News / Middle East

US Yemen Anti-terror Strategy Debated

US Yemen Anti-terror Strategy Debatedi
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August 09, 2013 12:24 AM
The U.S. has stepped up its drone strikes in Yemen, according to officials in Yemen. The strikes come after Yemeni authorities said they foiled an al-Qaida plot targeting Western facilities in the south of the country and the U.S. shuttered many of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa. Analysts, however, have mixed views on whether the current U.S. policy in Yemen is working. VOA's Pamela Dockins has more.
US Yemen Anti-terror Strategy Debated
Pamela Dockins
The U.S. has stepped up its drone strikes in Yemen, according to officials in Yemen. The strikes come after Yemeni authorities said they foiled an al-Qaida plot targeting Western facilities in the south of the country and the U.S. shuttered many of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa. Analysts, however, have mixed views on whether the current U.S. policy in Yemen is working.
 
The  U.S. has stepped up its drone strikes, targeting al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Yemeni officials said.
 
Over the last two weeks, drone attacks have killed at least two dozen militants, according to news reports.
 
But some analysts say drone strikes may actually do more harm than good, especially when they result in civilian casualties.
 
Danya Greenfield is a Middle East expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.
 
"It sets in place a dynamic where people that may have inadvertently been targeted are part of tribes and local communities that then feel that they need to seek vengeance."
 
Greenfield says hostility toward the United States creates a breeding ground for militants in Yemen.
 
The most recent terror threat also prompted the U.S. to order non-essential diplomats out of Yemen.
 
President Barack Obama said although he had to take Americans out of harm's way, the administration will not back down.

"The United States is never going to retreat from the world. We don't get terrorized," said Obama.
 
Thomas Lynch, at National Defense University, supports the current U.S. policy in Yemen.
 
"I think the United States has developed a fairly effective program for dealing with the AQAP problem in Yemen. I think we prefer to work side-by-side, as we did in the summer of 2012, with Yemeni security forces.”
 
Lynch says the recent uptick in U.S. drone strikes does not necessarily indicate a shift away from U.S. support for Yemen's counter-terror operations.
 
“I do think we are at a moment right now though, where the United States is trying to re-focus its efforts and trying to make sure that places and pockets of activity by al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula are put under pressure so we diminish their capacity in the country and in the region,” said Lynch.
 
But Greenfield says it is up to the Yemeni government to develop a long-term strategy for combatting al-Qaida and other Yemeni militants.
 
"That really has to do with having strong government institutions that actually provide economic opportunity, that provide necessary services for its population and to have a legitimate government in place that is responsive to the population and to what people need,” says Greenfield.  
 
Although U.S. drone strikes may have weakened al-Qaida in Yemen, analysts say targeted assassinations will not be enough to cause the group's demise.

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by: anotherview2 from: California
August 08, 2013 11:45 PM
Armed aerial drones use precision guided weapons that minimize collateral damage. Conventional weapons cause more such damage. In addition, the parents of children should do all they may to isolate their children from Islamic terrorists, to avoid putting their children in harm's way, given that armed aerial drones target Islamic terrorists. Further, the United States cannot let the nominal collateral damage from armed aerial drones deter it at all from their use. These drones kill enemy combats deserving of death.

Finally, consider that during WW II, the Allies firebombed major cities in Germany and Japan, killing thousands and thousands of civilians. The Allies did not overly concern themselves with the feelings or concerns of the targeted populations. The hostile actions of their own nations prompted the Allies in response to do what they could to vanquish the dangerous enemy. Nothing has changed. The West along with Russia now face a war to the death with the Islamic terrorists conducting an international jihad actively plotting to murder more innocents. The armed aerial drones find and kill these Islamic terrorists. Bring on the drones.


by: Fareed from: San Francisco
August 08, 2013 11:16 PM
Once someone earns their bones and gets promoted to the Terrorist List they have two options. Either be Killed or Captured. Most choose the first option. These suspects who know who they are, can turn themselves in, and if found innocent can be exonerated. This is no different than the armed and dangerous designation for domestic criminals and terrorists to be stopped dead or alive.


by: Vez'Roth from: North Carolina
August 08, 2013 5:11 PM
I have an issue with this report, that people are... Suspected Terrorists. No trial, no military investigation. They are "suspected" to be a terrorist. I can walk down the street and point at several random people and call them "suspected" terrorists. It doesn't make it true. The fact that they were were bombed without any kind of legal authority other than people bandying about the word "terrorist" like it's a blanket for doing whatever the @#&* we feel like.

I'm all for gunning down $%&* that actually DID something, but the fact that they only MIGHT have done something disturbs me greatly.

In Response

by: anotherview2 from: Californi
August 09, 2013 12:00 AM
The news report does not mention suspects. Find another issue.

In Response

by: anotherview2 from: California
August 08, 2013 11:51 PM
Man up to wartime, and a fight to the death with the Islamic terrorists. Meanwhile, who can say how the authorities identify an individual as a "suspected terrorist"? A citizen may suppose, however, that the authorities use facts and information, rational analysis, and sober conclusions before fingering a suspected Islamic terrorist for death. Bring on the drones.


by: Brian from: Ohio
August 08, 2013 5:01 PM
Are you sure these people were "terrorists?" Because several of the last drone strikes claimed to kill terror threats also killed many innocent Yemen civilians; or are they just "collartoral damage" for a greater cause as well? These actions make me sick.


by: Alexio from: Kansas
August 08, 2013 4:50 PM
Cause all suspects deserve death

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