In the skies of the Arab desert nation of Yemen, drones are more common than rain.
Nine US drone strikes were conducted in a span of two weeks killing at least 31.
Some of the killed had links to al-Qaeda, but none were on Yemen’s most wanted terror list.
In the end of the day, they are dubbed terrorists.
Yemen’s hands are tied and can only watch its allies take lead.
Results are catastrophic at times, but the weak government is silenced.
Only Yemenis will pay for their errors.
In one attack, a major mistake was in the making.
A misdirected US drone killed 13 civilians, among them three women.
The country’s central province of al-Baitha was the sight of the attack, home of Yemen most ruthless and armed tribes.
No one apologized for their death. Silence hit the area and fears of retaliation grew. Families of the killed closed the town down.
These tribes don’t forget their dead.
They always seek revenge.
Al-Qaeda is enjoying the much needed recruitment moment.
The drone was a gift for the terror network.
The militants are now telling pro government tribes, “I told you so.”
The strike could force hundreds to join the lines of al-Qaeda, their once arch enemy.
It is not Jihad that drifts the tribes in the direction of al-Qaeda. It is revenge.
Under tribal law, they face two options: 1-live in disgrace and consider the dead as “casualties of war,” or 2- avenge for the death of their loved ones. Rarely do these tribes choose the first option.
The mission to uproot terrorism in Yemen just got even more difficult.
Militants are feeding off what they say are (unintentional) war mistakes.
In the end of the day, one thing is for sure -al-Qaeda is stronger today than it was yesterday, thanks to drones.
Lets search for better options to fight al-Qaeda. Options that do more good than bad.
Hakim Almasmari is an American journalist and Middle East expert based in Sana'a, Yemen. His work has appeared for many of the worlds top media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Washington Post, AlJazeera, Fox News, The Guardian, The National, USA Today among numerous others. He has also worked with some of the world’s top organizations. Reporting out of Yemen for nearly eight years, he is the current editor in chief for the Yemen Post. He is a university lecturer in the field of international media and also studied business and law. Considered one of the top experts on Yemen, Almasmari has closely worked with international strategic centers and think tanks helping them better understand Yemen. He is a frequent guest on many international TV outlets discussing current local and international affairs. Almasmari is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and speaks English and Arabic.