So claims Megyn Kelly in the clip below, citing a defense source. Question: Did State issue that order because it wanted to, or because it felt it had to?
Houthi rebels took all U.S. Embassy vehicles parked at the Yemeni capital’s airport and wouldn’t let departing U.S. Marines take their weapons with them, a top Sanaa airport official said about the latest evidence of unrest in an Arab nation long seen as key in America’s fight against terrorists…
According to the official, the Houthis seized many U.S. Marines’ weapons at the airport, and the American troops also handed over some to random airport officials.
However, a senior U.S. military official told CNN the Marines disabled their weapons and gave them to a Yemeni security detail, which had escorted them to the airport, because the Marines were flying commercial.
If you believe the airport official, it sounds like a standoff was brewing. Either the Marines hand over their weapons and leave peacefully with U.S. diplomats or they try to fight their way out of a city that’s been in Houthi hands for months. If you believe the military official, the Marines gave up their weapons voluntarily as a condition of … boarding a commercial flight. Why they were flying commercial instead of leaving on some type of U.S. military transport, I can’t imagine. Any comment, Josh Earnest?
Marine Corps brass denies all of this, of course — sort of.
The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the “ordered departure” with only personal weapons. All crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan.
Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning. Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana’a airport.
To be clear: No Marine handed a weapon to a Houthi, or had one taken from him.
So the Corps isn’t really denying that the weapons were handed over to someone, merely stressing that the weapons were destroyed before they left Marine hands. Again, though: Why? Why were they forced to follow commercial air rules and disarm in the middle of an erupting Sunni/Shiite civil war that had been brewing since last fall? A potential embassy evacuation has been on the horizon for months; it’s been likely for the past three weeks, since the Houthis took over the presidential palace. Evidently the master White House/State Department plan for Marines stationed in Sanaa at the embassy was, “Try to catch a flight out if you can.”
What on earth happened here? Exit question from streiff at Red State: “Seriously, we are expected to believe they just dropped their weapons because they weren’t allowed to take them on a commercial airliner? Hadn’t anyone in Yemen ever flown commercial before? Why weren’t they stowed int the baggage compartment?”