These attacks follow on another attack
that killed at least nine people in the city of Ma'arib over the weekend. One was allegedly a local leader of AQAP, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Tribal officials said that at least two of those slain were "Saudi militants". However, the bodies were too charred to positively identify anyone. US officials had no comments on the strikes. Recent reports have suggested that Saudi planes are also launching attacks in Yemen. At times, the Yemenis also accept responsbility. If there is much collateral damage then no one will know who is responsible. Often collateral damage will not even be admitted or reported.
Among many Yemeni tribesmen,
the drone strikes are quite unpopular. The Yemeni president, Mansour Hadi . installed in a one person election with US blessing almost a year ago, vows that the attacks will be continued and that the 9/11 terror attacks justify allowing continuing US drone strikes.
The escalation of drone strikes has raised concerns that the U.S.intervention will generate a backlash against the government which already faces opposition not only from militant Islamists but from northern and southern secessionists. When members of a tribe are hit, tribal leaders often can take revenge against the government as they have their own heavily armed militias.
US strikes more than tripled in 2012 from 2011. President Hadi has strongly endorsed the strikes. Officials claim that 14 Al Qaeda suspects
have been killed in Yemen since attacks were increased starting on Xmas eve, last December 24.
As long as strikes occur in areas where the tribes are unfriendly to the government in any event, Hadi will likely continue to give a thumbs up to the drone attacks. However, the likely result will be even further conflict with the government. Saudi Arabia also endorses the attacks. No doubt the Saudis hope to have more influence with the Yemeni government.
The new Obama term will continue with a permanent drone war in Yemen.