Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Yemen Parliament Banned Use of US Drones

Yemen’s parliament approved a non-binding motion on Sunday to end drone attacks in the country, in a sign of mounting opposition to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles against militants by the U.S. in the Middle East.
The U.S. says its drone program in Yemen has been able to contain al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which Washington considers the most active wing of the terrorist organization worldwide. Sunday’s proposal, which follows reports of a deadly drone strike earlier in the week on a wedding party, is seen as a recommendation to Yemen's president who holds veto power.

The non-binding motion needs to be approved by the president in order to have any political weight. At the moment, the motions passed by the Yemeni parliament are seen as no more than recommendations to the government, Reuters stressed.

Yemen’s parliament, which is dominated by the party of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Islamist Islah party, voted on Sunday in favour of halting drone attacks.

“The parliament appears to be giving orders to authorities, when it has lost its credibility long time ago,” said political analyst Abdelbari Tahar.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot frequently attack state institutions, the military and foreign missions in the country. On Dec. 5, 12 al-Qaida militants attacked the Yemeni defense ministry, killing 56 people and injuring more than 200.

“If the government fails to stop American planes from... bombing the people of Yemen, then it has no rule over us,” tribal chief Ahmad al-Salmani told AFP.

A section of the Yemeni public and the country's politicians agree that without drone attacks, AQAP would have widened its network in Yemen. However, critics among Yemeni nationals argue that civilian casualties from drone strikes stir anti-American sentiments and sympathetic attitudes toward the militants.

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