Drone strike in Yemen lead to more support for al Qaeda

Washington Post:
Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States. 
After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists. 
“These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March. 
Since January, as many as 21 missile attacks have targeted suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen, reflecting a sharp shift in a secret war carried out by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command that had focused on Pakistan. 
But as in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where U.S. drone strikes have significantly weakened al-Qaeda’s capabilities, an unintended consequence of the attacks has been a marked radicalization of the local population. 
The evidence of radicalization emerged in more than 20 interviews with tribal leaders, victims’ relatives, human rights activists and officials from four provinces in southern Yemen where U.S. strikes have targeted suspected militants. They described a strong shift in sentiment toward militants affiliated with the transnational network’s most active wing, al-Qaeda in the ­Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. 
“The drone strikes have not helped either the United States or Yemen,” said Sultan al-Barakani, who was a top adviser to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “Yemen is paying a heavy price, losing its sons. But the Americans are not paying the same price.”
... 
The cost benefit probably still favors the drone strikes over not doing them and allowing al Qaeda to operate with impunity.   The story also indicates how illogical these primitive people can be.

The strikes have hampered the ability of the enemy to mass his forces and control real estate.  A more logical reaction by the locals would be to tell al Qaeda to stay away from them.

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