Quietly, the United States has managed to turn its war on Yemen from a “leading from behind with a lot of technical assistance” program to a “if you want something done right, do it yourself” system. While the U.S. has repeatedly referred to the crime against humanity launched against the Yemeni people by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. as KSA’s war, it has provided both with large of amounts of technical assistance, intelligence, and equipment with which to fight it.
The United States has even engaged in direct combat from time to time, including a now infamous operation that left one Navy SEAL dead.
Now, however, the U.S. has stepped up its involvement to joint operations with Saudi and Emirati forces on the ground in Yemen. The operations have been reported on by the mainstream press but in scant articles that only hint around at the scope of American involvement. This has led many to suspect that the Americans are more heavily involved than what is being made public.
A contingent of U.S. troops is involved in a Yemeni operation to push al-Qaeda militants from one of their key strongholds in central Yemen, the Pentagon said Friday.
A small number of troops are there to help with “intelligence sharing,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said, though he did not rule out that more U.S. forces could be committed to the operation in the coming weeks.
The announcement comes a day after the United Arab Emirates said in a statement that its forces, along with U.S. troops, were supporting the Yemeni military in the Shabwa governorate in a bid to oust al-Qaeda fighters entrenched there. The operation is just the latest U.S.-backed move against the terrorist group, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and signals the next phase of the invigorated U.S. counterterrorism campaign against the militants that began shortly after Donald Trump took office.
Since Feb. 28, the United States has conducted roughly 80 airstrikes against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, Davis said, a number that remains little changed in past weeks. U.S. Special Operations forces have also been involved in a limited number of ground operations in the country, including one that ended in the death of a Navy SEAL in January.
Aside from intelligence sharing, Davis said, the United States is providing midair refueling and overhead reconnaissance for forces involved in the operation. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, a collection of U.S. Navy ships loaded with Marines, is in the region and is probably assisting the operation with aircraft and personnel. In the past, amphibious groups much like the Bataan’s have been integral in supporting U.S.-led operations against al-Qaeda in Yemen.
While the U.S. continues to stress that it is not at war with the Houthi rebels, it has provided a massive amount of tactical support to the Saudis who are at war with the Houthis. Interestingly enough, the United States is involved directly in Shawba, a province in the south of Yemen, where al-Qaeda has maintained a presence. Southern Yemen is also the region most heavy in oil and gas and it is precisely the oil and gas fields that al-Qaeda (AQAP) was expelled from.
Much like the U.S. operations in Iraq against al-Qaeda militants, supported both by the United States and Saudi Arabia, the United States is becoming directly involved in the fight against terrorists it supports when those terrorists endanger strategic locations, particularly regions that contain oil and gas. Interestingly enough, it is said that the terrorists did not put up a fight but simply retreated to the mountains.
It is also noteworthy to mention the participation of the United Arab Emirates since the tiny nation declared that it was no longer participating in the Yemeni war only last year. Now, however, U.A.E. is indeed fighting alongside KSA once again. One reason the U.A.E. has returned to Yemen is perhaps because of its previous heavy reliance on Qatar for gas, a relationship that has been severed as a result of the Qatari isolation initiated by KSA. If U.A.E. is able to access the gas from Yemen and able to exploit those resources, it will reduce the collateral economic damage done to the U.A.E. by breaking ties with Qatar and thus eliminate any leverage Qatar may have.
Overshadowed by a number of crises across the world, the Yemeni disaster has largely escaped the scrutiny that other Western imperialist actions have attracted. It is telling that Trump, who is targeted for literally any and everything that comes out of his mouth, is still able to launch military operations in Yemen without criticism from any mainstream or “leftist” outlet.
At this point, the American President is nothing more than a rat in a maze sometimes getting shocked for going the wrong direction, sometimes being given a little piece of cheese for going in the right direction. It is time for Americans to open their eyes and see past the phony “right” and “left” designations and recognize that someone has built a maze and someone is choosing punishments versus rewards.
The original source of this article is Activist Post
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of YemenExtra