Spicer demands apology from McCain, critics of Yemen raid

McCain's reference to "significant opposition", relates to a report by NBC, suggesting that Trump went ahead with the operation after military advisers reportedly told him that his predecessor, Obama, was not "bold enough" to launch it. NBC news also cited an anonymous official privy with the events that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford told the President that capturing the raid's intended target would be a "game changer".

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi made the statement, the Associated Press reported, after The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing unnamed USA officials, that Yemen had revoked "permission for the U.S.to run Special Operations ground missions against suspected terrorist groups in the country".

"Yemen continues to cooperate with the United States and continues to abide by all the agreements", he said, adding, that the government "is involved in talks with the USA administration on the latest raid".

As well as the reported civilian casualties and the death of 36-year-old Navy Seal Owen Williams, the MV-22 Osprey used apparently landed hard, injuring those on board, and had to be destroyed.

Those who say the raid wasn't a success, Spicer said, don't fully appreciate "how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks".

"The raid that was conducted in Yemen was an intelligence gathering raid", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

"While numerous objectives of the recent raid in Yemen were met, I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success", McCain said in his Tuesday statement. "Full stop", he answered. John McCain, chair of the Armed Services Committee, who called the recent us raid in Yemen a "failure" following a classified briefing Tuesday morning.

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Watch the exchange above.

Though al Qaeda claimed one of the dead, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, as one of their "martyrs", some officials on the government side denied that and said he was an important partner with local tribes in battles against the Houthis.

"It is tough to ever use the word success when you know that someone has lost their life", Spicer said on February 2.

Mekhlafi said reports that Yemen has asked the United States to halt ground operations are "not true", according to the Associated Press.

Navy Capt. John Davis said Tuesday that there was "never any intention, hope, anticipation, or plan" that Al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi would be captured or killed in the raid. "If the government allowed this to happen, it was a mistake", one tribal leader from al-Bayda said.

The International Crisis Group think-tank has warned that operations like the Baida raid risked fanning hostility towards the U.S. among civilians, providing fertile ground for recruitment by al-Qaeda. "Going forward, I am confident that our military will act on lessons learned from this operation to strengthen our fight against our terrorist enemies".

  • Adam Floyd