The third drone strike in Yemen reported just this week, officials with the pro-Saudi faction in Yemen are saying that a US drone attacked and destroyed a car traveling in the Maarib Province, claiming four”suspected al-Qaeda fighters” were killed.
Only one of the people killed in the attack were named, and claimed as a “local commander.” The US offered no statement of their own backing up the assessment that those slain were members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). All too often, this remains the case, with many victims never identified publicly at all.
“Signature strikes,” in which US drones attack people simply because they look from the drone’s view like they’re doing something like AQAP would do, has killed a large number of people with no definitive connection to terror. This often can be as simple as several cars driving in the same general vicinity on a usually sparsely traveled road being assumed to be a “convoy.”
The US withdrew their ground forces from Yemen in early 2015, ahead of the Saudi invasion, and thus has little active intelligence on the ground. Despite this, the drone strikes never really stopped, meaning that the drone campaign was not particularly reliant on having accurate data on who is being killed.