Anti-US protests are now a regular occurrence in Yemen, with demonstrators blasting the drone strikes and the large number of innocent bystanders slain in the attacks, warning the damage far outweighs the number of militants killed.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been largely ambivalent about the complaints, cheering the drone strikes and insisting in one interview that “9/11” obliges Yemen to allow drone strikes.
They ignore this sentiment at their peril. This weekend Pakistan went to the polls with similar anti-US resentment and the ruling PPP, seen as the US allies, were soundly defeated, setting the stage for a new government that is demanding an end to the drone war.
General Hadi’s rise to president came in a very different way, as the only candidate allowed on the ballot, loudly endorsed by the US in a sham election. Yet sooner or later he too is liable to face an actual election with a real opponent, and it must be obvious to him at this point that backing the drone strikes is political suicide. The only question is how long he can afford to continue looking the other way.