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Tag: Yemen
Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012) Dodging the drones: How militants have responded (September 21 2012)

Aaron Y Zelin the American researcher focusing on Salafi politics, global jihadi activism and reactions to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa has published an article on Afpak titled ‘Dodging the drones: How militants have responded to the covert US campaign’. Zelin states “Over the past decade U.S. drone strikes have killed between 1,800 and 3,100 people in Pakistan, along with hundreds more in drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia, as a result of the United States’ efforts to combat al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The rise in strikes since the beginning of the Obama administration, and the growing stridency of questions surrounding the legal, moral, and practical efficacy of the program, have led to a lively debate among the commentariat. This debate is indeed important, but it is also crucial to understand how the drone program has affected the jihadis, and how jihadis have deployed the issue of drones in their propaganda. This is a necessary part of gaining a wider understanding of whether the program is a worthwhile endeavor. …In the documents collected by Navy SEALs during their raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan last May, bin Laden nicknamed Pakistan’s tribal areas the “circle of espionage” for the network of spies that helps identify targets and place tracking devices for the strikes. …The fear of infiltrators has created an atmosphere of paranoia within the jihadi movement, and has led many of al-Qaeda’s operatives in the Pakistani tribal areas to move to more urban areas like Karachi. …Bin Laden also suggested that individuals flee to Afghanistan’s Kunar province, where he thought they would be safer from the spy networks that have supported the drone campaign.”


Inspired by Afpak image source Washinton Institute

Mirza Shahzad Akbar the Pakistani lawyer and director at the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, renowned for his legal action against the USA for drone strikes in Pakistan, has criticized the USA for authorizing drone strikes in Yemen. In an article by Jason Koebler on Aljazeera, Akbar states “They can’t kill them if they know someone is a low value target, however they can kill if they don’t know that person… They have a checklist, and here’s what they’re looking for—Are they carrying weapons? Do they have a beard and a turban? Are they traveling with a large group of people? Well, everyone in that area carries a weapon, a beard is part of the religion, turban is part of the culture. As for traveling in a group, well, it’s a society that has bigger families. If you’re looking for a pattern like this, you’re killing citizens and civilians. …The CIA is, so far, the only source of information. Look at the quality of the information they give you—it’s nothing. Who are they killing? Who are these people? What are their names? They say they’re taking out the bad guys, but the facts on the ground are very different, there are a huge number of women, children, elderly and incapacitated people. …Once people learn what’s really happening, they’ll complain. People need to make an informed decision.”

Inspired by Jason Koebler image source Twitter

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the 73 year old President of Liberia has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Tawakel Karman of Yemen and Leymah Gbowee also of Liberia. The prize recognized the women “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”. Sirleaf is the first and only elected female head of any state in Africa. Thorbjorn Jagland, a former prime minister of Norway, leads the Nobel committee that chose the winners released the citation for the award stating “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society”. During her term Sirleaf signed into law a Freedom of Information bill, the first of its kind in West Africa.


  1. Inspired by France24 image source Agencia Brasil
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