Yemen Asks US for Drones to Fight Al Qaeda

Yemeni president seeks military aid from the United States in a struggle to wipe out Al Qaeda in his fragile country.

Kochava Rozenbaum ,

(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstration
(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstration

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has called upon support from the United States to supply Yemen with drones in order to fight Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in the aftermath of threats that forced the temporary closure of embassies of many Western countries in Sanaa, according to the Daily Star.

President Hadi has been quoted by Yemen news agency, Saba, as telling police officials that 40 suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were killed in recent counter-terrorism operations and that Yemen vows to keep fighting the Islamists until they lay down their weapons.

After President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s removal from power in 2011, Hadi assumed leadership and gave support for Washington’s controversial drone strikes, which have increased under President Barack Obama.

"The drones that are conducting operations are part of the cooperation between us and the United States," Hadi told the cadets.

He further claimed that Yemen relied on the U.S. operations simply because it did not possess the advanced technology to carry out the “precise military missions” itself.

"I have discussed the issue of helping us acquire this technology with the U.S. administration," Hadi told Saba News.

Last year, with U.S. backing,  the Yemeni army was able to drive out Al Qaeda terrorists and their allies from strongholds which were seized during months of turmoil against Saleh's rule.

Al Qaeda has since regrouped and mounted attacks on government officials and installations.

"We will pursue them until they seek peace, give up their weapons and return to their senses as Yemeni citizens and not as enemies of Yemen, and kick out the foreigners who carry out these military attacks with them," Hadi said.

According to Hadi the use of drone strikes are the most accurate method for taking out Al Qaeda. International concern has increased for the stability of Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has used Yemen to plot numerous attacks. In October 2002 the terrorists attacked a U.S. warship and a French supertanker in Yemeni waters.

Yemen said earlier this month it had foiled a major Al Qaeda plot to seize two oil and gas export terminals and a provincial capital in the east of the country.