Marines Fled Unarmed from Sana’a; American Newspapers Described It as Setback for CIA
On February 11, 2015 AD, Yemen turned a black page of the American tutelage that lasted for decades, at that time- at dawn on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, about 40 cars exited US Embassy headquarters in Sheraton area of the capital, Sana’a, towards Sana’a Airport, These cars were carrying the last number of US Marines, CIA officers and personnel, and with them the last US ambassador, Matthew Toller, at that time, Reuters, BBC, CNN, and Western press agencies had published news the day before that saying the American ambassador would leave Sana’a, After repeated talk by US administration officials, starting in January 2015, that the United States of America has begun to reduce the number of its employees and members of the Special Forces, Marines and CIA in Yemen, and the reasons for leaving and its details are many.
The final exit of the Americans from the capital, Sana’a, came five days after the constitutional declaration announced by the Revolutionary Committee in the capital, Sana’a, on February 6, 2015. Which the American administration saw as a danger represented in closing the doors to its agenda that it had tried to impose since the victory of September 21 revolution. Americans were aware that they had reached a dead end and that political tutelage and military and security control over Yemen had fallen as a result of September 21 revolution, and the American ambassador has repeatedly expressed this, and we will talk about this point in detail.
The American embassy in Sana’a was not a diplomatic building, but rather an intelligence den, a military barracks, and the residence of the absolute ruler of Yemen, the American ambassador who was deciding and exercising the role of the president’s head. A center for political decision-making in Yemen, and an illustration of the American presence size that existed.
Embassy is the seat of the American ruler over Yemen
The incident of the destroyer Cole in October of the year 2000 AD was a pretext for the American approach towards the occupation of Yemen, with justifications for investigating on the incident, which the Yemeni authorities initially denied that it was a terrorist act, confirming that the explosion was from inside the destroyer. Then, after a few days, it backed down and accepted the Americans narrative that the bombing was a terrorist attack. Here, a military, security and political track began with justifications for the investigation and prosecution of the accused.
September 11, 2001 bombings added to the American justifications, the pretext of combating terrorism.
The American infiltration began with the justification for participating in the investigations about the destroyer Cole, then it gradually expanded with the justification for the right to try the accused, then carrying out military operations by drones, and after September 11, US administration promoted that there are terrorists in Yemen to impose the necessity of Marines presence in Yemen, and their presence and movement without any procedures, in addition to the presence of high-ranking officers from CIA, who replaced FBI.
In 2001, US administration appointed a new mission led by Edmund Hall, who appointed him as its ambassador to Sana’a at the time. Edmund Hall – one of those carefully chosen to deepen American tutelage – he was a security officer who graduated from the American intelligence services. This mission began its journey by drawing up the security and foreign policy of the regime in Sana’a. It defined the general lines of what the authority must abide by here. It imposed the course of security and military interventions and the presence in Yemen.
Hall worked to create a foothold for US Marines in Yemen and for the presence of CIA as well, under the pretext of pursuing terrorists and suspects in Cole.
The American ambassador himself took a very dangerous path, penetrating into the midst of the tribes and descending into the regions. Moreover, created incubators for the Takfiris in the tribal areas, especially where there are elements of what he called the Arab Afghans.
Hall published a book “High-Value Target”, in which he recounts his role in Yemen, and Hall reveals the nature of his work, which was not limited to diplomatic representation, but he was the president’s chief at the political, military and security levels.
On November two, 2002 AD, America carried out the first assassination of Abu Ali al-Harithi in Marib, one of those whom America called accused of bombing the destroyer Cole, to set a first precedent for the violation of sovereignty as the first military action carried out by America outside Afghanistan and before Iraq, of course.
US Ambassador Hall himself prepared a plan to attack Abu Ali al-Harithi’s car in Marib, after he made several visits to Marib, to gather information and prepare for the attack.
The slogan of combating terrorism and the American campaigns under the title The Presence of Terrorists in Yemen made Ambassador Edmund move widely in Yemen. On the fourth of June 2004 AD, this ambassador paid a visit to Al-Jawf province, for the purpose of purchasing weapons, which was repeated by him and the ambassadors who came after him.
At a later stage, the role of US Ambassador Gerald Feierstein 2010-2013 AD, known for his work as an officer in Pentagon and an official in fighting against terrorism, emerged as the president, head of government, head of parties, authority official, supervisor of the opposition, but also supervisor of Yemen’s relations with abroad and the performance of UN envoy who was appointed during the February revolution, and he was the one who formulated Gulf initiative, and who imposed Hadi as president on Yemenis, and he was the one who controlled all the details in Yemen.
During his time, the American presence of Marine officers strengthened. He was supervising the process of structuring the army, and speaking as if he was a spokesperson of Yemen.
It was not just an embassy of diplomatic representation, but also rather the seat of the American ruler in Yemen.
It was an American military, security and intelligence barracks. The embassy was the regional station of CIA and the regional capital of CIA, which was concerned with the Horn of Africa and the Gulf region, and it ran the army, security, and even parties and political decision from the American embassy.
The embassy a heavily armed military barracks
US Department of Defense sent thousands of American officers to Sana’a in the Yemeni army camps under the pretext that their presence on the ground is to confront terrorism. Under the pretext of training military forces, and under the pretext of military cooperation.
After Cole incidents, and then September 11, American generals, experts, and agents delegations began to flock to the capital, Sana’a, and then distributed to military camps. The first squads landed in the Special Forces camp in AlSubaha area. With the arrival of the first American military delegation, the Americans raised the necessity of arranging the presence of the Special Operations Forces and CIA in Yemen as well close contact with the Yemeni Special Forces and the political security.
At the same time, there was more than one American team, Admiral Callend’s first team in the Special Forces, a special team for the President’s security, and a third team working with the Minister of Interior for protection measures at airports, The American ambassador to Yemen was in all of this as the president’s boss. With the justification that there are terrorists in Yemen, units of US Marines began to arrive, accompanied by the CIA presence, which began to expand its activities to mobilize the Takfiri groups, and push them to carry out operations against the army.
Dozens of American planes arrived at Sana’a International Airport and the air base, packed with a shipment of equipment, devices, unknown technologies, various individual and medium weapons, armored vehicles, and others arrived carrying dozens of American personnel from more than one side, led by the operations of the Special Forces (Marines) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Accompanied by parcels of sensitive technology and the media dealt with this before September 21 revolution.
The Marines continue to arrive in Sana’a, justifying training and aid for the Special Forces and developing military relations. In the beginning, it was said that the number of Marines reaches 1,000 American soldiers, and then it turned out that the number is greater than that, and that it may reach five thousand soldiers from Marines.
The US Embassy compound in Sheraton was transformed into a military barracks, and the number of US Marines increased in, and around the embassy, and in Sheraton Hotel, in addition to their presence in the camps of the Special Forces in AlSubaha area, and in the Anti-Terrorism Forces, the deployment of Marines expanded continuously.
The American embassy imposed that its soldiers move around in their military uniforms and with their American identities, without coordination with the competent Yemeni authorities. American armored vehicles were seen, and there are pictures and videos, as they roamed in many areas, such as Bani-Matar area, in which the Special Forces camp is located. The American embassy expanded as a result of the increased number of soldiers. Sheraton Hotel was expanded also. It is in the same area where US Embassy is located. Marines were seen daily walking around in wearing their uniforms, and they were photographed on the roofs of the hotel, which became a military base for US Marines.
The American embassy witnesses daily meetings between the American generals and the ambassador, and between the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff, even the district commanders and commanders of military units, they receive their instructions from the ambassador. Without September 11 revolutionaries who saved the situation so that the homeland could achieve its independence, which ended with the escape of the American ambassador, the embassy staff, and the rest of Marines who were leaked in batches, we would have been under direct American occupation.
CIA barrack in the region the embassys security and intelligence role
Since the era of US Ambassador Edmund Hall 2001-2004 AD, US embassy has been transformed into a headquarters for CIA. American equipment arrived in Sana’a, including a CIA station in a joint operations center, with the best technology, secure communications equipment, surveillance and navigation devices, and eavesdropping devices, devices linked to the agency’s central databases to reach top-secret interceptions and collect information by various means and sources, and it recruited sources on the ground, established monitoring and reconnaissance centers with members of the Special Forces, until Yemen was considered one of the most important successes of George Tenet, Director of CIA.
The American ambassador, Edmund Hall, forced the president of former regime , Ali Saleh, to pledge to provide various facilities to CIA, and that what is being done in Yemen is based on a political basis, which is Saleh’s meeting with Bush in Washington, in addition to his meeting with Dick Cheney, the US Vice President, and his meeting with George Tenet, Director of CIA, in Sana’a in 2002.
After September 11th incident, America pressed to establish its security presence through CIA, then it formed another station for security control, and CIA doubled its presence at the American base in Sanaa or what was known as the embassy as a diplomatic designation of its presence, and the Federal Investigation Agency was positioned within the intelligence military barracks the American security forces in the capital, Sanaa, the American embassy, and a thousand elements arrived at the beginning, then the American intelligence elements continued to arrive, reinforced by the priorities of the attack, and under different headings, and they arrived in the form of committees and others.
America introduced equipment, ammunition shipments, technologies, armored cars, and special plates, and was able to build CIA station in the embassy, and through it, it controlled the infrastructure of the institution.
In 2009, US embassy was transformed into a headquarters for CIA’s regional station, which is specialized in Horn of Africa and the Gulf. There were thousands of CIA officers, officials, agents, analysts, collaborators and others.
CIA and US Embassy used to monitor all movement to and from Yemeni airports. Through a monitoring program established by America in the American embassy after the events of Cole and September, in addition to taking over the president’s security measures, and also a system for controlling the automatic issuance of passports.
US Embassy controlled the monitoring of Yemeni ports and border crossings, and American teams installed monitoring devices at ports in two phases: the first of which began following the arrival of an American team to install special equipment and modern equipment at international airports, Haradh and some ports in Aden, and the second phase included other ports such as Mukalla, Hodeida, Khawkhah, and the land border posts with Saudi Arabia and Oman, meaning that the American spy program included Yemen and the region.
The embassy imposed on the Yemeni authorities not to object the Americans. Not asking them for their work identity and allowing them to enter the Republic of Yemen and get out of it with American identification documents, traveling inside Yemen with driving licenses and licenses issued by US authorities, wearing military uniforms is also permitted. It imposed a non-inspection of US planes, vehicles, ships and parcels coming to Yemen, and canceled the presence of mobile protection from the Yemeni security forces, and the cancellation of any procedures related to the movement of Americans between some Yemeni cities, a number of Americans who are present in the headquarters have monitored the occurrence of some security incidents and explosions.
The American ambassador used to meet the security leaders of Yemen, including the Interior minister, and direct them as if they were his subordinates, and it happened that the American ambassador directed the Minister of Interior to cancel the procedures for smooth transitions between Yemeni cities and to visit them without notice in order to continue their work without problems.
US Embassy has subjected all Yemeni security, intelligence, political and interior security services to its management, and controlled all its details. It created places for it inside the headquarters of the security services, under the pretext of working closely with the Yemeni security services to confront terrorism.
September 21 revolution came to put an end to that orgy, the American tutelage was dropped in political affairs, and it dropped its military and security role as well. The Americans have repeatedly stated that they have lost their control, movement, liaison operations, and other things in Sana’a, until they left Yemen on February 11, 2015 AD. Therefore, this day is an important station for getting rid of American hegemony, which was accomplished by September 21 revolution.
Details of the American escape
On the eighth and ninth of February 2015, columns of smoke were seen rising from the vicinity of the American Embassy in Sheraton. It turned out that the smoke was emanating from an oven in which documents and files were being burned and destroyed, and the archive files of CIA located in the embassy. Newspapers and agencies quoted on a source as saying that the fire was due to the process of disposing of the data in the US Embassy archives.
On February tenth, BBC, CNN, and many Western agencies reported that US ambassador would leave with the rest of the Americans within 24 hours. Before that, and since January 25, American spokesperson have been confirming the reduction in the numbers of their employees, embassy workers, and Marine and CIA officers from Sana’a.
Pentagon has stated that the Iwa Jima is an amphibious assault ship, arrived on January 25, 2015 to the coasts of the Red Sea, with a unit of US Marine Corps, it remained stationed on the coast of the Red Sea in Hodeidah, according to Reuters, which at the time quoted on a US military official as saying that a unit of US Marine Corps was protecting the embassy. The Navy’s amphibious assault ship, the Iwa Jima, is moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, ready to assist in the evacuation of the embassy crew, CIA personnel and Marines from Sana’a, If the US State Department requested it, as for why the Pentagon sent a ship of this size, the goal is clear, there are high-ranking officers in Sana’a.
The Americans continued to leave gradually since the revolution of September 21, until on Wednesday, February 11, the last American soldier in the convoy of US Ambassador Matthew Toller, along with the remaining soldiers and officers of the Marines and CIA elements, left on board about 40 armored cars from the embassy towards Sana’a airport and they reached the airport.
Upon the arrival of the American Marines and CIA at Sana’a Airport, the Marines tried to leave with their weapons, but the airport security insisted that they leave according to diplomatic rules, and without weapons, so the Americans smashed their personal weapons and smashed them in the vicinity of the airport, Pentagon stated at the time that the soldiers broke their weapons with hammers .
US embassy in Sanaa was the regional headquarters of CIA, and America moved the regional headquarters, which includes the Gulf and the Horn of Africa, to the Omani capital, Muscat, after the embassy closed and the Americans left, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed website, said media quoted on well-informed American political and security sources, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) moved its regional station in southern Arabia from Yemen to the Sultanate of Oman, because of what it described as inadequate security conditions in Sana’a, and the agency had established its station in Sana’a at the end of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s era, according to Saleh himself’s admission in an interview he gave before the outbreak of 2011 revolution. Washington Post, quoting on current and former US security officials, said that CIA evacuated hundreds of its elements in Yemen, within about 200 elements, who were working from inside US Embassy in Sanaa prior to the closure of the embassy.
US Marines and CIA officers left Sana’a at dawn on Wednesday, the eleventh of February, in an image that reflects the size of the liberation transformation achieved by September 21 revolution, ushering in a new era of independent sovereign decision, liberated from American hegemony that rules the world and exercises guardianship over it.
On the 12th of February, one day after the Americans left Sanaa, Washington Post said that CIA officials described their exit from Sana’a as a major setback. The officials noted that CIA has withdrawn dozens of agents, analysts and other personnel from Yemen as part of a larger expulsion of about 2,000 Americans who were present in Sana’a, among those expelled were high-ranking officers who worked closely with the Yemeni intelligence and security services to target America’s enemies in the region.
US officials reported that the closure of the embassy included the departure of military personnel and key elements of CIA who work in Yemen with their Yemeni and Saudi counterparts at the agencys regional center that was based in Sanaa. Later, CIA said that it was unable to save its intelligence network, which it had collected in Sana’a, and that it had lost all its data and information.
Current and former US officials told Washington Post that the closure of US embassy in Yemen forced CIA to reduce its activities. They said the evacuation represented a major setback in counter operations to the world’s most dangerous AlQaeda branch.
The officials noted that CIA pulled dozens of agents, analysts, and other personnel from Yemen as part of a larger operation to remove the roughly 2,000 American soldiers who were in Sana’a. Among those who were expelled were high-ranking officers who worked in camps and the Yemeni security services.
For his part, a former senior official involved in the fight against American terrorism in Yemen stated that the embassy was the main base in Yemen for American intelligence operations; on the other hand, US officials said that CIA was unable to withdraw all CIA personnel from Yemen. They asserted that the agency would try to save the intelligence network that had been collected in cooperation with Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other allies over the past years.
They acknowledged that the basic intelligence arrangements and relationships that had been established had damaged. The closure of the embassy, for example, included the departure of military personnel and key CIA agents who had worked in recent years with their Yemeni and Saudi counterparts at the Counterterrorism Center in the capital, Sana’a.
CIA deployed teams of activists and analysts in Yemen, and built an air base of drone fleets in Saudi Arabia, from which it carried out dozens of attacks against targets in the Arabian Peninsula.
The ambassador complains: Americans no longer have any mission in Sana’a
A politician narrated that the American ambassador, after the victory of September 21 revolution, told him that they had lost their role in Sana’a, and that their contacts were cut off, between the embassy and the security services, and that the Americans no longer had any contact with national and political security, after there was a network of communication between them. He said that the Americans no longer have any mission in Sana’a.
Since the revolution of September 21, events followed a sequence that ended with the escape of US ambassador, the Marines and CIA, to bring down the US tutelage forever. This is why what happened on February 11, 2015 can be described as the day got rid of US hegemony and tutelage that it imposed on the homeland for six decades.
A symposium organized by the Yemeni Media Union in Sana’a.