Yemen, whose government collapsed last month after President Obama called U.S. anti-terror policy in the country a success, is getting much worse.
#BREAKING 142 dead in Yemen mosque bombings: medical official— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) March 20, 2015
UPDATE from AP:
A television network owned by Yemen's Shiite rebels says a total of 137 people were killed and 345 injured in quadruple suicide bombings that hit a pair of mosques controlled by the rebels in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.
This morning, more than 120 people were killed in dual suicides in the capitol city. ISIS is taking credit for the attacks.
ISIS militants claimed credit for suicide bombings that medical sources on the ground said killed 126 and injured hundreds more in two mosques during midday prayers Friday in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, as the nation continued its collapse into chaos, terror and death amid fighting between Islam’s two major sects.
Witnesses said as many as four suicide bombers blew themselves up in the mosques, used by the Shia Muslim Houthi group, which has seized control of the government. The attacks, which also left hundreds injured, were preceded by an assault on a palace where the ousted president is living, according to reports. Yemen has seen escalating violence in recent months between the majority Sunni Muslims, who include Al Qaeda affiliates, and the Shia, who are backed by Iran.
"The heads, legs and arms of the dead people were scattered on the floor of the mosque," Mohammed al-Ansi told The Associated Press, adding, "blood is running like a river."
In the last two days, The Islamic State has now conducted attacks for the first time in Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen.— Aaron Y. Zelin (@azelin) March 20, 2015
To make matters worse, the Pentagon can't find $500 million worth of military equipment in the crumbling and chaotic country.
This is the first officially claimed attack by the Islamic State in Yemen, but they have been present for quite some time building capacity.— Aaron Y. Zelin (@azelin) March 20, 2015
The Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen, amid fears that the weaponry, aircraft and equipment is at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials.
With Yemen in turmoil and its government splintering, the Defense Department has lost its ability to monitor the whereabouts of small arms, ammunition, night-vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies donated by the United States. The situation has grown worse since the United States closed its embassy in Sanaa, the capital, last month and withdrew many of its military advisers.
Last month the State Department pulled all personnel and closed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen as rebels chanting death to America took over the government.
During his recent address to a joint session of Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu warned ISIS and Iran were battling it out in the Middle East for the crown of Islam. This horrifying attack proves that point.
As a reminder, on September 10, 2014 President Obama touted Yemen not only as a success, but upheld it as a model to fight ISIS (emphasis mine).
"Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order," Obama said.