A pair of US drone strikes in Yemen’s Bayda Province have killed at least 10 people over the weekend, according to Yemeni officials, marking the first drone strikes to be conducted under President Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday.
Both drone strikes were in roughly the same rural area, with the first killing three “suspects” on motorcycles, and the second strike also hitting a vehicle, and killing seven people. Yemeni officials, as they always do, labeled all of the slain “armed fighters of al-Qaeda.”
The reliability of the determinations on who was slain in any given strike has been in substantial doubt during the Saudi war in Yemen, as most of the US special forces who had been spotting targets were withdrawn in the lead-up to the war, and it’s not clear how they get intelligence on who they’re aiming at, apart from hitting vehicles in areas known to have an al-Qaeda presence.
Marking the first strikes under Trump, the drone strikes may suggest that the policy of drone attacks against targets in nations in which the US is not at war is going to continue beyond the Obama Administration. Though drone strikes happened in the waning years of the Bush Administration, they grew substantially under President Obama, becoming a very controversial policy which has fueled anti-US sentiment in several nations that have been targeted.