Actually Peaceful Nobel Peace Prize Winner Criticizes Obama

by Patrick Brennan

Barack Obama’s fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman, has sharply criticized the U.S. policy of intensifying drone strikes, which has been arguably the central tenet of the Obama administration’s war on terror. Reinforcing the argument of a Washington Post story from yesterday, Karman argues that the drone strikes have led to many civilian deaths, and driven sympathy and recruitment for al-Qaeda. Reuters reports:

Nobel Peace Prize-winning Yemeni opposition activist Tawakul Karman said on Wednesday U.S. drone strikes were ineffective because they were hitting mainly civilians in south Yemen rather than their intended target, al Qaeda-linked militants.

The United States and its Gulf Arab allies have watched with mounting alarm as Islamist insurgents, emboldened by political upheaval in Yemen, have launched a series of audacious attacks and seized swathes of territory including some major towns.

Washington is trying to counter the threat by stepping up drone strikes to kill suspected militants and training the Yemeni army to fight them and stop the country being used as a springboard for attacks on Western targets.

“We are against drone strikes because they will not kill the real al Qaeda, they will only target women and youth,” Karman said in an interview in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday.

Tribal leaders in parts of Yemen where drone attacks aimed at al Qaeda have killed civilians say the strikes have been turning more and more Yemenis against the Sanaa government and Washington.

Apparently the coterie of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, unlike, say, the club of former U.S. presidents, are perfectly happy to criticize each other. (Of course, one hardly expects silence from a woman who loudly protested Saleh’s thuggish regime.)