In Spite of Obama Transparency Pledge, U.S. Silent on Yemen Drone Strike that Killed Child
Investigative news sources have reported that a U.S. drone strike last month in Yemen killed a small child—a fact that has gone unacknowledged by the Obama administration despite the president’s recent pledge to be more transparent about the drone war against terrorists.
On June 9, a missile attack destroyed an SUV in the northern province of al Jawf, killing at least six people. The target of the drone strike was Saleh Hassan Huraydan, who was considered an al-Qaeda chief.
But among those killed was Huraydan’s young brother, Abdulaziz, who was 10 years old.
The civilian casualty was the first prominent report of its kind since President Barack Obama pledged in May “to facilitate transparency and debate” about the U.S. war on al-Qaeda-linked militants beyond Afghanistan. In his speech, Obama also said “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” in a strike.
Days later, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that policy when he said, “We do not fire when we know there are children or collateral—we just don't do it.”
When contacted by the media about the boy’s death, neither the White House nor the Central Intelligence Agency would comment.
Characterized by a Yemeni journalist as al-Qaeda’s “greatest mind” in the province, Huraydan was also wanted by the Yemeni government. The U.S. strike, which involved firing five missiles at the vehicle, has enraged local citizens.
“Killing al Qaeda is one thing, but the death of an innocent person is a crime that we cannot accept,” a local sheikh told McClatchy for its article about the attack. “What did Abdulaziz do? Was this child a member of al Qaeda?”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Boy’s Death in Drone Strike Tests Obama’s Transparency Pledge (by Cora Currier, ProPublica)
Boy’s Death Highlights Anger Some Yemenis Feel over U.S. Drone Strikes (by Adam Baron, McClatchy)
Latest Reported US Strikes: Pakistan June 7 & Yemen June 9 (Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
Senate Debate: Are Drone Attacks Creating More Enemies than They Kill? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Yemeni Government Covers Up U.S. Responsibility for Civilian Drone Deaths (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Third U.S. Citizen Killed by Obama’s Yemen Drone Strikes was a 16-Year-Old Boy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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