As more details of Trump’s Yemen raid come out it just looks worse and worse.
Basically the picture we have now is of US special forces soldiers who descended on a hamlet, and when they encountered resistance called in massive airstrikes that obliterated the settlement, all but wiping out an entire extended family.
Firstly the raid did not target any kind of “al-Qaeda compound” as White House claimed. It targeted the home of a local patriarch some of whose brothers had fought for al-Qaeda in Yemen’s civil war. Most of the victims were from this one family or visiting relatives.
The Navy SEALs were supposedly on a covert mission to get their hands on the computer of the said clan chief but were detected early on, perhaps because American drones had been particularly active around the hamlet for days.
Hearing gunfire outside their homes, the Yemeni villagers grabbed their weapons (everyone has a rifle in Yemen) and took defensive positions against strange men invading their neighborhood in the middle of the night.
Here is where it gets really psychotic. Faced with resistance the highly trained and much celebrated SEALs did what American military men always and everywhere do when the enemy fires back — they called in huge, indiscriminate airstrikes.
As US special forces for all their gear and bravado hunkered down helicopter gunships and fighter jets wreaked havoc on the hamlet, killing men, women and children.
When the smoke cleared Americans counted the dead men as “al-Qaeda fighters” and kept quiet about the dead women and children.
Supposedly the SEALs’ intended to get their hands on the computer of the tribal patriarch, but that is a goal that would seem to conflict with their chosen method of raining mass destruction on the village from high above.
In any case, the man in question, sheikh Abdelraouf al-Dhahab, was actually working for Yemen’s US-backed Aden government and his only links to al-Qaeda were by way of his brothers, and in-laws.
This explains why Yemen’s foreign minister was so upset with the raid. The hamlet called Yakla is not even located in the part of the country held by al-Qaeda (as I first thought), but in government-controlled Yemen.
Once the story of the civilian massacre got out the Pentagon released a video supposedly showcasing the valuable intelligence they had snatched in the raid. — Except the video in question has been freely available online for over a decade!
We can surmise the US in fact got no intelligence from the massacre or else it would not be putting up such embarrassing justifications for the slaughter.
It is quite possible the raid was nothing but a wild goose chase which targeted al-Dhahab’s home for no better reason than that he had been the in-law of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American celebrity propagandist for al-Qaeda assassinated by Obama in 2011.
But hey, they meant well, so who cares, right?