The travel warning for Yemen the U.S. State Department issued in April 2015 describes a “high security threat level . . . due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.”
Citing continuing activity by organizations like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the warning specifies that the “U.S. government remains extremely concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens.” This is no doubt a valid concern, especially in light of the ongoing United States drone campaign in Yemen and the fact that, as The Washington Post puts it, “the U.S. keeps killing Americans in drone strikes, mostly by accident.” Non-Americans perish at a much higher rate.
If we want to talk about “terrorist activities,” it’s hardly a stretch to point out that the United States is directly and indirectly responsible for terrorizing broad swathes of the Yemeni population. Since the inauguration of its covert action program in Yemen in 2002, the United States has killed up to 1,580 people and wounded hundreds more, according to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The casualties are often collateral damage, not intended targets. Death and injury randomly visited upon unsuspecting victims naturally boosts the sense of terror among Yemenis who, by mere circumstance of their geographic location, are eligible for just such a fate.
Other casualty statistics cast doubt on U.S. claims that it is effectively combating terror. According to a report on Yemen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “as many as 40 civilians” were killed by drones from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. The civilian casualties of AQAP-claimed attacks were reported to be “at least 24,” all of them occurring after the March commencement of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s aerial bombardment of the country—a lethal intervention into Yemen’s civil war by a coalition that also includes Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, and the Arab states on the Persian Gulf. READ MORE AT THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR.