Yemen expresses concern at U.S. raid but stops short of ban | Reuters
By Yara Bayoumy and Noah Browning | WASHINGTON/DUBAI WASHINGTON/DUBAI The Yemeni government has expressed concern to the United States over a U.S. commando raid targeting al Qaeda militants which killed several civilians, but it stopped short of revoking permission for future operations.The nighttime raid in southern al-Bayda province, approved by new U.S. President Donald Trump, resulted in a gun battle that left one Navy SEAL dead and an American aircraft a charred wreck.
By Yara Bayoumy and Noah Browning
WASHINGTON/DUBAI The Yemeni government has expressed concern to the United States over a U.S. commando raid targeting al Qaeda militants which killed several civilians, but it stopped short of revoking permission for future operations.The nighttime raid in southern al-Bayda province, approved by new U.S. President Donald Trump, resulted in a gun battle that left one Navy SEAL dead and an American aircraft a charred wreck. Local medics said several women and children were killed."We have not withdrawn our permission for the United States to carry out special operations ground missions. However, we made clear our reservations about the last operation," a senior Yemeni official told Reuters."We said that in the future there needs to be more coordination with Yemeni authorities before any operation and that there needs to be consideration for our sovereignty," he added. The account was confirmed by another Yemeni official.U.S. defence officials said they were investigating the reports of civilian casualties in the raid. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday the operation was aimed at gathering intelligence and was "highly successful".The senior Yemeni official told Reuters that Yemeni president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi had met with the U.S. ambassador to Yemen and "made clear his reservations about the problems with the last operation".
The Yemeni government has supported a U.S. campaign against the country's powerful al Qaeda branch for more than a decade.Dozens of drone strikes, stepped up under President Barack Obama, have killed senior leaders but have also repeatedly killed civilians.The State Department said the United States would continue working with Hadi "and his representatives to ensure that this important partnership remains solid in order to ultimately eradicate" al Qaeda and Islamic State from Yemen.
The Jan. 29 commando raid was only the second publicly acknowledged ground attack by U.S. forces in Yemen, after Obama launched a failed 2014 attempt to rescue two hostages from al Qaeda in which both were killed. The situation is complicated by Yemen's civil war pitting the Saudi-backed government against the Houthi movement aligned with Iran. Although the government is recognised internationally, the Houthis control many of Yemen's main population centres including the capital Sanaa.The operation may also have created a headache for the government not just by killing innocent people but also a local al Qaeda commander, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, who was an ally of pro-government tribes fighting the Houthis..
The deaths could alienate those armed tribes fighting for the government cause and aid al Qaeda recruitment."It was wrong to kill him and the children...he fought the Houthis and did not have any thought of launching attacks abroad. If the government allowed this to happen, it was a mistake," one tribal leader from al-Bayda said.While it is not clear whether the government approved the raid or signs off on each U.S. drone attack, a senior Yemeni security official said the attacks might continue regardless."The Americans have their own sources of intelligence among local informants and lower level officials so would not necessarily need the help of the government for its attacks," the official said. (Editing by Angus MacSwan and Andrew Hay)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.