. Military Space News .

U.S. steps up Obama's secret war in Yemen
by Staff Writers
Sanaa, Yemen (UPI) Aug 10, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Three days after U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated Osama bin Laden in May, the Americans mounted a major air operation in Yemen to kill a U.S.-born Muslim cleric they've branded one of al-Qaida's most dangerous leaders.

Anwar al-Awlaki just escaped the missiles fired from several U.S. aircraft but the operation marked a significant escalation in the secret war against the jihadists in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Awlaki's importance as a target can be measured by the forces sent to eliminate him: U.S. Marine Corps Harrier fighters, a Special Operations aircraft armed with short-range Griffin air-to-ground missiles and a Predator unmanned aerial vehicles carrying AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

The multi-aircraft strike May 5, during which U.S. fliers chased a pickup truck supposedly carrying Awlaki across rocky terrain, was part of a significant escalation in the largely secret U.S. campaign against AQAP, currently deemed the most dangerous jihadist group on the planet.

"This marks a major escalation in Washington's fight against the group, which is widely considered the most threatening to the U.S. homeland of all al-Qaida's affiliate," observed IPS Washington analyst Jim Lobe.

The intensification of covert operations mounted by the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA underline how U.S. President Barack Obama, while scaling down U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is cranking up secret wars, not just in Yemen but also in Somalia across the Gulf of Aden.

The Americans conducted their first known attack in Somalia June 23 using UAVs armed with supersonic, armor-piercing Hellfire missiles. The target was a camp used by al-Shabaab, an Islamist group linked to al-Qaida and designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2008.

This means the Americans are conducting clandestine airstrikes in six countries, a list that includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Indications are that Washington also plans to turn up the heat on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the jihadist's North African branch, as well.

The May 5 attempt to kill Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who has been involved in at least three plots against the United States over the last two years, failed but only just.

Awlaki, AQAP's ideologue and a key recruiter, remains a marked man as the Americans step up another clandestine conflict.

U.S. operations in Yemen are unlikely to come under congressional scrutiny, as the Arab country teeters on the brink of civil war after a six-month uprising against longtime dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, a flawed ally of the Americans who has frequently had dealings with the Islamists to stay in power.

In Yemen, security officials in Sanaa say there was a sharp intensification of remote-control UAV strikes in the first week of May, mostly targeting oil-rich Shabwa province east of Sanaa.

There were more than 18 in the first three weeks of June, with some 140 people killed.

Six of these strikes were in Abyan province in the south, on the Arabian Sea, where AQAP has flourished. Among the fatalities were longtime Yemeni jihadists Ali Abdullah Naji al Harithi, a senior operative, and Ammar Abadah Nasser al-Waeli, described as a key arms dealer.

The two men, veterans of the Iraq War, were killed June 13 in an airstrike on AQAP-held districts of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province.

Officially, the Americans say that it's only in recent weeks that systematic secret operations against AQAP have got going. But such operations have been under way for at least two years.

This underlines how Obama's administration has increasingly come to rely on covert counter-terrorism operations even as it withdraws U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.

This, critics say, is a template for how undeclared wars involving U.S. forces will be waged in the future, increasingly secret and free of congressional oversight.

"The important difference between Obama's wars in Pakistan and Yemen and his war in Libya is not in the level of hostilities or security interests, but rather in the ability to call one kind of war secret and another kind public," observed John Glaser of Antiwar.com, a Washington Web site.

"This realization, coupled with the cutting-edge technology that enables such shadow wars, carries dire prospects for the future."

Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Al-Qaida-linked rebels pounded in Somalia
Mogadishu, Somalia (UPI) Aug 8, 2011
The withdrawal of Islamist insurgents from Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, is a major gain for the shaky Western-backed Transitional Federal Government and comes as the United States is stepping up a covert war against the group that's linked to al-Qaida. As the Americans escalate counter-terrorism operations in Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, they have also stepped up covert airstrikes a ... read more

US destroys missile over Pacific in test

Israel tests advanced missile interceptor

US senators voice worry over radar deal with Turkey

New Missile Warning Satellite Delivers First Infrared Imagery

Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon C-1 Completes First Free-Flight Test

US Air Force Completes Developmental Testing of Raytheon Laser-Guided Maverick

Lockheed Martin To Support Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System

Lockheed Martin's GMLRS+ Completes Successful Test Flight of Long-Range Motor

Israel deploys UAVs to monitor gas fields

Israel deploys drones over offshore gas fields: report

Japanese inventor develops flying sphere drone

HALE-D Demonstrated During Abbreviated Flight

Raytheon Develops Miniature Antenna To Extend Millimeter Wave Friendly ID Technology

China launches another experimental satellite

USAF Approves Production of NGC Deployable Digital Wireless System for Remote Warfighters

Raytheon BBN Technologies Awarded DoD Contract to Develop a Secure, Attributed Military Network System

Electronic skin tattoo has medical, gaming, spy uses

Indra, AgustaWestland partner

Raytheon Small Diameter Bomb II Uncooled Tri-Mode Seeker Exceeds Expectations

Raytheon and Tobyhanna Army Depot Enter a Public-Private Partnership

Israel 'seeks 20 more F-35 stealth jets'

Thales New Zealand sounds out suppliers

Namibia orders EC-145 helicopter

Brazil's arms buying up for review again

Outside View: Day of infamy

China's aircraft carrier 'to pressure neighbours'

China aircraft carrier should handle disputes: report

Belarus, S. Ossetia cool on joining Russia

Boeing and BAE Systems to Develop Integrated Directed Energy Weapon for US Navy

System Integration of High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator Completed

Raytheon Acquires Directed Energy Capabilities of Ktech Corporation

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement