A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the town of Rada, 130 kilometres (85 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa, on January 21, 2012 (AFP Photo/Str) .... IF VIDEO DOES NOT PLAY BACK, GO to RT ...
Washington has ramped up its efforts against Al-Qaeda in Yemen, launching dozens of air attacks targeting the terror group. However it risks getting drawn into another military operation abroad.
In March alone, Washington backed at least six air strikes, killing both militants and civilians.
The US has been encouraging the Yemeni government to crack down on the insurgents, who have recently built on their gains in southern Yemen.
The latest government air strikes in Yemen’s south have killed 43 Al-Qaeda militants, officials say.
The government forces on Tuesday took control of the al-Rahha area in the southern province of Lahj. The military had pounded Al-Qaeda hideouts there for the past three days. The offensive followed an attack by militants on an army base in the area over the weekend.
However Charles Schmitz, president of the American Institute on Yemeni Studies, believes the US is playing a dangerous game in making no distinction between terrorists targeting their country and insurgents operating in Yemen. “The danger is that the United States will be drawn into a counter-insurgency operation,” he told RT.
He also questions how targeting is decided in these attacks. “What is the determination of who is a legitimate target and who is not? What determines your affiliation with Al-Qaeda?”
In September 2011, a US drone attack in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an important Al-Qaeda member and an American citizen. Two weeks later, his son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also a US citizen, was killed by another drone strike. “His only crime seems to have been being a son,” Schmitz points out.
In Schmitz’s opinion President Obama seems to be taking so much interest in Yemen because he wants to appear tough on Al-Qaeda. “So he’s doing everything possible to prevent any attack by Al-Qaeda.”