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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/1/13

A young Yemeni writer on the impact and morality of drone-bombing his country

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Source: The Guardian

The 24-year-old Ibrahim Mothana speaks eloquently and insightfully about what the US is doing to his country. We should listen


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Ibrahim Mothana Photograph: Facebook

Ibrahim Mothana is a 24-year-old Yemeni writer and activist. I first became aware of him when he wrote an extraordinary Op-Ed in the New York Times last year urging Americans to realize how self-destructive and counter-productive was Obama's escalating drone campaign in his country, writing:

"Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair. ...

"Anti-Americanism is far less prevalent in Yemen than in Pakistan. But rather than winning the hearts and minds of Yemeni civilians, America is alienating them by killing their relatives and friends. ...Certainly, there may be short-term military gains from killing militant leaders in these strikes, but they are minuscule compared with the long-term damage the drone program is causing. A new generation of leaders is spontaneously emerging in furious retaliation to attacks on their territories and tribes. ...

"Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen -- including the assassination of three American citizens in September 2011, including a 16-year-old. During George W. Bush's presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush's policies.

"Defenders of human rights must speak out. America's counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for A.Q.A.P. [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world."

Since then, I've watched his work and have periodically spoken with him on various matters, and am unfailingly impressed by the thoughtful, smart and sophisticated way he thinks about these issues. Ibrahim was invited to travel to Washington to testify before a Senate sub-committee which met last week to examine the legality and wisdom of Obama's drone program. He was unable to attend, so one of his friends, Farea al-Muslimi, testified instead, and was eloquent and powerful.

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