Many Yemenis were hoping to hear a good speech from their “elected” president highlighting Yemen's humanitarian, economic and political needs and the challenges the country is currently facing. The last thing they expected during his visit to the US was a speech praising US drones.
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi's speech at Washington's Woodrow Wilson International Center on Friday (September 28) was followed by statements to reporters in which he praised and approved US drone attacks.” This caused a stir among netizens, especially among Yemenis who have expressed anger and opposition against drone strikes in Yemen.
If anything, the fact that Hadi said what he said should demonstrate how out of sync he is with Washington. The first rule of Obama’s drone policy has always been “try not to talk about drone policy,” and when that fails, it’s “absolutely don’t ever take responsibility for specific actions.” Now President Hadi has gone in front of the whole world and said that any time someone gets blown up after dark in Yemen, the Americans did it. This is hardly a man in lockstep with the US administration.
Also in reference to Hadi's speech Will Picard tweeted:
@YemenPeaceNews: #Hadi: #Yemen is facing 3 crises: political, economic, and security. What about humanitarian, Mr. President? Seriously?
Not only did the president openly acknowledge the US drone attacks, much to the dismay of the US administration, but he took full responsibility for the attacks by endorsing them. “Every operation, before taking place, they take permission from the president,” he admitted in an interview.
Commenting on president Hadi's controversial statements, Mohamed Alamrani tweeted:
@yementribune: #Yemen – no need for WikiLeaks on Hadi's case.. he's honest even the Americans were stunned .. he's signing death certificates of his people
President Hadi claimed in the Q&A following his speech that “drones have zero margin of error, if you know exactly what target you are aiming at”. Contrarily to the president's statement drones have killed civilians in Yemen, due to both misinformed data or missed targets, including women and children.
Atiaf Alwazir tweeted in response:
@WomanfromYemen: Hey #Hadi, how precise were these missiles that hit a hospital, a pharmacy & a #civilian home http://english.al-akhbar.com/photoblogs/us-war-yemen-view-ground … #Yemen
@WomanfromYemen: #Hadi, HARDLY speaks publicly in #Yemen, but can't stop talking in the #US. please take time to write your speech & select your words.
@WomanfromYemen: some local papers expressed worries about Hadi's visit to #US w/Qs of sovereignty & independence. not good for his #legitimacy #Yemen #US
Ibrahim Mothana tweeted:
@imothanaYemen: President Hadi's advantage in Yemen is the consensus on him. Exchanging local support with int. glamor will turn him into another Karazai
He added sarcastically:
@imothanaYemen: After finishing his two interim presidency years, Hadi could become a brilliant drones sales agent. #Yemen
In the end, Yemenis will not only remember the harmful effects of the drone attacks, but the words of their president in the support of such action.
More reactions to the president'speech and interviews in my storify.