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article imageTrump's first Yemen commando raid may have failed main objective

By Ken Hanly     Feb 7, 2017 in World
Military and intelligence figures told reporters that the goal of the commando raid in Yemen approved by Trump was to seize or kill the head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Qassim al-Rimi. Whatever happened al-Rimi appears to have survived.
al-Rimi is claimed to be the third most dangerous terrorist in the world and a master recruiter. In the operation last week, at least one Navy Seal was killed and at least three wounded. In all, it was claimed that 14 al-Qaeda members were killed along with numerous civilians. The 8 year old daughter of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the former U.S. citizen and Al-Qaeda ideologue, was among the children killed according to her grandfather. Multiple military officials claim that al-Rimi is still alive.
An audio recording released after the incident by al-Rimi is claimed by military sources to be authentic. CNN reported: The leader of Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has released an audio recording in which he describes President Donald Trump as the "White House's new fool" and says a recent U.S. raid against the group killed 25 people, including 11 women and children. In an 11-minute recording, AQAP leader al-Rimi condemned the January 29 raid, saying, "The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face." In contrast to western reports he also claimed that a number of Americans were killed. He did not make it clear whether he was not there when the Seal Team 6 with UAE commandos attacked or if he were elsewhere. There was no comment on the recording by the White House or the Pentagon.
NBC news analyst Juan Zarate, who was a national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said that even though the raid did not take out al-Rimi it still yielded some victories in that it did kill a number of Al-Qaeda leaders and at least that cell was disrupted and valuable intelligence may have been collected. Planning for the raid had already begun with an Obama plan to accelerate counterterrorism operations in Yemen. The proposal was referred to the incoming Trump administration who also in his campaign promised to accelerate attacks on terrorism.
Trump was told by Defense Secretary James Mattis that the capture of al-Rimi would be a "game changer" an anonymous senior White House official said. A senior US intelligence official told NBC news that things went wrong from the beginning. Residents in the house under attack were alerted. As soon as the commandos landed they came under fire and fighting erupted around houses where women and children were staying with some armed women firing at them.
An MV-22 Osprey called in for backup had a hard landing. It was rendered useless and destroyed deliberately by a pair of Harrier jets and two helicopter gunships who attacked the encampment and destroyed the Osprey according to a military official. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, called the raid "a successful operation by all standards" and claimed that the raid captured "materials and information that is yielding valuable intelligence". Apparently Trump approved approved the commando operation with no advice or consultation from intelligence officers or military commanders, according to officials familiar with the chain of events. However, it had obviously been in the planning stage for some time as Spicer notes in the appended video.
More about US Yemen relations, aqap, us commando raids in Yemen
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