Bipartisan Senate group demands briefing on Yemen raid

Bipartisan Senate group demands briefing on Yemen raid
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A bipartisan group of senators is demanding a briefing on the controversial raid in Yemen that left one Navy SEAL dead.

“We write today with serious concerns about U.S. policy in Yemen and to urgently request a classified briefing regarding our actions and objectives there,” the senators wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey.

The letter was signed by Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (D-Conn.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Only two people cited by TSA for mask violations have agreed to pay fine Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (R-Ky.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Al Franken to launch 15-stop comedy tour Democrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control MORE (D-Minn.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHouse GOP stages mask mandate protest 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter MORE (R-Utah).

The four have been highly critical of U.S. policy in Yemen in the past, particularly U.S. support of the Saudi Arabia-led campaign in the civil war there between the internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels.

Last year, they led a failed effort to block an arms sale to the Saudis over their conduct in the war, expressing concern about the mounting civilian death toll.

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The raid in Yemen was against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which military leaders and experts have said has been allowed to flourish in a vacuum created by the civil war.

In addition to the SEAL’s death in the raid, civilians were killed in what’s been depicted in news reports as a chaotic scene where almost everything went wrong.

The raid was the first military operation ordered by President Trump and has become increasingly controversial, especially after he and his press secretary have said over the last two days that anyone who criticizes it dishonors the SEAL killed.

The Yemeni foreign minister has said his country is “reassessing” its approval of U.S. ground operations in the country in the wake of the raid, which enraged Yemenis after pictures of children apparently killed in the operation circulated in the country.

“Our counterterrorism mission against AQAP must remain a top priority, which is why reports that the Yemeni foreign minister has called for a ‘reassessment’ of U.S. counterterrorism operations following the recent raid are troubling,” the senators wrote in their letter.

“We therefore respectfully request a briefing for members of the United States Senate on the status of U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen, our ongoing involvement in the Yemeni civil war, our support for U.S. allies operating in Yemen and overall U.S. objectives there.”