In a hearing of a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Yemeni man informed lawmakers that “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.”
This was the testimony of Farea al-Muslimi (shown in photo), a young man from the Yemeni village of Wessab. The village, according to reports at LongWarJournal, was hit by a pair of strikes launched by Predator or Reaper drones piloted remotely by the United States. The attack killed five alleged “operatives” of al-Qaeda. One of the operatives, al-Muslami noted, was well known in the village and could have easily been arrested by the Yemeni government.
As al-Muslimi tells the story (video available at link below), residents of his mountainous hometown live in constant fear of missiles fired from a U.S. drone. “They fear that their home or a neighbor’s home could be bombed at any time by a U.S. drone,” he testified before the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.
There is legitimate reason to fear. Again, according to data reported by LongWarJournal:
Over the past 10 months, the US has begun to target AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] outside of the traditional strongholds of Abyan and Shabwah provinces in the south. Of the 27 strikes against AQAP since the beginning of June 2012 that have been recorded by The Long War Journal, only four have hit AQAP in Abyan and Shabwah. The other 23 strikes have targeted AQAP operatives in the provinces of Aden, Al Baydah, Al Jawf, Hadramout, Marib, Saada, and Sana'a (it is unclear if today's strikes took place in Damar, Ibb, or Hodeida). Of the 18 strikes that were conducted between January 2012 and the end of May, 10 occurred in Abyan and Shabwah.
In 2012, the US launched 42 drone strikes in Yemen against AQAP and its political front, Ansar al Sharia. The previous year, the US launched 10 drone and air strikes against the al Qaeda affiliate.
U.S. officials have designated Yemen as one of the targets for the ever-expanding drone war, the pace of which has accelerated dizzyingly under President Barack Obama.
Click here to read the entire article and see the testimony of Farea al-Muslimi.
Photo of Farea al-Muslimi: AP Images