US Drone Strikes Kill 20 Near Contested Yemeni Town of Rada

All Slain Labelled ‘al-Qaeda Suspects’

by Jason Ditz

If you thought the situation in Yemen couldn’t possibly be made more complicated, you haven’t been paying close attention to US foreign policy, which finds a way to insinuate itself at the most inopportune times imaginable.

Already being contested by multiple fighting forces, US drones launched multiple attacks near the key Yemeni town of Rada, killing 20 people, all of whom were labeled “suspected al-Qaeda.”

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been defending Rada, alongside Sunni tribal allies, from arecent offensive by the Shi’ite Houthis, who are themselves backed by parts of the Yemeni military.

The US drone campaign has long targeted AQAP, and that’s not a surprise. Yet getting itself so directly involved in a battle between AQAP and the Houthis risks being controversial, particularly with the Saudi government openly talking about fighting against the Houthis’ expansion in Yemen.