Report from the Yemen Post of a substantial addition to U.S. Marines in Yemen. (About 50 Marines were used last year to secure the U.S. Embassy.) According to this report (I can find no other current report yet), 1,700 Marines were deployed, 200 for the Embassy and 1,500 sent to al-Anad air base. This report appears to be accurate because of the information appearing in an earlier news report from the Yemen Times.
Al-Anad air field is the site from whence the U.S. conducts drone operations. It was attacked in early May. Three Yemeni pilots were killed. Fuel tanks were ignited, almost reaching a large fuel depot. This Yemen Times article contains the following informative remarks:
“Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Qaed, an officer in Brigade 90 stationed at Al-Anad base, told the Yemen Times this was not the first attack on the base.
“At the end of 2012 there was an attempted bombing on American troops who are stationed inside the base. American troops have been operating drone strikes from the base since 2012, Qaed said.
“‘Since the American drones were brought here, we’re always busy. We have to defend them from Al-Qaeda attacks. The drones are always taking off,’ Muthana said.
“Al-Anad airbase is located in Lahj, 60 kilometers to the north of Aden and is the largest military airbase in Yemen.”
I surmise that the additional Marines have been sent to protect the base and for other operations, such as training Yemenis. That is what General Dempsey said earlier this year.
Furthermore, the timing is related to attacks on Yemen’s main pipeline by “tribesmen”.
The Reuters report on the pipeline attacks notes
“Yemen’s stability is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic position next to oil exporter Saudi Arabia and shipping lanes, and because [it] is home to one of al Qaeda’s most active wings.”
The Yemen Post article states
“Whether or not related, the arrival of yet more American troops to Yemen coincide[s] with a remark made by U.S. Senator John McCain early June that the Houthis (a group of Zaidi rebel organized under the leadership of Abdel-Malek al-Houthi) are now posing a bigger threat to Yemen’ stability than al-Qaeda.”
There is more to understanding the American intrusion into Yemen, including the religious divisions, a weak economy and rising anger at the U.S. drones killing innocent Muslims.
5:13 am on June 19, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff