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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Drone strikes kill seven or eight suspected militants in Yemen, despite Obama’s promised change

Chicago anti-drone protest
image credit: World Can't Wait/Flickr
Madison Ruppert

It’s business as usual despite President Barack Obama’spromised changes to the U.S. drone program, with drone strikes killing seven or eight suspected al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen.

Yemen is the same country where U.S. citizens have been killed by the government without charge or trial, including a 16-year-old boy.

Obama promised to restrict drone strikes to cases where there was a “continuing and imminent” threat to the citizens of the United States, but just a matter of days ago that was apparently breached with the reported killing of a Pakistani Taliban leader.

Yet, in this case, it seems even clearer. One could at least argue that Wali Ur Rehman was a threat to U.S. citizens, but in this case no senior members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were reported killed, according to Long War Journal.

China’s Xinhua reports that the U.S. strike killed eight fighters and injured three others, citing a Yemeni government source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Two pick-up trucks carrying al-Qaida fighters were completely destroyed in the bombing. Eight terrorist were killed and three others seriously injured,” the unnamed government source said.

The U.S. drone reportedly fired three missiles at a convoy in the Mahfad region in Abyan province in southern Yemen. An additional security official confirmed the strike to Xinhua but stated that the identity of the individuals killed was not immediately known.

Reuters reported that seven suspected were killed in two separate strikes, citing an unnamed local security official.

Two relatively major Yemeni officials were killed recently, according to reports, including Colonel Abdel-Rahman Bashkeel, head of the criminal investigation department in Seiyun (also spelled Seyoun, Saywun, Say’un and Sayoun).

Bashkeel was killed on Saturday afternoon by a bomb placed in his car, according to an unnamed local security official.

Brigadier-General Yahya al-Omaisi (also spelled Umaysi), commander of the police force at the Seiyun airbase, was shot and killed by attackers on a motorcycle, according to a local official cited by Reuters.
The Associated Press, on the other hand, identified him as Colonel Yahya al-Umaysi, commander of an air base in Seiyun.

The unnamed official claimed that both the attacks appeared to be the work of AQAP which is also thought to be behind a recent spike in attacks against army officers and senior police and security officials. Three attacks were reported last week alone.

Global Post points out that the drone program in Yemen has been heavily criticized with some contending that it actually does more harm than good.

The problem with this latest U.S. strike is quite obvious given Obama’s recent pledge. These individuals were apparently a threat to the Yemeni government, not to U.S. citizens.

While we don’t know the identities of all of those killed and injured as of now, the fact that no senior leaders were reported killed is telling.

Will the Obama administration actually follow the promises recently made by Obama? So far they have not.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM - 9 PM PT/10 PM - 12 AM ET. Show page link here:http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at
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