At Least 42 Killed in Army Offensive in Southern Yemen

Obama Aide in Sanaa to Assure Deeper US Involvement

by Jason Ditz, May 13, 2012

At least 42 people, including 12 members of Yemen’s military, were killed today in an attack by the military on the town of al-Hurur in the Abyan Province. The military claimed all 30 non-soldiers killed were “al-Qaeda.”

Yemen’s military has been escalating its offensive against Abyan in recent weeks, trying to reclaim the province from Ansar al-Sharia, a group which formed a de facto “emirate” out of the region last June during anti-government protests. The faction has repeatedly routed the military, but growing US involvement has given the military additional confidence that it can eventually reconquer the territory.

To that end top Obama aide John Brennan is in Sanaa today meeting with new Yemeni ruler Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Brennan will reported assure Hadi of “holistic US support to Yemen.”

The US has been launching drone strikes against Abyan for months now, and has deployed special forces, nominally as “trainers,” to support Yemen’s military in the ongoing fighting. The administration has repeatedly denied plans to but “boots on the ground” in Yemen, despite the deployments.

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