Al Qaeda Claims To Be Fighting Alongside US Allies In Yemen

news
An Emirati soldier fires blanks as part of a military exercise in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, March 2, 2017. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, hosted a major military exercise Thursday before a public audience as the nation fights alongside Saudi troops in Yemen and tensions with Iran remain high.
AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

Remarks made by the leader of al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen during a recent interview seem to suggest that the terrorist group is fighting alongside U.S.-backed forces in the country, the Associated Press reports.


The group, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is an offshoot of the global terror network responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks and has been linked to numerous terrorist attacks outside Yemen, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.  

AQAP’s leader, Qasim al-Rimi, told the group’s media arm on April 30 that his fighters had partnered with various militant factions aligned against Shiite rebels. The rebels, known as Houthis, drove the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi from the country’s capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, triggering a bloody civil war that has killed more than 10,000 civilians to date.

Hadi is backed by a coalition of mostly Sunni Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, which began deploying ground forces to Yemen in 2015 to bolster its massive air campaign against the Iran-backed Houthis. A recent analysis of the conflict found that the coalition launched more than 8,600 air attacks in Yemen between March 2015 and August 2016, and that nearly half of them hit civilian targets.    

“We fight along all Muslims in Yemen, together with different Islamic groups,” al-Rimi said in the interview. Among the factions he named were the ultraconservative Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood, “and also our brothers among the sons of [Sunni] tribes.”

If al-Rimi’s claims are true, Washington would be inadvertently aiding an organization that is considered a major threat to the United States. As key allies of Hadi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are funded and armed by the Saudi-led coalition, which the United States directly supports with arm sales, refueling of aircraft, and intelligence, according to Newsweek.   

In April, Trump administration officials told reporters that Washington is seeking ways to boost military support for the Saudi-led coalition. The United States will “reinforce Saudi Arabia’s resistance to Iran,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said

Al-Rimi, who became AQAP’s leader in 2015, is a prolific jihadist. He joined al Qaeda in the 1990s and is credited with being the mastermind behind a suicide bombing in 2007 that killed eight Spanish tourists in Yemen, as well as an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa on Sept. 17, 2008. Al-Rimi is on the U.S. most-wanted list with a $5 million reward for his capture.       

AQAP is the chief target of U.S. military operations in Yemen and the group has sustained significant casualties as a result of American airstrikes, which have increased in intensity since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, according to the AP.   

In late January, during the first counterterrorism raid authorized by Trump, Chief Special Warfare Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL, was killed in battle with AQAP militants in Yemen. Owens was the first and only American service member to die while conducting operations against the group.

Nothing says joint force battle management like a ride-sharing app. (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.

The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.

Read More
The newly painted F-15 Eagle flagship, dubbed the Heritage Jet, was painted to honor 1st Lt. David Kingsley, the namesake for Kingsley Field, and his ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.

Read More
The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft is seen after a crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan on January 27, 2020 (Reuters photo)

A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.

Read More
In this June 7, 2009 file photo Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) points to a player behind him after making a basket in the closing seconds against the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals in Los Angeles. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. He was 41. (Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill)

Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.

Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.

Read More
Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

Read More