may be plotting attacks against the United States, without necessarily knowing their identities. Thus, both the the CIA and Pentagon have been carrying drone strikes in Yemen and have separate kill lists of unconfirmed "suspects". According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism 116 drone strikes have been carried out in in Yemen since May 2011. Of those attacks only 39 were confirmed by officials to be carried out by the United States. Hence, hundreds of deaths by drone strikes are unaddressed, unacknowledged and unaccounted for and many of those killed were not confirmed to be actual militants.

This year alone there have been more than 200 deaths from the strikes in Yemen. Last week a misdirected US drone strike killed 13 civilians, including 3 women (one of them reportedly a 10 year old girl) causing widespread anger among Yemenis as have many other strikes before. Yemenis have protested against the strikes and so have activists on twitter who launched a #NoDrones campaign in May 2012 to express their anger towards the strikes and to demand the US administration to halt them. They have renewed their campaign against US drone strikes using the same hashtag #NoDrones.

Yemenis hold both the US administration and Yemeni government accountable for the loss of the civilian lives, a.k.a "collateral damage" and the killings of "suspected" militants without any proof or fair trials. Both are partners in this unlawful offense, the former for justifying and executing the strikes and the latter for allowing them to do so.

This is what Obama said defending drone strikes:

This is what 27 leading experts in foreign policy, diplomats, security specialists, scholars, and US policy experts, calling for a broader approach on US policy towards Yemen, recommended in their letter to President Obama:

  • Change the primary face of the US government in Yemen to alter the perception that US interest and attention are solely dominated by counterterrorism and security issues.
  • Reevaluate the strategy of drone strikes with the recognition that it is generating significant anti-American sentiment.
  • Work with Friends of Yemen to provide humanitarian aid for the more than 10 million Yemenis going hungry daily.
  • Increase economic and governance aid to support democratic institution-building, so that it represents a greater proportion of overall assistance compared with military assistance
  • Support the restructuring of Yemeni security towards a unified command hierarchy under Yemeni civilian leadership.

Robert Grenier, recently retired Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center, wrote: “One wonders how many Yemenis may be moved in the future to violent extremism in reaction to carelessly targeted missile strikes, and how many Yemeni militants with strictly local agendas will become dedicated enemies of the West in response to US military actions against them.”

And this is what Yemenis had to say: “Dear Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda,” a Yemeni lawyer warned on Twitter.

One angered father from Jaar who preferred to remain anonymous said: “I will join even Satan if I have to in order to get revenge for my wounded 7 year old son”.

Ibrahim Mothana, a democracy activist said: "Indeed, the drone program is leading to the Talibanization of vast tribal areas and the radicalization of people who could otherwise be America’s allies in the fight against terrorism in Yemen".

Salim al-Barakani, a businessman whose two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March said: "these attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side.’ ”

Mohammed al-Ahmadi, legal coordinator for Karama, a local human rights group said: “every time the American attacks increase, they increase the rage of the Yemeni people, especially in al-Qaeda-controlled areas."

"There is more hostility against America because the attacks have not stopped al-Qaeda, but rather they have expanded, and the tribes feel this is a violation of the country’s sovereignty,” said Anssaf Ali Mayo, Aden head of Yemen's al-Islah Islamist party.

"This is seen from the fact that US strikes are seen as an invasion, an occupation and a breach of sovereignty," said a citizen journalist.

Local activist Nasr Abdullah told CNN: "I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined the lines of al Qaeda as a result of the latest drone mistake. This part of Yemen takes revenge very seriously."

Listen to what Yemenis said in this HuffPostLive video. More had been said by Yemenis and others in this storify, and this too.

And this is what Pakistanis had to say about the US drone strikes:

USAID official boasted about the U.S being the largest provider of humanitarian aid, in the last Yemen donor conference held in Riyadh. Yet, what Yemen needs most besides aid is for the drone strikes to end.

There is nothing human in the use of drone strikes to "fight terrorism" in Yemen. US drone strikes continue to destabilize the country further, instill fear in the civilans who can be possible targets, breeds resentment towards the U.S, and increases militants in Yemen and thus terror. In fact al-Qaeda has been growing in numbers since the U.S strikes intensified in Yemen, they were estimated to be 300 members in 2009 and despite the ongoing drone strikes and constant reported killings of al- Qaeda militants and "suspected' militants, they are now reported to be more than 700, i.e more than double the initial figure. This clearly indicates, as many experts have stressed, that the U.S counter terrorism policy in Yemen needs to be seriously examined and consequently re-evaluated.

In summary: "US drones have not only resulted in death and destruction, but have also been counter productive to the counter-terrorism efforts, because with each casualty, militants groups gain more members."

From the Notes by NoonArabia blog.

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
7 Signs of Tyranny
2 min · 11,500 views today · Consider yourself warned.
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 7,667 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
How Independent is Hollywood?
4 min · 4,503 views today · A huge number of big-budget Hollywood films, especially those featuring war, conflict or terrorism, are influenced by Hollywood's close relationship with the United States...
4.1 Miles
21 min · 2,632 views today · Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in...
How Comedy Can Disarm Bullies
3 min · 2,429 views today · As long as you're funny, it can get you out of almost anything - even getting mugged, as co-founder of Between Two Ferns Scott Aukerman recounts. Unfortunately, not everyone...
Why Would Any of Us Want to Live like a Savage?
Juan Pablo Quinonez · 2,115 views today · Let’s not be romantic. Industrial civilization is no utopia. For every creature comfort we have, something or someone pays the price. The wilderness is no fairy tale either...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,834 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 1,227 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds
Colin Beavan · 1,209 views today · To get someone’s support, you need more than just facts.
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 994 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 948 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 891 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 879 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 772 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 766 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Trump Report - The Real Fake News About The Dakota Access Pipeline
2 min · 631 views today · President Trump is sick of the lying fake news media, so he's doing the news himself. Today on The Trump Report: Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline (great...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 528 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 525 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 461 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 390 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Why US drone attacks should stop in Yemen and elsewhere