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article imageOp-Ed: U.S. drone strikes anger Yemeni civilians

By Eliot Elwar     Jun 3, 2012 in World
Recent U.S. airstrikes breed anger and sympathy for al-Qaeda, the U.S. is losing Yemeni hearts and minds, Yemeni Nobel laureate says ineffective U.S. drones strikes are killing civilians, and the U.S. drone attacks are backfiring on Obama’s plan.
According to Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post, throughout the extensive, rough landscape of southern Yemen, an ever-increasing operation of U.S. drone attacks is rousing collective compassion for al-Qaeda- connected radicals and pushing tribesmen to enlist into a terrorism network with plots against the U.S. and the West. Following recent U.S. missile strikes, many from unmanned combat aircraft, the U.S. and Yemeni governments have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. However, tribal leaders say civilians have died in the attacks.
According to Letta Tyler of Salon news, CIA drone attacks in the Mideast country are undermining the U.S. mission there. During meetings with reform-minded activists in Yemen, the conversation regularly turned to increasing CIA drone strikes against Muslim radicals, and the reasonable expressions quickly turned furious. The peoples’ comments illustrated how swiftly the U.S. is losing the battle for hearts and minds as it fights against Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its indigenous associate, Ansar al-Sharia.
Al Arabiya news reported that famous Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakul Karman, blamed the U.S. for killing civilians in southern Yemen while trying to eradicate al-Qaeda operatives. Karman says U.S. drone strikes are ineffective because they were hitting mainly civilians in south Yemen rather than their intended target, al Qaeda-linked militants, according to Regan Doherty of Reuters.
Common Dreams reported that Obama's covert and clandestine operations in Yemen have brought major radicalization of the indigenous population. Recent reports indicate that the increasing U.S. drone campaign in Yemen could be backfiring, while inspiring a new generation of enemies against the U.S. and strengthening Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Obama administration's spreading covert war in Yemen appears to be driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the U.S.
Damaging public disposition stemming from drone attacks is mounting because of numerous civilian fatalities. According to many Yemeni business men, the attacks are making people say: “we believe that al-Qaeda is on the right side.” Famous supporters of this view include Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman who believes that U.S. drone strikes have been more damaging than helpful in Yemen and blamed the U.S. for killing many civilians in southern Yemen while trying to remove al-Qaeda operatives. According to local Muslims, when the American attacks increase, they intensify the rage of the Yemeni population, particularly people living in al-Qaeda-controlled regions. While the drones are killing al-Qaeda’s operatives, they are turning them into martyrs and inspiring a new generation of militant al-Qaeda fighters. Finally, while the strikes are supposedly clandestine, Yemeni social media is often tweeting as events transpire; therefore, offering clarity to the civilian population, which further destroys America’s Mideast reputation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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