DRONE WATCH: Opposition to Drones in Yemen.
Christopher Swift, adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, traveled to Yemen this summer to interview 40 Yemeni tribal and religious leaders about the increasing U.S. drone attacks on that country. He found that the Yemeni public does not support the attacks. According to National Defense magazine, in a recent panel discussion at Georgetown, Swift said
“There is currently a shift in Yemen from drone attacks that target a particular individual to attacks that are “based upon generalize patterns of what we believe are militant characteristics and militant behavior," he said. Swift advocated a decrease in these “signature strikes,” saying they add to Yemeni concerns about civilian casualties and the United States impeding on their nation’s sovereignty.”
A report this morning by Reuters came to the same conclusion:
“Yemen's interim president has won U.S. praise for cooperating in a war on al Qaeda, but his recent public support for drone strikes that sometimes kill civilians could undermine his domestic popularity and stir sympathy for militants. …Yemenis complain the U.S. focus on militants is a violation of sovereignty that is driving many towards al Qaeda and diverting attention from other pressing issues such as unemployment, corruption, water depletion and economic revival.”