Last year, the Obama administration celebrated the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a leading figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as the latest military victory in its new counter-terrorism strategy focused on covert kill/capture operations.
In the US, the al-Awlaki strike looked like a clear tactical victory against AQAP, which Washington now considers its most dangerous enemy in the ‘war on terror’.
But from a Yemeni perspective, the US’ covert military campaign seems to be undermining its own strategic interests.
Critics say that even when they hit their intended targets, US missile strikes and raids just further destabilise the country.
And the American need for proxy forces and intelligence tied the US into a dangerous and compromising alliance with Yemen’s embattled and unpopular president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Now he has been forced out by protests against his authoritarian regime, the White House’s efforts may come to naught.
America’s Dangerous Game, from filmmakers Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill, reveals the full scale of the covert war in Yemen and asks the question: Is the US creating more enemies than it can kill or capture?