US Pounds Southern Yemen, Kills 30 ‘Suspects’

Drone Attacks Back Regime Offensive in Abyan Province

US drones pounded the southern Yemeni province of Abyan again overnight and into today, killing at least 30 people, all of whom were termed “al-Qaeda suspects” by the Yemeni government.

Yemeni officials said they had benefitted immensely from the strikes, and that after months of failed attempts to retake the province the militant forces were now pushed back to the area immediately surrounding the provincial capital of Zinjibar.

The US has been regularly launching air strikes against the Abyan Province, killing scores of “suspects” in an attempt to help the floundering Saleh regime reclaim it. Beyond Abyan, however, Saleh has continued to lose provinces nationwide to a variety of opposition movements.

This has led to a growing anti-US sentiment and distrust about the nation’s intentions in Yemen, as rebels in the far north recently regarded a suicide car bombing as a likely US plot attempting to kill rebel leadership in another province long out of Saleh’s control.

Though on an international stage the US has attempted to take a more measured position, supporting Major General Hadi as a replacement dictator for Saleh in many cases, within the nation the regular use of air strikes to prop up a regime in the process of a brutal crackdown on dissent nationwide is making a much louder case that the American interest is in the status quo.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.