Skip to comments.The first steps towards criminalizing drone strikes, Obama take note
Posted on 08/06/2013 7:19:51 AM PDT by EBH
Americas actions are legal claimed President Obama in a speech on drones earlier this year. It was the latest in a string of attempts made by his administration to justify covert strikes carried out by the U.S. overseasin countries including the Arab peninsulas poorest nation, Yemen.
But back in Yemens capital Sanaa, it appears the countrys civil society disagrees. Members of Yemens National Dialogue Conference (NDC) a U.S.-supported initiative which will map out Yemens post-Arab Spring futureoverwhelmingly voted to criminalize drone strikes in Yemen. The Yemeni people have spoken. Now Presidents Hadi and Obama must listenfor their own sake, as much as that of Yemen.
While it is clear that no leader may lawfully authorise another sovereign to slaughter his own people, the decision to criminalize drones strikes sends a clear warning message to Hadiif the current practice is to continue, it may well lead to a criminal prosecution.
But it is not only the threat of a jail cell that should focus the Yemeni Presidents mind. Through his unconditional consent to the use of drones in his country, President Hadi has already alienated many of his supporters, especially those, like him, from the south, which bear the brunt of the strikes.
Moreover, Hadi, like his U.S. counterpart, is concerned about his legacy. As Yemens first post-revolutionary president, the coming few months will test Hadis commitment to a stable Yemen through the NDC. In a meeting this week with John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hadi stated that he hoped that the dialogue will lead Yemen into security and stability. The members of the NDC are certainly working to achieve this end. Criminalizing drone strikes is an essential step towards a stable Yemen.
It is also in the interest of the U.S. to respect the NDCs decision. Hypocrisy rankles. And hypocrisy is what Yemenis see when the U.S. preaches democracy and funds democratic processes and ignores outcomes it doesnt like. The U.S. cant just ditch those NDC decisions it doesnt like.
Obama has argued that he is acting to safeguard Americas national security interests. Yet the truth of the matter is that drones are counter-productive. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since its start, the U.S. drones campaign in Yemen has killed a significant number of civilians including children and women. And with every death, the ranks of Al-Qaeda swell.
Nothing illustrates the wrong-headedness of the U.S. drone program better than the story of Jaber Salim, a Yemeni scholar known for denouncing Al-Qaeda. Jabers family always worried he would be targeted by militants, in revenge for his strong denunciations of their actions. But in the end it was a U.S. drone strike in Hadramout last August which ended his life. Jaber was a natural ally for the US in Yemenyet as a result of the drone program, he is instead being used as a recruitment tool for extremists.
Unfortunately, these incidents do not stand alonescores of remote villages and tiny towns in Yemen have faced similar fates. And what purpose have they served? Well, they certainly helped promote Al-Qaedas agenda in the region. How many times have we heard of drone victims being used as a propaganda tool for extremists? Plenty.
Obama is now achieving the complete opposite of what he wanted. Some militants may have died through these strikes, but the U.S. is losing the long battle for hearts and minds. U.S. support for the NDC is a renewed means of reassuring the people of Yemen about Americas goodwill. But really, for the process to have any meaningful outcome, its decisions must be respected.
Hadi was right this week when he said that despite the NDC, Yemen is still in need of the international communitys support. He should have, however, made clear that Yemen needs growth, not missiles. The NDCs decision to criminalise drone strikes is a test for the USs seriousness in supporting the democratic transitional process in Yemen. Is America going to listen this time?
Ghada Eldemellawy is an investigator at the London-based NGO, Reprieve.
0bama is an imbecile.
How o how did enough voters vote his way? And how o how did so few vote the other way?
Look not to the voters, but to the people who count the votes.
Is this Soetoro's version of "Wag the Dog?"
Can there be any more confusion?
Sure...somewhere there is a post about more drone strikes this past week!
Bump for later...