First drone strike in Yemen in 3 months

The strike targeted Hammed al-Masea Meftah (Hamed Radman), who allegedly had ties to AQAP, and  four other suspects. It took place in Wessab, a village in the Dhammar province 140km south of Sanaa, the country’s capital.

Farea Al-Muslimi, a youth activist and writer from this village, wrote a piece in Al-Monitor in response to this strike:

I was stunned by both the news of the drones and the fact that someone in Wessab, the Yemeni capital of misery with its beautiful mountains no one from outside remembers, had connections with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The last time high-level governmental officials visited the village was in 2003, when the governor of the province attended an election rally and engaged in electoral fraud to help the ruling party candidate win.

The strike was the first in over three months and the first in the entire Dhammar province, which Wessab is part of. In the past, I had celebrated this respite, but it seems that the unwise US policy of drone strikes in Yemen has resumed, and in my village this time…

Drones have a tremendous psychological effect on those living in their shadows. Villagers say drones hovered over Wessab for three days before they struck. The ominous buzz of the drones terrorizes communities. Where will they strike? Will I be next? These are the questions youngsters now grow up asking.

The “collateral damage” of drones cannot just be measured in corpses. Drones are traumatizing a generation and further alienating Yemenis from any cooperation with the West, or even with the Yemeni central government.

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