United States Marines were stopped at an airport in Yemen’s capital on Wednesday. They were stopped by Houthi rebels and claims were released that while being searched, embassy vehicles as well as military weapons were taken. However, new statements have been released by the American Marines claiming that they did not give any military weapons to Yemen rebels.
The Marines were sent home after the American embassy decided to suspend operations and move out the people stationed there due to military instability in the region. According to officials, weapons were handed over to airport security and even some random airport employees.
The senior military official has a different story. He claims that the Marines disabled their weapons and handed them over to security officials at the airport, not Houthi fighters.
In most recent news, the Marines themselves released a statement, seemingly contradictory to the other two statements that had been released. They said that all military weapons were destroyed at the embassy and the personal weapons they carried on them were destroyed at the airport and not given to anyone.
The embassy was evacuated this past week after the Houthi rebels took control over Yemen. This Islamic group is publically known as anti-American and their actions have been endorsed by Iran.
The Marines described the disabling of their weapons to clear up previous Pentagon comments saying active weapons were handed over to airport officials. Their statement says that “each bolt was made inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers” and “the bodies of the weapons were separately smashed.” These smashed weapons were left at the airport, scattered. The Marines then again clarify “no usable weapons were left at the airport.”
The American Marines’ claim that they did not give up their weapons to Yemen rebels, or anyone in the airport for that matter, goes along with their organized destruction plan. The previous day, the embassy followed their exiting plans by burning documents and destroying on site weapons, according to Yemeni embassy officials.
The diplomatic alliance between Washington and Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, seems to have been put on hold after recent political unrest in the country. France and the United Kingdom followed suit and also closed their embassies.
Yemen has been instrumental in America’s fight against ISIS, being the leading country in al-Qaeda. The American officials were working with Yemeni leaders to find and target extremist group members. However, Yemen’s most recent President, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, has resigned after being over powered by Houthi fighters. Parliament has been dissolved and the fighters are now in power.
There have already been cases of resistance to the new power holders. United States Special Forces are scheduled to remain in Yemen. There are discussions regarding whether special forces should make contact with the Houthi rebels and talk with them.
Yemen’s government has been an instrumental ally with the United States in fighting terror in the Middle East. Recent investigations have shown that the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks can be tied back to the leading terror group in Yemen, AQAP.
Although previous officials suspected that the Marines gave up working weapons to the Yemeni airport officials, new information has changed the story. The American Marines claim they did not give any usable weapons over to Yemen rebels, or any other airport official.
Written by Audrey Madden
Photo by – Creative Commons License–