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US drones killing unknown enemies in Yemen

30 December 2012 18:00

Reaper-7003489298_9b290a7153_z-630x400The United States is targeting Yemen with its assassination drones because of the country’s strategic importance although Washington claims the killings are done for US self interest and only target al-Qaeda members, says an analyst.

The comment comes as a US assassination drone attack on Sunday killed three people in Yemen’s al-Bayda’ province as Washington continues its terror operations overseas.

On Saturday, a US drone attacked a Land Cruiser in el-Manaseh village near the Radda district, The Associated Press reported. Earlier this week, another US drone strike killed two militants in the same province. Elsewhere, seven others were killed in two other drone operations in the southeastern province of Hadramawt.

Washington claims the targets of the attacks are al-Qaeda militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks over the past few years. The United States also carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Conn Hallinan with Foreign Policy in Focus from Berkley to further discuss the issue at hand.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Another assassination drone strike in Yemen, why target Muslim countries only?

Hallinan: Well, I’m not so sure that it’s specifically directed at Muslims as it is, what the US considers its self interest.

I think that in the case of Yemen, they see as a very strategic country that has potential control of significant sections of the Indian Ocean and Red Sea and is in a strategic spot on south of Saudi Arabia. I think they see Yemen as a country which gives them a sort of foot in the region and has allowed them also to play a larger role in places like Somalia.

Press TV: How much has this drone campaign worked in being able to curb terrorism and defeat enemy combatants in the so called US war on terror?

Hallinan: Well, it works exactly the opposite. One of the things, a recent study done by the UCLA and Yale found that the effect of the drone war was to actually increase the recruiting for al-Qaeda members and al-Qaeda related members. It doesn’t have anything to do with terrorism.

Yet we have to be really careful in the case of Yemen because we– the Americans that is– don’t really know who were fighting in Yemen? Are these al-Qaeda members? Are these Southern separatists? Are these tribal members who happen to have a complaint with the central government? We don’t know because national security has essentially cut off any description or definition of who it is that we are targeting in these areas.

So we don’t really know even if we’re going after supposed terrorists or whether or not we’re just simply involved in the ongoing civil war in Yemen?

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