Less than 24 hours from the re-election of President Obama, news of a new drone strike hit Yemen. The strike was in the al-Sarin village in Sanhan and killed Adnan al-Qadhi, Rabeaa Lahib and Radwan al-Hashdhi and injured others, including a boy. Yet, this strike is different from previous ones because Sanhan is less than 40km from the capital Sanaa and happens to be the former president Ali Abdulla Saleh's hometown.
Many Yemeni netizens were alarmed and dismayed. Here are some of their reactions:
Yemeni activist Ibrahim Mothana tweeted:
@imothanaYemen:Today's drone strike in Sanhan, Sana'a governorate is the closest ever to the capital. #Yemen
Google Map: Distance between al-Sirin village in Sanhan and the heart of Yemen's capital is only 37 kilometers https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=%D8%B5%D9%86%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A1%E2%80%8E,+Amanat+Al+Asimah,+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%8E%D9%85%D9%8E%D9%86&daddr=%2B15%C2%B0+6'+50.76%22,+%2B44%C2%B0+21'+51.82%22&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sll=15.23384,44.286575&sspn=0.359746,0.676346&geocode=Fd1A6gAdYI2iAikx94RG1dsDFjFzrIIUepVrpA%3BFXSf5gAdavKkAg&mra=ls&t=m&z=11 …
@imothanaYemen: Drone strikes in a “Secret War” by a “Nobel Peace Laureate”! Life can't get more surreal #Yemen
Adam Banron, a freelance journalist based in Yemen, tweeted:
@adammbaron: coming > 24 hours after Obama's reelection, its hard not to see the suspected US strike in sanhan as a message…if not a provocation. #yemen
Gregory Johnsen, author of forthcoming book The Last Refuge: Yemen al-Qaeda and America's War in Arabia, tweeted:
@gregorydjohnsen: If today's strike was indeed a US attack important question to ask: Was ‘Adnan al-Qadhi considered someone actively plotting against the US?
In his blog (Waq al Waq) latest post ‘Adnan al-Qadhi and the Day After,’ Johnsen points out:
This is important. The US has carried out, by my best estimate, between 37 – 50 strikes this year in an attempt to kill 10 – 15 people. Many of those 10 – 15 people are still alive (see: Nasir al-Wihayshi, Said al-Shihri, Qasim al-Raymi, Ibrahim Asiri and so on) but people are dying in Yemen.
Prior to the US election results, Palestinian activist and poet Remi Kanazi tweeted:
@Remroum: My name is Barack Obama and I approve this bombing. #Afghanistan #Pakistan #Yemen #Election2012
Yemeni Blogger Afrah Nasser sarcastically tweeted:
@Afrahnasser:”Yes We Can #Drone!” #Obama #Yemen #Somalia #Pakistan
Nevertheless, many Arab netizens and not only Yemenis were relieved that Mitt Romney did not win the elections since many believed he would be more aggressive in the ‘war on terror’. Yet it seems from the recent strike, Obama is sending a clear message that his policy in Yemen is not changing. However, how long can Yemen endure more drones?
Wedad Abood tweeted:
@WedadAbood: @BarackObama 4 more years of #drone strikes killing innocent peoples not to forget women & children #NoDrones #Yemen