BBC Investigation Reveals American Mercenaries Conducting Assassinations in Yemen for UAE

An investigation by BBC News has revealed the involvement of American mercenaries in an assassination program in Yemen, hired by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Spear Operations Group, a private military firm, was contracted in 2015 for $1.5 million a month to target individuals associated with ISIS and Al-Qaeda. However, questions arise regarding the legality of these operations and the identification of targets, as some were not recognized as terrorists by the United States, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and a human rights lawyer.

  • American mercenaries were hired by the UAE to perform assassinations in Yemen as part of counterterrorism efforts.
  • Former Navy SEAL Isaac Gilmore, second in command of Spear Operations Group, spoke on camera about the group’s activities in Yemen.
  • In 2015, Yemen was embroiled in conflict with several factions including the Houthis, Al-Qaeda, and a Saudi-UAE-led coalition.
  • Spear Operations Group was paid $1.5 million per month by the UAE for their operations.
  • Targets were identified by the UAE government, and Spear’s operatives conducted their own vetting process.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood, which was not considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., was tied to targets, raising concerns about the accuracy of target selection.
  • Reprieve, a legal action group, tracked over 100 assassinations in southern Yemen from 2015 to 2018, with a surge coinciding with Spear’s activity in the region.
  • A leaked 2018 UAE kill list included names of individuals not traditionally recognized as terrorists, including a female human rights lawyer and her son, who later died due to an attack.
  • Spear Operations Group allegedly continued to receive payments from the UAE until 2020, and trained UAE and Yemeni forces in assassination tactics.
  • Questions of legality and ethical responsibility are raised as U.S. laws on mercenaries are ambiguous and no prosecutions have occurred.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster headquartered at Broadcasting House in London. Originally established in 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company, it evolved into its current state with its current name on New Year’s Day 1927.

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