US drone strikes are already a regular part of the picture in Southern Yemen, with regular attacks on government buildings in the Abyan Province targeting the Ansar al-Sharia group that wrested them away from the Saleh regime.
At the same time, we are constantly reminded by officials that the CIA is hard at work, building runways and secret airbases in the region which will be used in the months and years to come in a protracted drone war inside Yemen, or whatever is left of it after public protests and secessionist movements have split it into a number of rival regions with a US-backed dictator trying to pick up the pieces.
Its business as usual for the new, kill-happy CIA, but experts are also warning that the drone strikes are likely to not only fail at returning the nation to regime control, but play neatly into the narrative set up by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that they are fighting to defend the nation from US meddling.
According to Sydney University’s Dr. Sarah Phillips, AQAP has been largely failing at shoe-horning their brand of radical Islam on local tribesmen, with blunders issuing a ban on women leaving the home in a farming region where women regularly work the fields. These sorts of moves, she warned, will be much easier for tribesmen to overlook if US drones are killing civilians in large numbers, as they are in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The drone war, then, is laying the foundation for a stronger, more credible AQAP and more anti-US blowback.