Glenn Greenwald reports that a raid by the US Navy Seal Team 6 in Yemen has resulted in the death. among many other civilians including children, of Nawar al Awlaki, the 8-year old sister of 16-year old Anwar al Awlaki who was himself killed in 2011 by a US drone strike in Yemen. Both of them were the children of Anwar al Awlaki who was himself murdered in a drone strike two weeks before his son. It should be noted that the father and his two children were all US citizens, a fact that did not spare them from summary execution with no due process by Barack Obama then and Donald Trump now.
Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The U.S. eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely “collateral damage.” Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post “to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,” which explained: “Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies His Facebook page shows a typical kid.”
Few events pulled the mask off Obama officials like this one. It highlighted how the Obama administration was ravaging Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries: just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children.
In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.
But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.
As noted by my colleague Jeremy Scahill – who extensively interviewed the grandparents in Yemen for his book and film on Obama’s “Dirty Wars” – the girl was “was shot in the neck and killed,” bleeding to death over the course of two hours. “Why kill children?,” the grandfather asked. “This is the new (U.S.) administration – it’s very sad, a big crime.”
The New York Times yesterday reported that military officials had been planning and debating the raid for months under the Obama administration, but Obama officials decided to leave the choice to Trump. The new President personally authorized the attack last week. They claim that the “main target” of the raid “was computer materials inside the house that could contain clues about future terrorist plots.” The paper cited a Yemeni official saying that “at least eight women and seven children, ages 3 to 13, had been killed in the raid,” and that the attack also “severely damaged a school, a health facility and a mosque.”
As my colleague Matthew Cole reported in great detail just weeks ago, Navy Seal Team 6, for all its public glory, has a long history of “‘revenge ops,’ unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities.” And Trump notoriously vowed during the campaign to target not only terrorists but also their families. All of that demands aggressive, independent inquiries into this operation.
Perhaps most tragic of all is that – just as was true in Iraq – Al Qaeda had very little presence in Yemen before the Obama administration began bombing and droning it and killing civilians, thus driving people into the arms of the militant group.
I wrote about the crimes of Navy Seal Team 6 last week. So the carnage carried out by the US and its ally Saudi Arabia in Yemen continues, fueling murderous rage among those in the country who witness the results of these attacks and increasing calls for revenge on the US.