‘Saleh Played Us’: US Sees 2010 Attack as Trick to Assassinate Rival

Deputy Governor Was Ordered to Site of Impending US Attack, Slain

With long-time Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh headed to the US for medical treatment, top US military officials are coming forward with claims that they “got played” by Saleh in the 2010 assassination of an up-and-coming political rival.

The attack, launched in late May of 2010, killed Deputy Governor Jaber al-Shabwani, a member of one of the most powerful tribes in central Yemen, was initially called a Yemeni strike but later revealed to be a US missile attack.

The central government had ordered Shabwani to the site ahead of the attack, supposedly to meet a member of an al-Qaeda auxiliary to negotiate a surrender. The US strike killed him and three of his traveling companions.

And according to US officials, the attack was conducted entirely on the basis of Saleh’s say-so, with the Yemeni government providing all the intelligence on the ground claiming the site was a large clandestine al-Qaeda meeting.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.