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Thread: War on Yemen

  1. #1
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    Default War on Yemen

    The US just bombed Yemen, and no one's talking about it


    What if the United States went to war and nobody here even noticed? The question is absurd, isn’t it? And yet, this almost perfectly describes what actually happened this past week.

    While many Americans, myself included, were all hypnotized by the bizarre spectacle of the Republican nominee for president, a US navy destroyer fired a barrage of cruise missiles at three radar sites controlled by the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen. This attack marked the first time the US has fought the rebels directly in Yemen’s devastating civil war.

    The cruise missile salvo ramps up the already significant US military involvement in deeply divided and desperately poor Yemen. While it’s true that the US has launched drone strikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen for years, sometimes killing civilians and even US citizens, this particular military engagement has the potential to drag the US straight into a protracted and escalating conflict. And, as everyone knows, America has an uncanny ability to enter protracted and escalating military conflicts.

    Yet we’ve heard absolutely nothing about this from our presidential candidates.

    If we investigated, we would find that the Pentagon justified this attack as retaliation. Last week, missiles were fired on two separate occasions at another navy destroyer off of Yemen’s southern coast. Those missiles fell harmlessly into the water, but they were enough of a provocation that the navy responded with its own bombardment.

    But we would also find that immediately prior to those incidents, on Saturday 8 October, a 500lb laser-guided US-made bomb was dropped on a funeral procession by the US-sponsored Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels who, the Saudis say, are backed by Iran. This bomb killed more than 140 people, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 525 people. Human Rights Watch called the incident “an apparent war crime”.

    That heinous attack led to a strong rebuke from the US, which has sold the Saudis $110bn worth of arms since President Obama assumed office, and recently approved the sale of $1.15bn more. The US also supplies the Saudis with necessary intelligence and logistics to prosecute its war. According to Reuters, the US government is also deeply concerned that it may be implicated in future war crimes prosecutions as a result of its support for the Saudi-led coalition.

    This worry might explain why National Security Council spokesman Ned Price stated that “in light of this and other recent incidents, we … are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align [the Saudi-led coalition] with US principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict”. Sounds good. Then again, the US bombed Houthi positions days later.

    The situation in Yemen is already catastrophic and largely out of view. Since the conflict began 18 months ago, more than 6,800 people have been killed. Both rebels and the regime have committed atrocities, though most of the dead are civilians and most have been killed by Saudi-led airstrikes. Almost 14.4 million people are now “food insecure”, according to the UN’s World Food Program, and 2.8 million people have been displaced. In 2015, there were 101 attacks on schools and hospitals. After two Doctors Without Borders hospitals were bombed resulting in 20 deaths – one in Taiz on 2 December 2015 and the other in Abs on 15 August this year – the humanitarian group was forced to withdraw from its six hospitals in northern Yemen. And the latest news is a cholera outbreak.

    The Trump show has managed to bump all the serious and necessary policy debates not just off the table but out of the room. Presidential foreign policy discussions, for example, are now basically limited to who hates Isis more, who said what 13 years ago, and who believes Vladimir Putin is in charge of a roomful of hackers.

    It’s not enough. All the current polls point to Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election, and there’s a desperate need for substantive answers regarding her policies. Will she merely continue Obama’s Yemen strategy, which has not only failed to end the war but could also soon escalate it? The prevailing wisdom among many Democrats has been to focus first on defeating Donald Trump before moving on to what’s next, but that’s no longer fair to voters nor, really, to the people of Yemen. We need to know not only what we’re voting against, but what we’re voting for. As the last few days have shown, the world doesn’t stop spinning while the US holds elections.


  2. #2
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    U.S.-backed Saudi War in Yemen Fuels 'Largest Food Security Emergency in the World'

    U.S.-backed bombing has killed thousands of Yemenis and pushed millions to the brink of famine.


    A prominent famine monitor created by the U.S. government has acknowledged that the U.S.-backed war in Yemen has fueled the "largest food security emergency in the world." And acording to its analysis, the catastrophic situation only continues to get worse.

    Since March 2015, the U.S. has supported a Saudi-led coalition that has bombed Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East. With tens of billions of dollars worth of American and British weapons, more than 1,000 refueling sorties by U.S. planes and intelligence and guidance from the American and British militaries, Saudi Arabia has carried out thousands of airstrikes, at least one-third of which have struck civilian sites.

    The Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition has also intentionally targeted food production and the agricultural sector in its bombing campaign in Yemen, in what a leading expert has described as a "scorched-earth strategy."

    In August, the United Nations reported that more than 10,000 Yemenis had been killed, with an average of 13 civilian casualties per day, in a U.S.-fueled war that has gotten little attention in the U.S. media and which received virtually no mention in the entirety of the 2016 presidential campaign.

    The war has plunged Yemen into what the U.N. has characterized as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Yemen already suffered from widespread food insecurity before the coalition launched its bombing campaign and implemented a blockade 21 months ago. Since then, the U.N. has repeatedly reported that more than half of Yemen's population is going hungry and that millions are on the brink of famine.

    In a report released in December, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned, "Conflict in Yemen is the primary driver of the largest food security emergency in the world."

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading monitor of global food insecurity, created by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, in 1985. The monitor is not officially part of the U.S. government, but works with a variety of government agencies.

    According to the group's report, hunger in Yemen is getting worse. Although there is limited access to data, the food security and nutrition data available from the governorate of al-Hudayda, one of Yemen's largest urban centers, suggests that hunger is on the rise. The number of children with severe acute malnutrition admitted to treatment programs in the governorate has increased by roughly 40 percent, compared to 2014 and 2015 levels.

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network gauges the severity of a hunger crisis on a five-point scale, in which IPC Phase 5 is "Famine" and IPC Phase 1 is "Minimal." In Yemen, at least 2 million people are in IPC Phase 4: Emergency. They "face an increased risk of mortality" from hunger, the monitor says. An additional 5 to 8 million Yemenis are classified in IPC Phase 3: Crisis, and "in need of urgent humanitarian assistance."

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network's analysis of food insecurity in Yemen in December 2016.

    The whole western half of Yemen, the more populated part of the country with the large urban centers, is in IPC Phase 3: Crisis, according to the monitor. A large strip on the western coast, including the major cities al-Hudayda and Taizz, is in IPC Phase 4: Emergency.

    In the upcoming months, between February and May, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network estimates that large swaths of the country will also be plunged into emergency status, including the capital, Sanaa, along with the Saada, Hajja and Shabwa governorates.

    More than 14 million Yemenis are already food insecure, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in a population of 26 million. The World Food Program is providing assistance to an average of 3.5 million Yemenis per month, but the Famine Early Warning Systems Network warns this "is not sufficient to meet Yemen’s current needs."

    War crimes and targeting of civilian areas

    Since March 2015, a coalition of Middle Eastern countries led by Saudi Arabia and armed and supported by the U.S. and the U.K., has sought to topple Yemen's Houthi movement, which seized power in late 2014, and Houthi-allied forces loyal to former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. The coalition has carried out thousands of airstrikes in hopes of restoring to power the former pro-Saudi leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by the Houthis. Hadi had been appointed president in 2012, after winning a putative election in which there were no opposition candidates.

    Human rights groups have documented a vast array of atrocities committed on both sides of the war. The U.N. has nevertheless repeatedly reported that the Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition is responsible for nearly two-thirds of civilian casualties, whereas the Houthis and allied pro-Saleh militias have been responsible for less than one-fourth. The rest of the atrocities have been committed by extremist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, which have been strengthened by the U.S.-backed war.

    The U.N., Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have on several occasions accused the coalition of carrying out apparent war crimes, documenting Saudi-led bombing of a slew of civilian sites, including hospitals, schools, homes, weddings, funerals, and refugee camps. Cluster munitions, which are banned in much of the world, provided by the U.S. and U.K. have also been used in civilian areas.

    Research conducted by Martha Mundy, a professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, has shown how the coalition is deliberately bombing targets that are part of the system of food production and agricultural sector in Yemen.

    A blockade the coalition imposed in early 2015 has also fueled the humanitarian catastrophe. The blockade was ostensibly created in order to prevent foreign actors from arming the Houthis and pro-Saleh militias. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have accused Iran of arming the Houthi-Saleh forces. The extent to which Iran is involved in the conflict is debated, nonetheless, and has often been exaggerated.

    Before the war began, Yemen imported 90 percent of its food; the blockade has thus plunged the impoverished country into even worse hunger. The U.S. Navy has helped to implement the Saudi-led coalition's blockade since it was first established.

    The war has led to the displacement of more than 3 million Yemenis. Since the summer of 2015, humanitarian groups have warned that more than 80 percent of Yemen's population has been in desperate need of aid, in the form of food, water, medicine, and oil.

    The war has also totally decimated the poorest country in the Middle East's fragile economy. In November, the New York Times reported that the coalition has been "systematically obliterating Yemen’s already bare-bones economy."

    Health crisis

    Growing hunger is an enormous problem in Yemen, but it is by no means the only one. A public health crisis has also taken thousands of lives. The coalition has bombed scores of hospitals and medical facilities in Yemen. The U.N. has repeatedly warned that Yemen's health-care system is "on the verge of collapse." Less than one-third of the population has access to medical care, and more than half of Yemen's health facilities are non-functional.

    Every week, more than 1,000 Yemeni children die due to preventable diseases — an average of one child every 10 minutes — according to UNICEF. Thousands are perishing from malnutrition, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. More than 2.2 million Yemeni children need urgent care, and at least 462,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, at risk of starvation, a 200 percent increase since 2014.

    "The state of health of children in the Middle East's poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today," Meritxell Relano, the deputy UNICEF representative in Yemen, warned in December. "Malnutrition in Yemen is at an all-time high and increasing."

    Cholera, which had nearly been eradicated, is also on the rise on Yemen. In its December humanitarian bulletin, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that it had documented 122 confirmed cases of the disease in 12 governorates, with 7,700 more suspected cases.


  3. #3
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    Yemen Reports First US Drone Strikes Under Trump

    10 Killed in Two Strikes Against Bayda Province

    A pair of US drone strikes in Yemen’s Bayda Province have killed at least 10 people over the weekend, according to Yemeni officials, marking the first drone strikes to be conducted under President Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday.

    Both drone strikes were in roughly the same rural area, with the first killing three “suspects” on motorcycles, and the second strike also hitting a vehicle, and killing seven people. Yemeni officials, as they always do, labeled all of the slain “armed fighters of al-Qaeda.”

    The reliability of the determinations on who was slain in any given strike has been in substantial doubt during the Saudi war in Yemen, as most of the US special forces who had been spotting targets were withdrawn in the lead-up to the war, and it’s not clear how they get intelligence on who they’re aiming at, apart from hitting vehicles in areas known to have an al-Qaeda presence.

    Marking the first strikes under Trump, the drone strikes may suggest that the policy of drone attacks against targets in nations in which the US is not at war is going to continue beyond the Obama Administration. Though drone strikes happened in the waning years of the Bush Administration, they grew substantially under President Obama, becoming a very controversial policy which has fueled anti-US sentiment in several nations that have been targeted.


  4. #4
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    Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister.

    Glenn Greenwald

    January 30 2017, 7:04 a.m.

    In 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate — the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out — another drone killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention.

    Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The U.S. eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely “collateral damage.” Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post “to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,” which explained: “Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies. His Facebook page shows a typical kid.”

    Few events pulled the mask off Obama officials like this one. It highlighted how the Obama administration was ravaging Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries: just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children.

    Even Obama-supporting liberal comedians mocked the arguments of the Obama DOJ for why it had the right to execute Americans with no charges: “Due Process Just Means There’s A Process That You Do,” snarked Stephen Colbert. And a firestorm erupted when former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs offered a sociopathic justification for killing the Colorado-born teenager, apparently blaming him for his own killing by saying he should have “had a more responsible father.”

    The U.S. assault on Yemeni civilians not only continued but radically escalated over the next five years through the end of the Obama presidency, as the U.S. and the U.K. armed, supported, and provide crucial assistance to their close ally Saudi Arabia as it devastated Yemen through a criminally reckless bombing campaign. Yemen now faces mass starvation, seemingly exacerbated, deliberately, by the U.S.-U.K.-supported air attacks. Because of the West’s direct responsibility for these atrocities, they have received vanishingly little attention in the responsible countries.

    In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

    But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.

    As noted by my colleague Jeremy Scahill — who extensively interviewed the grandparents in Yemen for his book and film on Obama’s “Dirty Wars” — the girl “was shot in the neck and killed,” bleeding to death over the course of two hours. “Why kill children?” the grandfather asked. “This is the new (U.S.) administration — it’s very sad, a big crime.”

    video: http://viewpure.com/ViGUSw6NBVU

    The New York Times yesterday reported that military officials had been planning and debating the raid for months under the Obama administration, but Obama officials decided to leave the choice to Trump. The new president personally authorized the attack last week. They claim that the “main target” of the raid “was computer materials inside the house that could contain clues about future terrorist plots.”

    The paper cited a Yemeni official saying that “at least eight women and seven children, ages 3 to 13, had been killed in the raid,” and that the attack also “severely damaged a school, a health facility and a mosque.”

    As my colleague Matthew Cole reported in great detail just weeks ago, Navy SEAL Team 6, for all its public glory, has a long history of “‘revenge ops,’ unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities.” And Trump notoriously vowed during the campaign to target not only terrorists but also their families. All of that demands aggressive, independent inquiries into this operation.

    Perhaps most tragic of all is that — just as was true in Iraq — al Qaeda had very little presence in Yemen before the Obama administration began bombing and droning it and killing civilians, thus driving people into the arms of the militant group. As the late, young Yemeni writer Ibrahim Mothana told Congress in 2013:
    Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants. … Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen.

    During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush’s policies. …

    Defenders of human rights must speak out. America’s counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world.

    This is why it is crucial that — as urgent and valid protests erupt against Trump’s abuses — we not permit recent history to be whitewashed, or long-standing U.S. savagery to be deceitfully depicted as new Trumpian aberrations, or the war on terror framework engendering these new assaults to be forgotten. Some current abuses are unique to Trump, but — as I detailed on Saturday — some are the decades-old byproduct of a mindset and system of war and executive powers that all need uprooting. Obscuring these facts, or allowing those responsible to posture as opponents of all this, is not just misleading but counterproductive: Much of this resides on an odious continuum and did not just appear out of nowhere.

    It’s genuinely inspiring to see pervasive rage over the banning of visa holders and refugees from countries like Yemen. But it’s also infuriating that the U.S. continues to massacre Yemeni civilians, both directly and through its tyrannical Saudi partners. That does not become less infuriating — Yemeni civilians are not less dead — because these policies and the war theories in which they are rooted began before the inauguration of Donald Trump. It’s not just Trump but this mentality and framework that need vehement opposition.


    8-year-old daughter of Anwar Al-Awlaki killed by US Yemen Raids

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/OurProphetO...8382736216012/

  5. #5
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    US soldiers shoot and kill 8-year-old girl in Yemen

    January 30, 2017

    video: https://youtu.be/m5imhy9SYgI

    While the media attention has been focused on the death of one US serviceman who was killed during a raid in Yemen, one of the most tragic casualties of the assault ordered by President Donald Trump was an eight-year-old girl.

    The raid took place over the weekend, as US forces attempted a "site exploitation" attack that attempted to gather intelligence on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the extremist group behind several high-profile terror attacks, including the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in two years ago.

    Though the United States hailed the operation as a success, reports from Yemen would seem to indicate that the price paid by Yemeni civilians and non-combatants was extraordinarily high.

    'Don't cry mama, I'm fine'

    According to medical sources on the ground cited by Reuters, 30 people were killed by US soldiers, at least ten of them women and children in what appeared to be a case of disproportionate force utilised by the American commando unit who were sent in to retrieve intelligence.

    Amongst the casualties was eight-year-old Nawar Al-Awlaki. Nawar is the daughter of US-born preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki who was the first American citizen to be assassinated in a US drone strike in 2011,
    decried by civil rights groups as an extrajudicial execution that denied him his right to a fair trial.

    Two weeks after Anwar's assassination, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman was killed in another US drone strike. Abdulrahman was a US citizen said to have been born in Denver, Colorado and was a child at the time he was killed on the authority of the Obama administration.

    With Nawar's murder, it appears that no relative of Anwar Al-Awlaki is safe, regardless of whether they are children or not, or even involved in terrorism or not.

    In a Facebook post, Nawar's uncle and former Yemeni Deputy Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ammar Al-Aulaqi said: "[Nawar] was shot several times, with one bullet piercing her neck. She was bleeding for two hours because it was not possible to get her medical attention."

    "As Nawar was always a personality and a mind far older than her years, she was reassuring her mother as she was bleeding out; 'Don't cry mama, I'm fine, I'm fine',"
    Ammar's emotional post continued.

    "Then the call to the Dawn prayer came, and her soul departed from her tiny body."

    Trump's fight against 'Islamic terrorism'

    Nawar's violent death came as a result of the Trump administration's fight against so-called "radical Islamic terrorism". In his inaugural speech, Trump vowed to wipe it off the face of the Earth. Trump made no similar vow against other forms of terror, including state terrorism.

    "She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours,"
    Nasser Al-Awlaki, Nawar's grandfather, told Reuters.

    "Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration - it's very sad, a big crime."

    In a statement, the Pentagon did not refer to any civilian casualties, although a US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could not be ruled out. Instead, the US was preoccupied with the death of one US serviceman who was killed during the operation that ended up with Nawar and many other children dead.

    Hailing the operation as a success, Trump said: "Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism."

    Two more US servicemen were injured when an American V-22 Osprey military aircraft was sent to evacuate another wounded commando, but came under fire and had to be "intentionally destroyed in place," the Pentagon said.

    Social media reacts

    Social media was awash with anger at the death of Nawar, blaming the US for "assassinating children".

    Mohammad Alrubaa, an Arab journalist and television show host, tweeted: "This is Nawar Al-Awlaki that the American marines came to Yemen to kill...#American_terrorism."

    Mousa Alomar, a Syrian journalist, tweeted "[US] marines killed Nawar Al-Awlaki and tens of women and children in Yemen. #US_terrorism_kills_Yemenis."

    Commenting on the fact that many civilian fatalities are justified as "collateral damage" by US military and political officials, Yemeni politician Ali Albukhaiti tweeted: "Nawar Al-Awlaki was not killed in an airstrike, but by a bullet fired by a marine and at close range. It is terrorism beyond terrorism, but it is defended and justified by a media that markets [such attacks]."

    Though raids like this one in the rural Al-Bayda province in Yemen's south are rare, the United States habitually utilises drone strikes to target individuals in what many deem to be extrajudicial killings, especially of its own citizens. Civilians are routinely killed in such drone strikes that are largely indiscriminate, but justified as a "legal act of war" by the US Justice Department.


  6. #6
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    Yemen Hit With Unprecedented Number Of US Drone, Air Strikes

    The attacks come a month after a botched US special forces raid ended in the deaths of 25 civilians, including nine children under the age of 13.

    In an unprecedented intensification of America’s counter-terrorism operations in Yemen, the US has confirmed it carried out 20 strikes across three central provinces.

    The strikes, which were carried out in the early morning, targeted fighters from the regional arm of al Qaeda, known as AQAP, their equipment and infrastructure, in the Yemeni provinces of Abyan, al Bayda and Shabwah, according to a press release from the US Department of Defense.

    Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in the statement that the strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi.

    The statement made no mention of how many people were killed and injured – neither AQAP fighters or civilians. However Yemeni officials told AFP seven people died in two of the strikes.

    The attacks come a month after a botched US special forces raid ended in the deaths of 25 civilians, including nine children under the age of 13 as revealed by the Bureau, and a US Navy SEAL. Earlier this week, a Pentagon official told NBC News that the Pentagon did not dispute these numbers.
    US Special Forces descended on Yakla village in Bayda province on January 29 with the hope of capturing key intelligence on AQAP.

    While President Donald Trump has said it was successful in this regard, a US defense official told CNN that the latest strikes, which it reported were both air and drones strikes, had been planned for some time and were not the result of any intelligence gathered in the raid.

    The latest strikes are a considerable increase in military activity in Yemen. The bombardment is a break from the steady pace of strikes in recent years, with the US carrying out an average of three strikes per month last year and never going above two strikes in a single day.

    The US was routinely conducting multiple strikes a day in 2012 during its efforts to expel AQAP from its stronghold in Abyan province. The province was the scene of heavy clashes between the Yemeni military and AQAP fighters – AQAP had taken advantage of the political unrest with the Arab Spring in 2011 to gain control of several towns.

    But even then, the highest number of confirmed strikes on a single day at any point of the Abyan offensive was four.

    In total, the Bureau has recorded at least 186 US air and drone strikes, and special forces raids, since the first in 2002. At least 853 people have been killed, 158 of them reported to be civilians, according to Bureau data.



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