…as has been alleged, apparently mistakenly, by CNN and Fox News.
Houthi rebels took all U.S. Embassy vehicles parked at the Yemeni capital’s airport and wouldn’t let departing U.S. Marines take their weapons with them, a top Sanaa airport official said about the latest evidence of unrest in an Arab nation long seen as key in America’s fight against terrorists.
The actions come after the United States, along with Britain, suspended operations at their embassies and moved out staffers because of the instability in Yemen.
According to the official, the Houthis seized many U.S. Marines’ weapons at the airport, and the American troops also handed over some to random airport officials.
A senior defense official told Fox News that Marines were directed to turn over their weapons after leaving the U.S. embassy in Yemen.
Veteran and Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth was on “The Kelly File” to sound off on the order, which reportedly came from the U.S. State Department.
“So, we’re surrendering around the world, we’re surrendering our embassy, and now we’re asking U.S. Marines to surrender their dignity, give up oaths that they made, creeds that they live by, and surrender their rifle,” Hegseth said.
Hegseth wondered who thought it was right to have Marines hand over their weapons to Yemeni officials before evacuating the country.
“Someone botched the plan,” he said.
Fox later updated their story to conform with the Pentagon’s clarification…
The Marine security detachment guarding the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen left no operational weapons behind as troops evacuated the country, a senior Marine official with knowledge of the movement told Marine Corps Times.
Officials with the Sanaa airport told the Associated Press earlier today that Houthi rebels seized more than 25 official U.S. vehicles in the wake of the hasty departure of embassy staff, some with personal weapons left inside.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters that the embassy’s Marine security guard detachment destroyed larger weapons, including machine guns, and added that he believed they had turned over personal weapons to Yemeni officials because they could not take them on commercial flights.
But the Marine official, who asked that he not be identified because he was unauthorized to discuss the situation, said no working Marine weapons, whether crew-served or personal rifles and sidearms, were seized or handed over as the troops departed.
“No Marines handed over a functional weapon to anybody,” the official said.
Each weapon was made inoperable before the Marines’ departure, the official said. It was not clear, he said, whether the Marines damaged the weapons’ barrels, removed rifle bolts, or taken other steps to render them unusable.
At this point it ought to be satisfactorily established that our people didn’t turn over top-of-the-line weaponry to people leading “Death To America!” cheers in the streets of Sana’a, though that can’t be said of the two dozen vehicles left at the airport.
But the weapons issue isn’t what’s important here.
What’s important here is the completely slapdash approach to the embassy and its evacuation the U.S. State Department appears to be guilty of. We apparently had US Marines unarmed and under the control of a group that was sponsoring “Death To America” demonstrations in the streets of Sana’a at the airport there.
The only thing keeping those Marines from ending up like the Tehran embassy staff in 1979 was the goodwill of the “Death To America” crowd. It’s a miracle this didn’t end up in complete disaster.
Now, the excuse made for this is exigent circumstances, and the need to get everybody out of the country as fast as possible due to the rapidly deteriorating situation there.
But the Houthis who have taken over that country, who are Iranian proxies largely trained by Hizbollah and the Iranian Quds Force, began posing a major threat in Yemen well more than a week ago. That we would have to vacuate that embassy in such a willy-nilly fashion that the Marines would have to be completely unarmed at the airport in Sana’a because they were being put on commercial flights – apparently because things had to move too fast to get a military transport in there to evacuate the Marines with their arms – isn’t acceptable. It’s absurd.
U.S. Marines are about as high-value a terrorist target as you can imagine. In a hostile Muslim country, which Yemen has long been even before Iran’s proxies took it over, the absolute last thing we should tolerate ought to be leaving them vulnerable at a place like an airport where armed hostiles could take them into custody. And that could have happened at the terminal, at the gate and even on the tarmac.
What would have happened if the Houthis had snatched 100 Marines from the Sana’a embassy and shipped them off to Iran? We have a president bending over backwards to get some facade of a nuclear deal with the Iranians at present; what would the bargaining table have looked like when we were not only trying to get Iran to stop trying to make nuclear bombs but also to give us back our Marines?
Sure, you say, but none of that happened. So there’s nothing to worry about.
OK, fine. What happens when the next iteration of the “Arab Spring” comes along? What happens when Shi’ite militias take over in Bahrain, or ISIS overruns Baghdad, or Muscat turns into Sana’a? Don’t you think the lessons of what happened in Yemen will be applied then?
The guess is the bad guys aren’t going to be quite so accomodating. They now know the U.S. State Department will allow its Marines to go unarmed out of a country where the embassy needs to be evacuated, and a simple show of force at the right time can yield captives of the highest possible value.
And from there, they merely need to consult the Quran, 47:4…
Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.
If it is U.S. policy to ever put our Marines in harm’s way without the means to defend themselves in countries where jihadists constitute the dominant authority whether civil or military, those making that policy need to be removed immediately.
In a sane world we’d have a top-to-bottom bloodletting at the State Department over what happened in Sana’a.