The U.S. has ushered in the hours ahead of a meeting between President Obama and Yemen's President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi with a drone attack on the poverty-stricken Arab state, marking the third such strike in five days.
The drone attack on Thursday hit the southeastern province of Hadramawt, killing four people described in corporate media reports as suspected Al-Qaida members, though Twitter users in Yemen have countered the Al-Qaida claim and indicate one of those killed was a child.
Among the expected topics of discussion for Obama and Hadi's meeting are how to "further strengthen our counter-terrorism partnership and enable the return of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have been designated for transfer."
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a Yemeni civilian whose nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a U.S. drone strike last year, made a plea to Obama and Hadi ahead of their meeting, warning the leaders that the U.S. drone strikes are fomenting vengeance against the U.S. and Yemeni governments.
"To this day I wish no vengeance against the United States or Yemeni governments. But not everyone in Yemen feels the same. Every dead innocent swells the ranks of those you are fighting,” Jaber wrote in his letter to Obama.
Jaber's comments echo those of young Yemeni writer and activist Ibrahim Mothana, who penned an op-ed in the New York Times last year describing how the U.S. drone strikes on Yemen are causing "furious retaliation":
Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair. . . .
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.
Despite such pleas, drone strikes on Yemen spiked in 2012.
The graphic below from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows the minimum number of people it can confirm have been killed by strikes in Yemen: