Nora Anwar al-Awlaki. (Bawabatii)
On Sunday, U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 killed the 8-year-old sister of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old U.S. citizen who died in a 2011 drone strike ordered by former President Obama.
Abdulrahman and his sister, whom some news agencies identified as Nora Anwar al-Awlaki, were children of the U.S.-born Yemeni preacher and alleged al Qaida associate Anwar al-Awlaki. The U.S. killed Anwar in Yemen two weeks before killing Abdulrahman.
Glenn Greenwald writes at The Intercept:
… reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.
As noted by my colleague Jeremy Scahill – who extensively interviewed the grandparents in Yemen for his book and film on Obama’s “Dirty Wars” – the girl was “was shot in the neck and killed,” bleeding to death over the course of two hours. “Why kill children?,” the grandfather asked. “This is the new (U.S.) administration – it’s very sad, a big crime.”
The New York Times yesterday reported that military officials had been planning and debating the raid for months under the Obama administration, but Obama officials decided to leave the choice to Trump. The new President personally authorized the attack last week. They claim that the “main target” of the raid “was computer materials inside the house that could contain clues about future terrorist plots.” The paper cited a Yemeni official saying that “at least eight women and seven children, ages 3 to 13, had been killed in the raid,” and that the attack also “severely damaged a school, a health facility and a mosque.”
After observing that, just as in Iraq, “Al Qaeda had very little presence in Yemen before the Obama administration began bombing and droning it and killing civilians, thus driving people into the arms of the militant group,” Greenwald quotes remarks that the late, young Yemeni writer Ibrahim Mothana made to Congress in 2013:
Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants . . . Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen.
During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush’s policies. . . .
Defenders of human rights must speak out. America’s counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for A.Q.A.P. [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world.
This is why it is crucial that – as urgent and valid protests erupt against Trump’s abuses – we not permit recent history to be whitewashed, or long-standing U.S. savagery to be deceitfully depicted as new Trumpian aberrations, or the War on Terror framework engendering these new assaults to be forgotten. Some current abuses are unique to Trump, but – as I detailed on Saturday – some are the decades-old by-product of a mindset and system of war and executive powers that all need uprooting. Obscuring these facts, or allowing those responsible to posture as opponents of all this, is not just misleading but counter-productive: much of this resides on an odious continuum and did not just appear out of nowhere.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly