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Drones or American trials without Judicature

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Dr. Haifa AlMaashi

Director, Geo-strategic Affairs Division

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A distress message sent by a citizen of South Yemen specifically  from Hadramout to Aden Live, the TV channel of  the Southern Movement, demanded the broadcaster to publish his warnings to the world that the Yemeni government might use drones to stop the protests of citizens there under the name of terrorism.
The different reactions locally, regionally and internationally for the use of drones as an optimum method to get rid of those who are categorized as terrorists reflects a critical indicator on the existence of serious problems concerning the manner and purpose of this method.
The skyrocketing numbers of drones during almost a decade raises questions. The number jumped from 50 aircrafts to 7,500 in the American Pentagons famous program which was introduced since 2002 [1].  This demonstrates that the American leadership has ignored adverse reactions and focused on the positive responses, as drones successful by all standards from the perspective of its ability to eliminate leaders and figures of Al-Qaeda.
In spite of the objections in the United States,  the corridors of the U.S. government and outside the United States , which are represented in the popular protests inside Pakistan and Yemen, the review of this paper has not yet come, especially since the U.S. government is able to eliminate the heads of terrorist groups  using air attacks that does not cost the US the loss of human lives, but , unfortunately, may cost international credibility with increasing numbers of innocent victims in the areas of attack [2].
Popular protests in both Pakistan and Yemen are no longer spontaneous, but turned into a well organised protest, especially with the adoption of the rejection of this medium by partisan, political or official forces or opposition within those governments. It is not unlikely if the casualties continue, those demonstrations would turn to widespread popular protests which will undermine the peaceful U.S. role in the Middle East as a whole. This has already begun in Pakistan after the killing of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and was followed by the killing of the son of the leader of the Haqqani network. It has been suggested that the Yemeni parliament recently voted on a law that bans the use of drones in the skies of Yemen following the attack on a wedding ceremony killing several people attending the wedding in the town of Rada in the province of Al-Bayda [3], but under this worn government and weak political system it is unlikely this law will be implemented.
More critical is that the governments that support the use of this medium to get rid of terrorist cells, whether in Pakistan or Yemen, exploited it as political cover to achieve the ambitions and political interests of their regimes, which may raise great doubts about the legitimacy of the indiscriminate use of drones and the legitimacy of its goals as that instead of getting rid of al-Qaeda terrorism has become a new way of state terrorism. It has become a means for government to terrify citizens who oppose to government policy, and perhaps the earliest example occurred recently in Yemen highlights this issue. In the midst of the so-called popular donation announced by the tribes of Alhmoum in Hadhramaut in southern Yemen in retaliation for the killing of its leader, Saad bin Ahmed bin Habrish was launched on December 20, under the guidance of a popular movement of a special type described by the official media metaphorically the armed struggle it was widely spread that some military commanders in Hadramout did not hesitate to threaten tribal leaders that unless they retract their movements, whether peaceful or armed they will be considered terrorists and they will not hesitate to report them to the U.S. government to strike them with the drone .
If this horrifying issue becomes reality, serious questions could be raised about the limits of the American observation of the offensive operations targeting Al-Qaida in Yemen, and to which extent U.S. military leaders are informed on the details of the attack and the limits of the existing cooperation between the U.S. government and the Yemeni government in the resolution of the attack. This could reflect indicators that demonstrate negligence, bypassing or ignoring to what is happening  with the uses of this medium, which directly challenges the general American policy in the region.



Dr. Haifa Al Maashi is a Senior Research at b'huth


(1) For more information please refer to: Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of killing Trageted. You can visit: http://newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/articles/TESTIMONY_BERGEN_DRONES.pdf
(2) The number of victims in Pakistan increased from 20,003 to 30321 since 2004 to Mid Arpil 2013 and in Yemen since the first attack in 2002 until 2013 the drones operations claimed the life of 467 to 674 person from Al Qaeda, civilians and unidentified persons. You can visit:
(3) Reference: Yemeni Parlement vote to ban the use of drones in attacks, French Media Agency, link:

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