In significant news that has thus far either gone under or outright unreported by the media, U.S. military advisors have “boots on the ground” in Yemen, according to a recent report in the Washington Post by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Missy Ryan:
“The Pentagon has placed a small number of U.S. advisors on the ground in Yemen to support Arab forces battling al-Qaeda, military officials said on Friday, signaling a new American role in that country’s multi-sided civil war.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. personnel had been in the country for about two weeks, supporting Yemeni and Emirati forces that are fighting a pitched battle against militants near the southeastern port city of Mukalla…
Even a tiny military footprint marks a milestone for U.S. involvement in the Yemeni conflict, which brought an end a year and a half ago to a long-running U.S. mission there against AQAP.”
The escalating conflict in Yemen undercut President Obama’s narrative that the US’s strategy of drone strikes and other limited interventions against AQAP was a success in the war on terrorism. Although the current US military presence remains a small, supporting one, given the reluctance of the administration to place any service members in harms way, their deployment must have been deemed necessary. Although the American people are likely not paying close attention to this particular conflagration, if there are casualties or mission creep, Yemen may be added to yet another nation where the Obama foreign policy promises sounded much better in rhetoric only.
Read the whole report here.
Photo Credit: 140216-N-TQ272-316 ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 16, 2014) An MH-60S Seahawk takes off on the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark El-Rayes/Released)