US Drone Wars Broaden in 2012: Yemen Strikes Soar

More Strikes in Yemen Than Pakistan This Year

2012 isn’t quite over, but reflecting on the statistics of the overall drone war shows a major shift, with attacks down slightly in Pakistan, but more than made up for by a three-fold increase in attacks on Yemen.

The Pakistan drop, from 72 to 46, does not necessarily reflect a decrease in US operations there, but rather is a consequence of a stall in attacks early in the year after the US attacked Pakistani military forces in late November of 2011 and slowed their drone program in an effort to placate the Pakistanis.

The strikes in Pakistan might not pick back up right away in 2013 either, however, as the massive anti-US sentiment they generate might be particularly undesirable going into the next Pakistani elections, particularly with opposition parties like PTI running explicitly on pledges to drop the US attacks.

The increase in Yemen, however, is a trend likely to continue, as Yemeni ruler Maj. Gen. Hadi seems not to care about public opinion (likely a result of running in a single-candidate election) and keeps cheering the US attacks in spite of the very public backlash they are creating.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of