Sumaia A. Al-Kohlani, Carlin C. Crisanti and Jennifer L. Merolla
Dr. Al-Kohlani is an assistant professor of government and society at the United Arab Emirates University. Ms. Crisanti is a doctoral candidate at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Merolla is a professor of political science at the University of California Riverside.
Yemen has been the target of a high level of drone strikes by the US government, but we know very little about public reaction to such strikes, even though scholars of foreign policy have been concerned about the possibility of blowback from the Yemeni public. We conducted 63 in-depth interviews to assess how Yemenis think about terrorism and US counterterrorism strategies. In particular, we were interested in evidence of blowback among the public. We find that Yemenis have very negative views toward drone strikes, primarily related to the death of innocent bystanders and violations of sovereignty. We also see evidence of blowback in our interviews, with respondents expressing the belief that US counterterrorism policies contribute to the creation of new insurgents, the destabilization of the government, and the deterioration of US-Yemeni relations. At the same time, a substantial portion of interviewees think the United States can follow other strategies to help Yemen combat terrorism within its borders.
Middle East Policy is fully accessible through the Wiley Online Library
Click below to subscribe to the online or print edition of Middle East Policy and gain access to all journal content.