An Obama administration plan expanding CIA use of armed drones to hunt for Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen risks exacerbating the country's march toward civil war.
A US official told The Washington Post this week that the administration may expand its current military drone campaign over Yemen by bringing in a CIA drone group to find and root out Al Qaeda operatives, much like it does in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Washington is concerned that ongoing unrest in Yemen will give Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) cover to organize and plan attacks and intensify fighting between Yemeni forces and Islamic militants, who have recently captured the town of Zinjibar in south-central Yemen.
But inherent risks come with greater reliance on drones. Previous strikes in Yemen have had devastating consequence, killing innocent people and adding to the economic trouble and social turmoil of a country in the midst of civil war. Many Yemenis worry that deploying more air assaults will only make matters worse.