Droned Out? Counterterrorism Policies in Yemen

Sumaia A. Al-Kohlani, Carlin C. Crisanti, Jennifer L. Merolla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-146
Number of pages17
JournalMiddle East Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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