US Drones Hunt al-Qaeda in Yemen

US wary of Afghanistan-esque PR backlash, hasn't fired shots yet
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2010 8:20 AM CST
In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, a US Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – In the wake of the failed Yemen mail bombs, the US is using a familiar weapon to hunt al-Qaeda in Yemen: The controversial Predator drone. Yet no shots have been fired thus far, reports the Washington Post, due to iffy intelligence on insurgents' whereabouts and American fears of re-creating the anti-American sentiment seen in Afghanistan over botched strikes and civilian casualties.

"Why gain enemies right now?" asks a senior Yemeni official. "Americans are not rejected in Yemen; the West is respected. Why waste all this for one or two strikes when you don't know who you're striking?" America, meanwhile, is expected to double aid to Yemen to $250 million and is pushing for increased permissions in the nation; "Where we are right now with our capabilities, and with our authorities and permissions," says one White House official, the hunt for al-Qaeda "might look very different in 12 months or 18 months,"

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