Rapid Ramp-Up of U.S. Drone War in Yemen

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Rapid Ramp-Up of U.S. Drone War in Yemen

With the advent of the new year, the United States is rapidly increasing the number of drone strikes in Yemen.

In November, Yemenis were likely thankful that the buzz of U.S. Predator and Reaper drones died down. Thanksgiving is over, however, and the fireworks for New Year’s Eve were more likely Hellfire missiles than bottle rockets.

On January 3, a drone reportedly operated remotely by agents of the CIA fired missiles at a vehicle traveling in the town of Rada’a in the Yemen province of Baydah.

Yemeni officials quoted by AFP reported that Mukbel Abbad and two underlings were killed in the strike.

Those same officials identified Abbad as a “senior al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) leader.

Long War Journal writes that AQAP has “increased its presence in Baydah province over the last year, and the U.S. has pursued the terror group with drone strikes.”

On May 28, 2012, for example, the United States used drones in a failed attempt to track and assassinate Kaid al Dhahab and his brother Nabil, alleged leaders of the regional branch of the larger al-Qaeda network, while the pair traveled in Rada’a.

It is noteworthy that these two suspected “militants” are brothers-in-law of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American born cleric who was the first American known to be assassinated by President Obama.

Awlaki was killed by a drone attack on the command of President Obama on September 30, 2011.

Awlaki was placed on the president’s infamous kill list after he was suspected of influencing the Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hassan, as well as the so-called Underwear Bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab. No official charges were ever filed against the American-born cleric. The government never attempted to apprehend him and try him for his alleged atrocities. He was placed on a proscription list and murdered.

The hit reportedly went down like this: On September 30, 2011, while Anwar al-Awlaki had stopped to eat breakfast, two unmanned Predator drones fired Hellfire missiles killing him.

Two weeks later, Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman was killed in similar manner. 

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Photo of U.S. Predator drone: AP Images

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