Hadi’s pro-drone comments garner negative response from Yemeni citizens

Published on 1 October 2012 in News
Ahmed Dawood (author)

Ahmed Dawood


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SANA’A, Sept. 29 — A considerable number of Yemenis said they resented recent comments made by President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi in the presence of American journalists and with respect to U.S. drone strikes in Yemen.

Hadi said he is not opposed to any American drone strikes in Yemen so long as these strikes target Al-Qaeda affiliates. He hailed the drone strikes as a technical miracle helping to curb any gains made in the region this past year by Al-Qaeda.  

Ali Al-Falahi, a 33-year-old Yemeni, expressed his resentment about the president’s statement, saying, “I didn’t expect Hadi to speak like that. I wished he would criticize the planes that break into our nation. I was extremely astonished to hear such a speech.”

Abdullah Ismael, editor-in-chief of Al-Wahdawi newspaper, said he is against such a statement, adding that Hadi doesn’t seem to take advantage of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s experience.

“Now, Hadi is repeating the same mistakes,” Ismael said.

Ismael said Yemenis put their trust in Hadi, yet he is copying the ways of the former president, who was ousted in 2011 after a popular uprising calling for his removal from office.

Facing terrorism is an internal business, he said, and Hadi ought to only take advantage of American training, preparation and experience.

“However, to accept the killing of Yemenis goes against the law of the country,” he said. “No Yemeni is to be killed without a fair trial.”

For his part, Noor Al-Deen Al-Azazi, head of the Yemeni Center for Civil Rights, condemned Hadi’s comments and said he hoped the president would withdraw his words.

“The American planes have become free to come and go in the Yemeni skies, striking many locations as if it is normal,” he said. “This is a blatant violation of Yemenis’ rights.”

Al-Azazi said he questioned Hadi’s acceptance of what he calls a violation of national sovereignty.

“It is true we are suffering from terrorism, but the American drones kill innocent Yemenis by mistake. I don’t know how this can continue and how the American drones are accepted to storm Yemenis even though a huge revolution broke out against the former regime.”  

He went on to say, “This is unacceptable. We will not allow this to go on. We hope Hadi will withdraw his statement and not say such words once again.”

In an interview with journalists from the Washington Post newspaper, Hadi said, “Every operation, before taking place, they take permission from the president.”

In the same interview, Hadi also said, “The drone technologically is more advanced than the human brain.”

Hadi provided new details regarding the counterterrorism operation center located near Sana’a. He told the Post that the center helps monitor counterterrorism operations, and the center includes army and intelligence personnel from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

“You go to the operations center and see operations taking place step by step,” Hadi said in the interview.

Mohammed Ali Hadi, a youth in Sana’a’s Change Square, said Hadi’s statement was provocative, indicating that the youth revolution was sparked to liberate Yemen from domination and submission.

“The American drone strikes prove undoubtedly that Yemen is not free from being submissive.”

The youth revolutionaries will continue their struggle for the purpose of making Yemen a real civil state capable of defending its sovereignty by a powerful army and strong will, separate from foreign interference, Mohammed Ali Hadi said.  

Approximately 50 civilians were killed in a drone strike in Al-Majala district in Abyan governorate in 2009. Additionally, an unidentified plane killed 11 civilians in Al-Baida governorate at the outset of this month. The American strikes have successfully targeted many Al-Qaeda members in several provinces of Yemen.