America has expanded its covert war in Yemen, deploying fighter jets and unmanned drones to bombard terrorist camps and enclaves.According to The New York Times, the campaign began anew after a year-long pause in airstrikes. Washington officials claim that American and Saudi intelligence are now pulling in greater amounts of actionable information that enables more targeted strikes.
The greatest concern today is that militant factions will provide “accurate” but misleading information to bring strikes down on their opponents.
The air attacks continue to be a thorny issue with Yemenis. The U.S. ambassador in Yemen has met with leaders of the opposition. Party leaders have confirmed their commitment to allowing operations against al Qaeda to continue regardless of who succeeds Saleh.
This is welcome news for the Obama Administration, which has had to keep the drone strikes a closely guarded secret. Saleh placed a limit on the number of strikes he would allow and publicly maintained that all operations were conducted by his own forces.
With Saleh receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia the U.S. has stepped up the strikes dramatically.
“We’ve seen the regime move its assets away from counterterrorism and toward its own survival,” said Christopher Boucek, a Yemen expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “But as things get more and more chaotic in Yemen, the space for the Americans to operate in gets bigger,” he said.
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