In The Media

Drone Attacks Resume in Yemen Under Trump’s Presidency

Written by Staff

The targets were Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) militants and were the first strikes since Donald Trump took office as president of the United States. US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokerson said that the targets were in the town of Al-Bayda. Trump did not need to sign off on the strikes. President Obama had earlier given General Joseph Votel of the US Central Command the power to order the raids. According to Davis 5 AQAP members were killed. Yemen is currently involved in a civil war between Houthi rebels and the internationally-recognized government of Mansour Hadi supported by the Saudis the US and gulf states. Davis said: “(Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) remains a significant threat to the region and the United States,.(Al Qaeda) is using the unrest in Yemen to provide a haven from which to plan future attacks against the US and its interests. We remain committed to defeating (al Qaeda in Yemen) and denying it a safe haven.” In his inauguration speech on Friday Trump vowed to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth. Perhaps the renewed drone strikes are meant to show he means to keep his promise. The US has been conducting drone strikes in Yemen against Al Qaeda since 2002. They are still being justified by the 2001 congressional authorization to use military force against the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. However, some of the attacks have been against the Islamic State that did not even exist at the time. Trump may very well escalate the drone attacks. Some predict attacks will resume in Pakistan. Trump has chosen members of his administration with contradictory views on the drone program. Trump said during the campaign that the families of terrorists should be attacked and complained that Obama’s war against the Islamic State was a politically correct war. Presumably, Trump will not pay any attention to critics who claim drone attacks kill many innocent civilian. The new director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said in 20013: “I believe the president needs a lot of space to maneuver.He should have a lot of authority to make decisions about when they’ve identified someone who is trying to kill Americans, to be able to go in and get them.” On the other hand Michael Flynn nominated to be Trump’s National Security Adviser said to Al Jazeera in January 2016: “When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are gonna cause more damage than you’re gonna cause good,” adding that “there should be a different approach.” General James Mattis Trump’s nominee for Defense Secretary supported increased air strikes in Yemen. However, he has also warned carrying out drone strikes could give a false impression that a situation was manageable. Trump often picks members of his team who have contradictory views. He always has a choice of choosing to follow the advice of the team member who agrees with him or alternatively defer to a view different than his own.

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