Al Qaeda defenses were stronger than expected in Yemen raid

Rowan Scarborough:
An after-action review of the deadly SEAL Team 6 raid of a terrorist compound in Yemen shows that the Jan. 29 mission was not compromised, but it also concludes that the enemy was more ready to fight than expected and that women in one building surprised the commandos by firing weapons.

A house for family members within the terrorist compound was deemed not a major concern, based on an assumption that civilians would not likely fight, a U.S. military source told The Washington Times.

The SEAL team had hoped to collect more digital intelligence data, but a fierce firefight prevented a fuller search-and-seizure operation.

“Whether or not someone heard something from the air, there’s no reason for us to believe anyone in the compound was aware or heard those kinds of things,” said the source. “The team was on the ground for some amount of time before the firefight started.”

Using a hypothetical, the military source said that, if sentry patrols around a compound do not suddenly get ready for battle, then “we have a sense we have not been detected.”

“It erupted very quickly at a time you might expect it to when some members of the team had been on the ground for some amount of time,” the source said. “What we know is we have no indication of any prior knowledge or comprise in advance.”

The U.S. military source told The Times that the nighttime insertion did not lose the element of surprise.

But, the source added: “At a certain point, this becomes more kinetic than we expected. But that doesn’t mean there was a compromise. Perhaps the folks in the compound were more trained, prepared for a fight, not this fight, but a fight. Maybe they were more ready to fight, and they had established firing positions perhaps more than we would have expected.”

“Not compromised,” the source said, “but at a state of preparedness to enter into a fight that was probably unanticipated. When you talk about lessons learned, that is one of them. Maybe for any future such things that might occur in Yemen, we’ll probably put that into our knowledge and assumptions of what you might expect.”
There is more.

I have thought al l along that the criticism in the media and in Congress of this mission seems misplaced.  The suggestion that because you have casualties the mission is a failure is absurd.  Those making that assertion would have never taken Iwo Jima or any other island in the Pacific or done the landing at D-Day.


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