The young U.S. administration of Donald Trump has carried out at least 70 airstrikes in Yemen, more than twice as many as those carried out in 2016 under the Obama administration, according to data provided by the Pentagon.
The Pentagon said Monday that the United States had carried out 20 airstrikes in Yemen just last week, many in the media were quick to point out that the total for 2017 so far is more than double that of last year.
The U.S. military said the airstrikes were carried out by unmanned drones allegedly against targets and fighters belonging to al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, regarded as one of the terrorist group’s most powerful factions.
The Trump administration had also carried out a limited operation in Yemen against a high-ranking al-Qaida commander, which was not granted by former President Barack Obama for being too risky, and killed more than 30 Yemeni civilians and one U.S. special forces officer.
Yemen is also under another military attack by Saudi Arabia and 12 of its regional allies who have been bombing the country on a daily basis since March 2015, killing more than 10,000 people, many of them civilians.
The Obama administration expanded the use of drones in his country’s controversial and global war on terror that was initiated by his predecessor following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But the United States is also bombing several other Muslim-majority countries in the region.
In 2016, the Obama administration dropped 26,171 bombs on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan during the year, according to a report issued in January by the New York City-based think tank, the Council of Foreign Relations.
The figure amounts to an average of 72 bombs every day, the equivalent of three an hour. Most of those airstrikes took place in Iraq and Syria, where the United States is purportedly leading a coalition against the Islamic State group.
The report said that only 34 bombs were dropped in Yemen in 2016, keeping with a similar trend of previous years. Over the next few years, Trump seems intent on escalating Obama’s drone war in Yemen.