President Donald Trump’s first overseas operation as commander in chief, a botched raid that led to the death of an American serviceman and significant civilian casualties, was never approved by former President Barack Obama before he left office, two top former national security officials said on Thursday.

The comments from Colin Kahl, the national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, and Ned Price, a former White House spokesman, came after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to deflect blame by saying Obama’s team had approved the plan.

The attack involved several dozen U.S. commandos belonging to the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 storming the stronghold of an al Qaeda leader in central Yemen early Sunday morning, according to reports in Reuters and the New York Time. With the complex better fortified than expected, the Americans and allied troops from the United Arab Emirates were soon engaged in a firefight and forced to call in air support. Ultimately, Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens and scores of Yemenis were killed, two Americans were wounded and a $70 million U.S. aircraft had to be deliberately destroyed.

Photo | Win McNamee/Getty Images



Yemen, officially known as the Republic of Yemen, is an Arab country in Western Asia, occupying South Arabia, the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is the second-largest country in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 km2 (203,850 sq mi). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 km (1,200 mi). It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east-northeast. Although Yemen’s constitutionally stated capital is the city of Sana’a, the city has been under rebel control since February 2015. Because of this, Yemen’s capital has been temporarily relocated to the port city of Aden, on the southern coast. Yemen’s territory includes more than 200 islands; the largest of these is Socotra.

Yemen was the home of the Sabaeans (biblical Sheba), a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years and probably also included parts of modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 275 AD, the region came under the rule of the later Jewish-influenced Himyarite Kingdom. Christianity arrived in the fourth century, whereas Judaism and local paganism were already established. Islam spread quickly in the seventh century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests. Administration of Yemen has long been notoriously difficult. Several dynasties emerged from the ninth to 16th centuries, the Rasulid dynasty being the strongest and most prosperous. The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early twentieth century. The Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was established after World War I in North Yemen before the creation of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962. South Yemen remained a British protectorate known as the Aden Protectorate until 1967. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern republic of Yemen in 1990. (Wikipedia).


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