Yemeni injured by US drone strike forced to set up GoFundMe to pay for treatment

Adel Al Manthari was driving through the village of Al Uqla in Yemen with his cousins ​​on a day four years ago when his life changed forever.

A US drone strike blew up the car Mr Al Manthari was driving, killing three of his cousins ​​immediately and a fourth cousin a few days later at an area hospital. Mr. Al Manthari survived but with devastating injuries: his legs and arms were burned. His hip was damaged. In the years since, he has been unable to leave home.

Now, The interception reports that Mr Al Manthari’s legs and feet are blackened – putting him at imminent risk of developing gangrene and possibly dying.

Mr. Al Manthari, like his four cousins, was a civilian unaffiliated in any way with military efforts in war-torn Yemen, where the US has supported Saudi Arabia-led efforts since the Barack Obama administration ended the country’s civil war to win.

However, despite Mr Al Manthari’s civilian status, the US Department of Defense has not stepped in to support him or his family – despite the fact that the US drone strike is directly responsible for his injuries, and according to a GoFundMe page set up by Nick Mottern and Kathy Kelly, co-coordinators of the Ban Killer Drones organization, forced his two daughters out of school to look after him.

Because the Pentagon has refused to acknowledge the attack in which Mr. Al Manthari fought for his life, or allocate any of the millions of dollars that Congress has allocated for civilian victims of US combat operations, Mr. Al Manthari has had to seek funding to collect an emergency medical procedure that he needed in Egypt.

In the first 12 days, the GoFundMe account met its goal of raising $10,000 for the surgery from 124 donors. It has now expanded its goal to US$15,000 to provide post-surgery care for Mr. Al Manthari. Mr. Al Manthari has to travel abroad for the operation, which is not available in Yemen.

A US Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carrying a Hellfire missile flies over an airbase after flying a mission in the Persian Gulf region January 7, 2016.

(Getty Images)

“It was the US Hellfire missile that cost Adel his family and his health,” said human rights attorney Jennifer Gibson The interception. “It should be the US paying for the treatment to save his legs. That’s what responsible governments do. They own up to their mistakes.”

Mr. Al Manthari’s case is not the only one in which a civilian victim of a US drone strike has failed to receive assistance purportedly intended for her. The NGO CODEPINK has reported that around $40 million intended for Pakistani victims of US operations went to various NGOs and not to the victims and their families. The Department of Defense said it made no payments to civilians killed in 2020.

And those are just the civilian casualties that the US recognizes. Although Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said he is committed to transparency and accountability when it comes to civilian casualties and this week ordered the military to improve the way it assesses civilian damage, historically the US has fallen short counted civilian injuries and deaths as a result of their military operations.

American engagement in Yemen has been a target of progressive and anti-interventionist activists and politicians for years. In 2019, the Senate and House of Representatives passed a resolution supported by Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and Mike Lee of Utah to end the country’s role in the war, only to be vetoed by President Donald to appeal to Trump.

Joe Biden began his presidency by announcing that he would end US involvement in Yemen, but then backtracked. Arms sales to Saudi Arabia continued while Mr Biden may meet Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as early as next month. Yemeni injured by US drone strike forced to set up GoFundMe to pay for treatment

Bobby Allyn

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