Drones target Yemen

The CIA is to redeploy some Predator drones from Pakistan to the arabian peninsula so they can step up the ‘war against terror’ in Yemen and Somalia.   The Wall Street Journal revealed this week that:

 “U.S. military’s Special Operation Forces and the CIA have been positioning surveillance equipment, drones and personnel in Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia to step up targeting of al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP, and Somalia’s al Shabaab—Arabic for The Youth.”

Unsuprising, given what the CIA have done in Pakistan in the name of the ‘war on terror’, senior Yemeni officals are clearly against the idea.  According to Associated Press,  Yemen’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Saidi,  said CIA drones would be a “nonstarter,”  adding, “to even posit this theory about U.S. drones only builds support for radicalization.”   

Yemen has already been the target of several US drone strikes.  As noted previously, in May 2010, a Yemeni mediator was killed by  US drone as he  was seeking to persuade al Qaeda members to surrender.     

 Amnesty International this week launched, Yemen: Cracking Down Under Pressure,  a new report on the human rights situation in Yemen.  Amnesty said

“The USA appears to have carried out or collaborated in unlawful killings in Yemen and has closely cooperated with Yemeni security forces in situations that have failed to give due regard for human rights.” Amnesty urged Washington to “investigate the serious allegations of the use of drones by U.S. forces for targeted killings of individuals in Yemen and clarify the chain of command and rules governing the use of such drones”.

Yemen and Amnesty are right to be worried about US drone strikes.  Just this week a  US intellegence official confirmed that a drone strike in Paksitan killed a numer of children earlier this week.   “According to the reports we have received here four men, five women and four children died in the attack. The identities of those killed were not known yet,” the official said.      Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, was among those who condemned the attack. “Americans are using indiscriminately the drones to hit what they called high-value targets that killed so many people,” Hassan said in an interview with Iranian Press TV.

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