Washington D.C. (GPA) – In the past twenty four hours, the Yemeni government has allegedly withdrawn permission for the US to conduct ground operations in the country and President Trump has approved sales of more weapons to Saudi Arabia.
According to the New York Times, some US officials are apparently saying that the Yemeni government has withdrawn permission for US ground troops to operate in the country. If true, it seems to be a result of the controversial US special forces raid last month that resulted in the death of Yemeni civilians and one US Navy SEAL.
The Yemeni government is apparently publicly denying this for now, according to some sources. Yet from our sources at Geopolitics Alert, within the Yemeni government tell us, the NYT’s initial claims are true.
Regardless of what the Yemeni government is willing to say publicly right now, they have voiced outrage over the botched January 29th raid even though the White House is claiming it was a success. According to several Yemeni officials, the government wasn’t given “proper notice” of the raid beforehand.
Details of the Raid
Foreign Minister Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi has been condemning the raid in a series of Tweets, calling them “extrajudicial killings.” Yet from the details so far it seems that Yemen will not be able to stop other extrajudicial killings, such as drone strikes. The ban will also not effect US personnel stationed in the UAE who are advising on counter terror operations.
The January raid is being called a success by the White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who says the main objective was to gather intelligence. The raid resulted in the death of several civilians including eleven women and children, the death of a Navy SEAL, and the destruction of a $75 million aircraft.
There are also reports that the target of the raid was actually the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Qassim Al-Rimi. It’s now confirmed that he escaped before the operation and he has since released audio taunting Trump, saying “The fool of the White House got slapped.”
Whatever the objective of the raid was, the US military seems to have some concerns and has opened an investigation into the matter. The Senate Armed Services Committee also had a classified hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. Following the hearing, chair of the committee, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) told reporters he felt the raid was a “failure.”
More Weapons to Saudi Arabia
Following all the discussion of the raid the White House also quietly decided to authorize new arms shipments to Saudi Arabia. The sale was previously suspended near the end of the Obama administration due to concerns they would be used in committing violations of international law.
The new weapons going to Saudi Arabia is apparently primarily composed of $300 million worth of precision guided missiles. There was also an approval for a new multi-billion dollar sale of US F-16s to Bahrain, another country assisting Saudi Arabia in their war on Yemen. The sale to Bahrain was suspended as a punitive measure due to the Obama administration’s concerns about human rights violations within the country.
While the White House will say these weapons are essential for the two Gulf kingdoms to fight the Islamic State, there’s no doubt that some of these munitions and planes are likely to also be used in Yemen. Donald Trump has already taken a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman where the two discussed renewed coordination in Yemen to fight the allegedly “Iranian backed” Houthis.
Obama is responsible for allowing the war in Yemen to start but Trump is now responsible for allowing it to escalate. The Saudis can’t be trusted to be responsible in their fight against the Yemeni people and now with the involvement of US troops being limited, it’s likely the Wahhabis will rely more on bombing raids, which have been shown to be intentionally aimed at civilian targets. As an act of desperation to “punish Iran” it seems the Trump administration is going all out in helping to further subject the Yemeni people to suffering.
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Image: Flickr – Ala’a Assamawy
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.