The innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the U.S. and al Qaeda look very similar

The Independent reports: I have encountered two separate Yemens this past week: the one portrayed in Western media outlets and the other reality of living in Sana’a. One was rife with conflict and insecurity, the other associated with the navigation of the capital’s gridlocked traffic. Yet the two Yemens collided in a visceral way for most people.

The al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot, described vaguely by President Obama as a “threat stream”, and the subsequent US embassy closure in Sana’a were far from the minds of most Yemenis. Most were more preoccupied with the approaching conclusion of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and the political direction of the nation, most notably the United Nations-backed National Dialogue Conference, which aims at drafting a new constitution before elections in February.

Then, the calm and pre-Eid excitement in Sana’a was punctured on Tuesday morning, two days before the end of Ramadan. Sana’a residents were shocked and terrified by the strange buzzing sound that accompanied an unfamiliar aircraft hovering above the capital, which followed a morning drone strike in the Hadramaut region.

The buzzing induced terror in residents, and speculation between friends and family as well as on social media. The capital was abuzz with concern about drone strikes in different sections of the city. The terror was unquantifiable. [Continue reading…]

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