The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a should be recognized as a victory for Iran.
Reports from Yemen said that the Iran-backed Houti Shiite rebels seized between 20 and 30 vehicles from the U.S. Embassy after staff withdrew.
Marines leaving the country also had their weapons stripped away before they were allowed to depart Yemen.
According to an airport official in Sana’a, “the Houthis seized many U.S. Marines’ weapons at the airport, and the American troops also handed over some to random airport officials Wednesday,” CNN reported.
Embassy staff were burning documents and destroying weapons stores last night, but they had plenty of warning. After the Houthis seized power just before President Obama’s State of the Union address in January, a defense official told NBC News that the Embassy was “not at risk.”
The departure date comes as supporters of the regime in Tehran are celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution by burning American and Israeli flags.
“This is yet another indication of Iran’s aggressive efforts – often using armed proxy forces – to spread its malevolent influence throughout the Middle East,” Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said. “The Iranians continue to act as the primary supporter of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, even as the Obama administration offers the Iranian regime ever more concessions in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.”
“The coup in Yemen and the deteriorating security situation in Sana’a are particularly concerning because they will hinder the United States’ campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which publicly claimed responsibility for the recent terrorist massacre in Paris,” he continued.
“Having inspired Nidal Hassan’s killing spree at Fort Hood and orchestrated multiple attempts to bomb U.S. airliners, AQAP is a direct threat to the U.S. homeland that we must continue to hunt down with unrelenting persistence.”
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby confirmed this morning that “all the military personnel are out of there.”