Yemeni Tells Senate Committee about Drone Attack on his Village

The World

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator, unmanned aerial vehicle, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, performs a low altitude pass during the Aviation Nation 2005 air show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in this November 13, 2005 USAF handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2013. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Hall/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTR3DF76

REUTERS

Last week, a US drone strike on the Yemeni village of Wessab reportedly killed five people, including the target, a man said to be a member of al-Qaeda. A young man from that village traveled to Washington to speak to the Senate Judiciary committee Tuesday. His name is Farea al-Muslimi and he's no stranger to the United States. Much of his schooling was paid for by the US State Department. He attended a year of high school in California. And he considers himself a bridge for understanding between the American and Yemeni people. His role was put to the test April 17, the night of the drone strike, when friends and relatives from Wessab started phoning and texting him in the Yemeni capital Sana'a. "You know they're very simple farmers," al-Muslimi told The World's Marco Werman, "and it was fearful, the fact that something weird, noisy comes from the sky and throws a bomb at night. And people don't know what that is." Al-Muslimi told The World that the reported target of the strike, Hammed al-Masea Meftah, also known as Hammed al-Radmi, had been seen talking with village officials in Wessab that very day. He said people in Wessab could not understand why a US drone attack was necessary. "And it doesn't make sense to them that if you had picked up the phone, and told them 'Arrest this man, bring him to the capital, we need him.' They would have have done it themselves." In his Senate testimony, al-Muslimi tried to explain the impact on Yemenis of the drone program in Yemen. "The problem is," he told The World, "When you draft policies in DC, the thing that is totally missed is the war with AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) in Yemen is not anymore. It's a war of mistakes. The fewer mistakes, the more you win. Unfortunately the drones have made more mistakes than AQAP has ever done."
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