Five days after taking the oath of office, President Donald Trump dined with some members of his national security team. During the meal, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford roughly outlined a plan for a risky counterterrorism raid in Yemen targeting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—the terrorist group’s most dangerous local affiliate.
In previous administrations, multiple levels of subordinates would have vetted this sort of mission before it was briefed to the president in the White House Situation Room with the full national security team present. Mattis and Dunford’s presentation to Trump was much more informal, but the new president nevertheless gave his conditional go-ahead. Then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn convinced Trump to sign off the following morning, saying the audacious raid would distinguish him from his more deliberative predecessor.
Members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 and special forces from the United Arab Emirates were soon advancing on the compound in Yemen’s al-Bayda province. But AQAP militants detected their presence, and an intense firefight broke out. Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens, a longtime member of SEAL Team 6, was killed. Another five special operators were injured. One of two Marine Corps Osprey aircraft dispatched to provide air support crashed and was destroyed by U.S. forces to prevent any sensitive equipment from falling into Al Qaeda hands. At least 16 Yemeni civilians, most of them children, were killed.
Read the Full Article at POLITICO
More from CNAS
CommentaryTrump has three options with North Korea to avoid a dangerous perfect storm in Asia
In the next few weeks, the Korean Peninsula will face a watershed moment -- one which could upend the United States' alliances in northeast Asia and regional stability as a wh...
By Duyeon Kim
CommentaryA fresh approach to peace in Afghanistan
An effective peace process is possible and desirable in Afghanistan. Success, however, will require a careful, step-by-step course to test bona fides, build confidence, reduce...
By Earl Anthony Wayne & Christopher D. Kolenda
CommentaryTrump was right to abandon the Taliban peace deal. Here’s what a good one would look like.
Two months after President Trump declared U.S.-Taliban peace talks “dead,” diplomacy with the Afghan insurgents is reviving. With the administration already having negotiated ...
By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk
VideoWhat does the US want from China? What is its endgame?
Daniel Kliman appears on a BBC News feature to discuss the state of U.S. policy toward China. Listen to the full conversation and more:...
By Daniel Kliman