US Drone Shot Down: Trump Blames Iran

August 24th, 2019 - by Win Without War & Idrees Ali / Reuters

People inspect the wreckage of a drone that Houthis say they shot down near the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen, April 19, 2019. © Reuters / Naif Rahma

US Drone Shot Down: Trump Blames Iran

Win Without War

(August 22, 2019) — Just days ago a US drone flying in legally questionable airspace over Yemen was shot down. [See story below — EAW] Unnamed US officials immediately went to the press to lay the blame on Iran — our team was immediately on edge.

It is terrifying that moments like this make the world holds its breath, wondering if this could be the event Trump and Bolton will use as a pretext to start war with Iran — and it’s why it’s SO critically important we ensure Congress makes it unequivocal that Trump’s team does NOT have the legal authority to do so. 

Right now our team is furiously working to influence a notoriously opaque closed-door negotiation between House and Senate leaders over a must-pass defense bill that incredibly includes an amendment that would prevent the administration from starting an unauthorized war with Iran.

While most people are enjoying the last of summer, and Congress is formally ‘in recess’, our advocacy team is hard at work, pushing Hill staffers to defend this critical amendment. It’s not glamorous or splashy, but it is critical if we’re going to rein in Trump’s trigger-happy team — and there’s just days left. 

There are extremely good reasons to be anxious that even relatively small events could spiral into a full-blown US military response. 

Last month the Trump administration reached a kafkaesque crescendo to persuade the public to get behind war as it claimed that Iran was violating the terms of the nuclear deal … before the deal even existed.

Trump and Bolton’s claims about Iran are beyond parody. But there is nothing funny about them. 

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children — and more than 4,400 US military personnel — were killed as a result of Bush, Bolton, and team using misleading and intention claims to start the Iraq war.

This is why this closed-door congressional process is SO important: it explicitly and unambiguously states that Trump’s trigger-happy team does NOT have legal authorization for war with Iran and proactively blocks funds if Trump and co. try to start one. 

This is the final stretch. Months and months of activist pressure — calls, letters, meetings, advocacy, and more — got us here. Now this unglamorous, constant, critical work is what we need to defend everything we’ve achieved so far and STOP war with Iran — and we need your support to power the final stretch of our work to block Trump’s War Cabinet from unilaterally taking us to war with Iran.

Thank you for working for peace,

Erica, Ben, Kate, and the Win Without War team

Yemeni troops shoot down US drone on Yemen’s West Coast. (Photo: Yemen Press)

US Drone Shot Down over Yemen: Officials

Idrees Ali / Reuters

WASHINGTON (August 21, 2019) — A US military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen’s Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday, the second such incident in recent months. A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defenses had brought down a US drone. 

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday. 

This is not the first time a US drone has been shot down in Yemen. In June, the US military said that Houthi rebels had shot down a US government-operated drone with assistance from Iran. US forces have occasionally launched drone and air strikes against Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). 

The group has taken advantage of a four-year-old war between the Houthi movement and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government to try to strengthen its position in the impoverished country. 

One of the officials said that it appeared that the armed military drone, made by California-based General Atomics, had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile operated by the Iran-aligned Houthi group. 

“It appears to have been fired by the Houthis and enabled by Iran,” the official said, without providing details or specific evidence. 

The official said that while losing a drone was expensive, it was not unprecedented and it was unlikely to lead to any major response by the United States. The other official cautioned that it was too early to tell who was responsible for the incident. 

In a statement, the US military said it was investigating reports that a drone had been attacked “in authorized airspace over Yemen.” 

“We have been clear that Iran’s provocative actions and support to militants and proxies, like the Iranian-backed Houthis, poses a serious threat to stability in the region and our partners,” the US military’s Central Command said. 

The White House said it was aware of the reports and President Donald Trump had been briefed on the matter. 

“This attack is only possible because of Iran’s lethal aid to the Houthis and serves as yet another example of the regime’s relentless efforts to escalate conflict and threaten regional stability,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said. 

Iran rejects accusations from the United States and its Gulf Arab allies that Tehran is providing military and financial support to the Houthis and blames Riyadh for the deepening crisis there. 

Overnight, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said that the drone had been shot down. 

“The rocket which hit it was developed locally and will be revealed soon at a press conference,” Saria said on Twitter.

“Our skies are no longer open to violations as they once were and the coming days will see great surprises,” he added. 

The drone shoot-down comes as tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since Trump’s administration last year quit an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and began to ratchet up sanctions. Iranian officials denounced the new penalties as “economic warfare.” 

In June, Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone, far larger than the MQ-9 drone, and almost led to retaliatory US strikes. Trump later said he had called off the strikes because it could have killed 150 people. 

Reporting by Idrees Ali. Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Lisa Barrington in Duba.

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