Trump’s first test as commander in chief has resulted in a complete failure President. In fact, it such a disaster that the operation is now the subject of a preliminary inquiry to determine if allegations of civilian deaths merit a war crime investigation.
Donald Trump personally approved a US commando raid in Yemen that left one elite serviceman dead and at least 14 civilians, including eight-year-old American girl, the US military has told the Guardian.
The operation was launched to gather intelligence on suspected operations by al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP), according to Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for US Central Command. Planning for the raid “started months before”, under Barack Obama’s administration, but was “not previously approved” because the military needed more intelligence to avoid mistakes, he said.
A former official said the operation had been reviewed several times, but the underlying intelligence was not judged strong enough to justify the risks. However, Trump personally demanded the operation to be executed despite serious warnings from the military.
The young girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, was killed in the raid, according to her family. Nawar, is the daughter of the al-Qaida propagandist and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a September 2011 US drone strike in Yemen.
On the campaign trail, Trump endorsed killing relatives of terrorist suspects, which is a war crime. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he told Fox News in December 2015.
The Trump administration denied that US military forces knew the girl was in the house before launching the operation, or that any of what Central Command said were an “estimated” 14 people ultimately killed in the raid were civilians. In fact, they didn’t have much information prior to the attack ordered by Trump.
The girl, who was staying at the house with her mother, was shot in the neck and died two hours later, her grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki told The Guardian.
According to a former defense official, the Obama White House was “reluctant” to authorize special operations raids against unverified targets to avoid civilian casualties.
No such reluctance appears to persist in the new administration. When Central Command initially disclosed the raid on Sunday, it signaled that the mission was “one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen and worldwide”.
Though both al-Qaida and Isis have made increasing use of female attackers in bomb plots in north Africa and Europe in recent months, there is little evidence that either group has ever deployed women in more traditional combat roles in strongholds within the Middle East.
“When the commando unit landed, everybody in the village tried to respond, – not because they were al-Qaida, but because the pre-dawn raid frightened them.
but because the pre-dawn raid frightened them.including women,” Awlaki said.
“Mr Trump, his actions will only make things difficult, whether in America or elsewhere in the world. My message is that there are other ways, really, to solve problems rather than using actions like killing people in Yemen and also banning Muslims from entering the United States.”
The pre-dawn raid was plagued by trouble from the start. A tilt-rotor MV-22 transporting the commandos experienced a “hard landing” near the target location, and had to be destroyed. Chief petty officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the accident and three other Navy Seals were injured, according to the report.