In efforts to target Al Qaeda members in Yemen, the US has unintentionally weakened President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. Most dangerous are its use of bombing operations, which have killed civilians, important tribal figures and members of the Yemeni government. The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill joined Democracy Now! this morning to discuss his new investigative report on the US government’s gamble in supporting Saleh as one of its “war on terror” puppets.

The US has been notably quiet on the uprisings in Yemen, including the demonstrations by hundreds of thousands recently calling for Saleh’s resignation. Scahill asks, could Obama’s silence on the situation be due to the strategic role the nation, and its president, plays in the regional counterterrorism program?

In September 2009, General Petraeus signed an executive order which gives US special operations forces the credence to conduct “kill-or-capture” operations in any country they identify as a threat. This Bush administration concept of the “world as a battlefield” has been pushed forward by the Obama administration and particularly exploited in Yemen. Saleh’s willingness to open Yemen up to US lethal operations and accepting large quantities of US aid has tarnished his domestic reputation and is a factor in what is driving Yemeni citizens to the street in protest, Scahill says.

—Sara Jerving