News / Middle East

More Than Drones Needed to Fight Yemen's al-Qaida

A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan, June 13, 2010 (file photo).
A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in Afghanistan, June 13, 2010 (file photo).
Elizabeth Arrott

Yemen's new transitional government is facing an emboldened al-Qaida presence, and the United States and others have pledged to help fight them. But after a year of political unrest, they face an uphill battle.

The U.S. has long helped Yemen in the fight against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, providing training, equipment and armed drones for counter-terrorism efforts.

But some in Yemen see foreign help as simply interference. Sana'a resident Mohamed Mohie el Din says Yemenis want to protect themselves. That is how Yemen has always been, in his words, the graveyard of the invaders.

Most galling have been the civilians deaths in U.S. drone strikes, the worst - 40 people killed in a mistaken attack in 2009.  But there is a painful trade-off. Many Yemenis oppose al-Qaida and do not want Yemen seen as a haven for terrorists.

Political analyst Nasser Arrabyee says as regrettable as the civilian casualties have been, the strikes have also served their purpose.

"Sadly, because we didn't want these things to happen, but in terms of al-Qaida, without the drones, al-Qaida would have taken at least half of Yemen," noted Arrabyee.

Some drones have hit their mark, killing the influential American-Yemeni Anwar al-Awlaki last year and Abdel Monem al-Fathani, tied to the 2000 USS Cole bombing, last month.

Despite the losses, al-Qaida has thrived in the unrest of the past year. In some areas, their rule has been harsh, beheading suspected traitors, even crucifying one man.

But in other places, they have been welcomed. Arrabyee recalls a visit last week to the al-Qaida-held town of Zinjibar, where residents told him they do not share the extremists' ideology.

"I told them why don’t you fight al-Qaida? They said 'Why should we? Why should we fight al-Qaida while we are being ignored by the government and by everyone?" Arrabyee asked.  "They give us some services, some public services, why should we fight them?'"

He argues that while the U.S. presence might help in the air, there is much more work to be done on the ground.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs