The US has stepped up flights by pilotless drones and increased the deployment of special forces and CIA operatives in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen. The US military and CIA have been covertly operating in Yemen since at least 2002.
The November 7 Washington Post quoted unnamed US officials as saying that drones operating over Yemen now included Hellfire missile-equipped Predators. The article said that “up to 100” extra US “Special Operations force trainers” and an unspecified number of “additional CIA teams” were being deployed.
The pretext for this rise in aggression was two parcel bombs mailed from Yemen to Jewish organisations in Chicago that were discovered on cargo planes in Dubai and Britain on October 29, after tip-offs from Saudi intelligence.
The bombs were mailed with a sender’s address: that of medical student Hanan al-Samawi, who was detained with her mother until Yemeni police concluded she was the victim of identity theft.
The US has accused 28-year-old Yemen-based Saudi exile Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri of being the “master bomb maker” responsible for the parcel bombs and other recent attacks.