Yemen raid reality check

The US raid in Yemen targeting members of Al Qaeda has inflicted civilian casualties as well, including children and a US commando.There has also been reports an American girl may have been killed.

Acting tough with the US military has it’s risks.

Al Jazeera: US admits civilians ‘likely’ killed in Yemen raid

Civilians were “likely” killed in a US commando raid in Yemen over the weekend and children may have been among the dead, the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

“A team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen January 29. Casualties may include children,” CENTCOM said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Yemeni officials had previously said 16 civilians – eight women and eight children – were killed in the raid in the southern province of al-Bayda, but CENTCOM did not provide any numbers.

The civilian deaths appear to have occurred when US aircraft were called to help the commandos as they conducted the dawn raid that US officials said killed 14 members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist US forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and US special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings,” the statement added.

Officials were conducting an ongoing “credibility assessment” to see if there may have been additional civilian casualties in the intense firefight, it said.

Since the January 29 raid, Washington has faced questions as to whether an eight-year-old American girl was killed during the firefight.

New York Times: Raid in Yemen: Risky From the Start and Costly in the End

Just five days after taking office, over dinner with his newly installed secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Trump was presented with the first of what will be many life-or-death decisions: whether to approve a commando raid that risked the lives of American Special Operations forces and foreign civilians alike.

President Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.

With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner.

As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.

It may have been that Trump did little more than rubber stamp a planned incursion in this case, but “two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon” doesn’t give me a lot of confidence.

At least one US casualty plus significant embarrassment may not dent trump’s confidence he can sort eliminate Al Qaeda and ISIS, but it shows that it is not a simply thing to do, even on a small scale like this.

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  1. The Dems are talking it up as Trump being trigger happy and unprepared and Trumpists are saying that Al Qaeda were forewarned by traitorous Washington insiders.

    Everything is reduced to the partisan. There’s nothing that unites both parties within. You’ve got your Tea Party, alt-right types and your Occupy-Dems, your many leftist factions and then you’ve hit the Washington machine. Dem establishment (Pelosi, Schiff ) have commented recently on Progressve, activist behaviour and its negative impact on the Party. Interesting to see if the Washington wing ( all invariably part of the 1%) are able to close them down, force moderation, or whether there is so much momentum it’ll culminate in riot gear, water guns and tanks!

    • Got not “hit”

    • What’s worse, the Trump action or the Dem reaction?

      The Dem’s are damaging themselves, Trump can damage a lot more than the Republicans, he could drag the US and the world down.

      • It’s not about the lesser of two evils for me. It’s what it is and things will get much worse.

        Trump can and is causing much trouble, I acknowledge that; but to counter him requires a concerted and reassuring approach to resistance/opposition. It is imperative the Democrats are a powerful and united force. My Obama guest this past month says that they are all very worried that they have no natural successor/leader worth mentioning. He said Elizabeth Warren is the only person who comes close. He’s clearly to the left of things, but it’s hard to see her as uniting.

        (P.S. Sorry if this veers off topic – I would have put this in USA today if it had been up when I was cogitating. Early vet call for dog and unusually early YNZ check-in and response from me)

  2. David

     /  3rd February 2017

    A 2000lbs JDAM would have been a cleaner methodology. Boots on the ground raids are messy and too luck dependent.

    • Gezza

       /  3rd February 2017

      I don’t think Trumpy’s realised that he just got played by Iran yet.

  3. David, yes but then the number of civilians killed would have been unacceptable. The eternal problem of applying minimum force! What is more troubling is the comments attributed to the Seal team about the extent of the defences preparedness they encountered, saying “its as if they knew what was going to happen”. The operation was launched from the specially designed assault landing ship offshore, with the teams including UAE Special Forces being flown in fixed wing STOL aircraft to an intermediate point followed by what was supposed to be a stealthy move to the Forming Up Place for the attack. However, the defenders opened accurate MG and fixed line fire on the assault unexpectedly. Armed women were part of the defending force.


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