Sana’a – (GPA) In the first few weeks of his term, President Trump increases United States’ involvement in the war in Yemen.
The Obama administration contributed nothing to Yemen beyond war and chaos. In fact at the beginning of his first term, Obama started secretly funding, supplying, and training Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi government forces. Which ended up overflowing into civil war almost 2 years ago.
If the past two weeks are any indicator for Yemen, then the future does not look good. Because unfortunately, the new US administration appears to be increasing involvement in Yemen.
Only days into his term, Trump conducted his very first airstrike. The target? Central Yemen to target al-Qaeda. But to be fair, this was a little out of Trump’s hands. The US began conducting airstrikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen since 2002 under Bush’s watch. To to pin the blame on Trump’s administration for this one isn’t entirely accurate.
Trump’s first raid, however, is another story. On Monday January 30th Trump conducted the first US military raid under his watch. Once again, this took place in Yemen. And once again, al-Qaeda was the target. According to local residents, the US first dropped a drone followed by parachuting troops.
“The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside,” said one anonymous resident according to The Independent.
Once on the ground, al-Qaeda fighters greeted US troops with live fire. From there, it seems the US troops fled and decided to use bombs instead. As a result, about 30 civilians have died. Including an 8 year old girl who’s brother was killed by an airstrike from the Obama administration. One US Navy Seal also lost his life in the fire.
“Next, the gunmen opened fire at the U.S. soldiers who left the area, and the helicopters bombed the gunmen and a number of homes and led to a large number of casualties.”
What’s different is that first of all, this is the first time we’ve really heard of US troops fighting on the ground in Yemen. At least since the conflict escalated into civil war in 2015. Yes, US troops on the ground in Yemen is nothing new. But not fighting toe-to-toe with al-Qaeda. Well, at least not openly.
Just shy of a week in office, Trump managed to secure 30 civilian deaths and the death of a US Navy Seal. If Yemen is to set the stage for the next four years of US foreign policy, things don’t look good for the state of things in the Middle East.
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