Ex-US Special Ops Were Reportedly Hired To Assassinate Yemeni Political Figures

Bullet Points

American mercenaries — some of whom were ex-special operators with Army Special Forces, SEAL Team 6, and the CIA — were hired by the United Arab Emirates in 2015 to take part in a "targeted assassination program in Yemen," according to a BuzzFeed News investigation published today

  • According to the report, the contractors were employed by the Spear Operations Group LLC, a company registered in Delaware, and founded by "Abraham Golan, a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh.”
  • In interviews with BuzzFeed, Golan referred to the mission as “a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” adding that “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”
  • In 2015, contractors with the group led by Golan, allegedly attempted to assassinate Anssaf Ali Mayo, the leader of an Islamist political party in Yemen. Until now it was unknown that the mission was carried out by U.S. mercenaries.
  • Of the mercenaries with the group, one was a former member of the CIA, another was a Special Forces sergeant with the Maryland Army National Guard, and two were former Navy SEALs, one of whom was reportedly in the reserves and a veteran of SEAL Team 6, according to BuzzFeed. The remaining members were largely former French Foreign Legionnaires, BuzzFeed reports.
  • Golan, the founder of the group, claimed to have been educated in France, to have served in the French Foreign Legion, and to have fought oversees — though his background and military service could not be verified by BuzzFeed, although sources familiar with him told the news site that he was “prone to exaggeration,” but “for crazy shit he’s the kind of guy you hire.”
  • The CIA reportedly had no information about Spear Operations Group's missions in Yemen, and the Navy Special Warfare Command declined to comment for the BuzzFeed report. However the news organization spoke with a former official who previously worked in the UAE, and initially said there was no way Americans would be permitted to participate in such programs, only to call back and say: "There were guys that were basically doing what you said," adding that the mercenaries were “almost like a murder squad,” BuzzFeed reported.
  • The legal ramifications of the alleged program are unclear. It's illegal under U.S. law to “conspire to kill, kidnap, maim” someone in another country, and companies that provide military services to foreign nations are regulated by the State Department, which told BuzzFeed that it has "never granted any company the authority to supply combat troops or mercenaries to another country."
  • Yet the rules don't explicitly ban mercenaries — evidenced by the scores of Americans serving overseas alongside foreign militaries with little legal consequence. Spear Operations Group reportedly arranged for the UAE to bestow military rank to the Americans involved in operations in Yemen, which could provide legal protection. 


Oh, honey, that Axis of Evil getup is so 2002. You need to get with the times and try on this little number called a Wolf Pack of Rogue States, designed by Mike Pence.

Yes, the Axis is Evil is out, and the Wolf Pack of Rogue States is so, so in.

The vice president mentioned the latest and greatest phrase to describe anti-American super-villain states during a conference in Washington on Wednesday, and clearly, they must all be running around the desert together looking for strippers and cocaine.

The Hangover! Alan's wolfpack speech in Vegas hahaha www.youtube.com

Enter Pence:

"Beyond our global competitors, the United States faces a wolf pack of rogue states. No shared ideology or objective unites our competitors and adversaries except this one: They seek to overturn the international order that the United States has upheld for more that half a century."

According to Pence, the Wolf Pack includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Notably absent: China and Russia, the two states that actually have a shot at seeking "to overturn the international order."

As Daniel Larison notes at The American Conservative, the Wolf Pack crowd's "ability to 'overturn the international order' is practically nil, and it isn't even certain that most of them desire that outcome. If North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are our main adversaries, we are as secure as can be and we have very little to worry about."

Pence's wolf pack phrase follows another tried by National Security Advisor John Bolton back in November, when he labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as a "troika of tyranny" and a "triangle of terror," which make for interesting death metal band names, but seem kind of lame in comparison to the infamous 2002 "Axis of Evil" phrase from David Frum.

But perhaps they can consult with Stitch Jones, the Ayatollah of Rock-and-rolla, for some better branding.

Heartbreak Ridge - Stitch Jones meets Gunnery Sergeant Highway www.youtube.com

Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.

On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

In the city of Savannah, Georgia, an Army veteran and entrepreneur has a plan to end veteran homelessness in his community. It starts with building a village of tiny homes.

Read More Show Less
The new Marines of Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, conduct a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, January 10, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Jose Gonzalez)

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Coming to recruit training near you: American-made standard-issue sneakers.

Read More Show Less