After a three month break in Yemen from U.S. drone strikes, a drone last night, April 18th, 2013, killed five Qaeda suspects. The last reported US strike in Yemen by TBIJ (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) was on January 23rd, killing as many as seven alleged militants. Only two days before, on January 21st, President Obama's Inauguration Day, three US drone strikes hit Yemen, killing four suspected al Qaeda militants.
Last night, Yemeni activist and journalist Farae Al-muslimi, from the village of Wessab, in the province of Dhamar, broke the news of the US drone strike. He tweeted:
@almuslimi: An hourish ago while I was enjoying a friendly dinner with my American friends ( some r officials ) , US strike drone targeted my villag …
@almuslimi: I was so happy the last three months that US Strike drones were stopped in #Yemen. Didn't know they will relaunch to my village.!
The target of the US strike as reported by Saba state news agency was Hamid Radman al-Manea, known as al-Radmi, and four of his guards, while they were returning to his house. He was a former member in the republican guards, an elite forces led formerly by Saleh's elder son and was also suspected to be associated with Al-Qaeda.
@almuslimi: Al-radmi was away from wessab for years. last year he came back and became social figure known for solving social problems btwn ppl. #Drone
@almuslimi: Al-radmi was in continues contact with government officials, he prayed Maghrib wth th Gen secretary of the Local council tonight 1/2 #Drone
@almuslimi: the car of th local council gen secretary was exactly behind Al-radmi's car as thy both were coming from place thy solved problem in. #Drone
Many Yemenis wondered why were ‘suspected’ militant targets always killed by US drones. Since the suspect's location was known, they seldom questioned why they are not instead captured by Yemeni forces, interrogated and put on trial if proven guilty. Why wasn't there a “capture and interrogate list” instead of Obama's “kill list”? What was the motive behind their extrajudicial extermination? Were the so-called suspects really plotting against the US or did they have enemies in Yemen or Saudia Arabia who wanted them dead?
Almuslimi pointed to that in the following tweets:
@almuslimi: There was nothing easier than arresting Al-radmi if he is wanted. He was ACTUALLY with governmental official at the moment he was droned.!
@almuslimi: 3- Al-radmi was in a continues meetings with local council leadership and attended their meetings to solve problems and raise peoples needs
@almuslimi:5- No one ever [knew} even the security leaders, th governor, or anyone he was in the killing list.! a security source jst told me in the phone:1/2
@almuslimi: ” i wld have arrested him myself wn i jst saw him less than a week ago or even sent my weakest soldier to do so”. 2/2 #Yemen #Drones
Almuslimi, like many Yemenis who visited the US and enjoyed a US education, was devastated with the news of yet another US strike on his country and this time on his peaceful village. He tweeted:
Wessab, my village, is no doubt th most peaceful ppls and one of th poorest areas in Yemen. congrats, u jst made violence attractive to them
@almuslimi: #USA taught me English 1 day & took my life frm super miserable 2 very promising. 2day, it droned my village. The most divided feeling ever
@almuslimi: I never thought perhaps at the moment i was cheering the glass with my close american buddy in Sana'a, his govt was droning my village.!
The current flawed US Counter-Terrorism policy using drone strikes was widely criticized and opposed in mass rallies across the US last week. In Yemen, it is certainly creating more animosity towards the US administration, even from many US educated youth such as Almuslimi himself, who wrote a powerful piece about this.
This policy, instituted by President Barack Obama, has allegedly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Yemenis, and unfortunately it does not differentiate among militants, ordinary Yemenis and US radio reporters.
Since the policy took effect, AQAP has been successful as never before. Those who have lost relatives to drone fire make up a whole new generation of AQAP recruits.
The drones have made it difficult, shameful and even dangerous to say “America can be befriended”, or “America is not an enemy”.
Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi expressed his approval for the strikes last September during a visit to the US