OP-ED

Victims: Between mistakes and targeted killings

By Fakhri al-Arashi

The tragedy of easy killing in Yemen is likely to continue into the near future, striking unrelated targets undeserving of the death they are served. And of course, he unannounced war in Yemen brings no hope of improved security.

People see no big difference between the bloody terrorist killing of the military defense complex and the use of US drones in Yemen. While the first kills civilians as part of a fight against perceived western influence in the country (mainly Americans), the second—drones—kills civilians in order to end the al-Qaeda presence in Yemen. The latter, in particular, will never be achieved this way.

Each wrong drone against al-Qaeda, brings more harm than good to Yemeni society and creates more sympathy for and collaboration with the organization. “My brother’s enemy is my enemy.” Sixty to seventy Yemeni youth join al-Qaeda with each new drone attack. The United States failed to learn from the al-Ma’jalah drone attack in Abyan, when four missiles fired at an encampment killed fourteen tribesmen, most of them women and children.

At that time, the State Department was aiming to physically eliminate three men, including Muhammed Saleh Al-Anbouri (known as Al-Kazimi) who was accused of organizing a suicide attack on Spanish tourists in 2007 and suspected of planning an attack against the US Embassy in Sana’a. Many more drones and missiles were fired at different areas throughout Yemen, killing dozens of al-Qaeda and hundreds of civilians. This newest attack—an unjustified drone strike launched on Thursday, December 12, 2013—killed 15 innocents in a wedding convoy in al-Baida’a.

The United States has to review its anti-terrorism plan in Yemen. Even Americans citizens call on their government daily condemning its acts in Yemen. Rather than continue these unnecessary acts of violence, the US should help the government of Yemen through economic channels in order to slow Yemen’s dramatic increases in poverty. This is one of the main obstacles to improving people’s thinking of what is right and wrong when it comes to ideologies and religious matters.

The victims of the al-Qaeda attacks against the military, when viewed together, might outnumber the victims of drone strikes in Yemen. These attacks, though, are still acceptable in society, for people can deal with them by rejecting violence from visible enemies. With drones, the opposite is true, so what need is there for drones that kill unrelated targets?