Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Two US troops wounded in raid against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Troops from the UAE and United States ready a Patriot Missile battery in Yemen. US Army/UPI.

Two US troops have been wounded in a raid against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, killing 7 militants. UPI. US Navy Seals, along with troops from the United Arab Emirates conducted the raid. The purpose of the raid was to gather intelligence and collect documents. 

CBS has further information on the raid. Two US Navy Seals were lightly wounded in the raid, but neither suffered life threatening injuries. An AC-130 gunship was called in for air support. The raid killed 7 militants but none of the militants were high value targets. 

My Comment:
A fairly significant raid against AQAP in Yemen. It seems as though we have not forgotten the worlds 2nd most dangerous terror group, even if the media largely has. This raid is a step up in the attacks against AQAP as well. Other news outlets are reporting that this is the deepest raid into Yemen since our war against AQAP begun. The fact that we are sending special forces deep into enemy territory to target these terrorists shows how serious the threat is. In the past we would have just used airstrikes, but the need for intel was so important that we sent troops in.  

It's also significant that troops from the UAE participated in this raid. Though Yemen is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the UAE is deeply involved as well. Unlike the Saudis though, the UAE has had a larger focus on fighting AQAP instead of the Shiite Houthi rebels. Their participation in this raid shows how seriously they are taking the AQAP threat. 

And the AQAP threat is severe. Though they have not attempted any major terror attacks lately, they were responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. That attack was greatly overshadowed by the Paris attacks and all of the other attacks that ISIS has pulled off, but they are still a very dangerous terror organization. 

The fear is that AQAP is planning further attacks in Europe and even the United States. That threat is real and very dangerous. Though AQAP has the same problem that core al-Qaeda has. Instead of simple and easy to pull off terror attacks like the ones ISIS prefers, they focus on complex and spectacular attacks. That has greatly reduced their effectiveness, but the upside is when they actually do pull off a terror attack it causes a major impact. We can't take the risk of them pulling off a successful attack.

This raid seems to have been an attempt to gather intelligence in order to disrupt these kinds of terror attacks. Though we didn't find any high value suspects, we did capture some documents and intelligence. It's very possible that we were able to disrupt active plots because of this raid. 

AQAP is still a major threat though and it is a very good thing that we are conducting raids against them. AQAP still controls quite a bit of Yemen. It doesn't control as much as it used to but it still controls some towns and cities and some of the countryside as well. ISIS has shown how dangerous things can get when a terror group takes and holds territory. 

The war in Yemen has, yet again, fallen into the background. We rarely get any coverage at all of what is happening in there. And it's not just the threat from al-Qaeda and ISIS gaining control of territory. Yemen is the only war that I am aware of where ballistic SCUD missiles are being used regularly, to the point where it isn't even noteworthy anymore. Our interest is in stopping AQAP and ISIS, but the war between the Yemeni and Saudi forces against the Houthi rebels is one of the most important stories that isn't being covered right now. 

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