American killed in Yemen as US government advises others to shelter in place

An American citizen of Yemeni descent was killed in a mortar attack yesterday in the city of Aden.

Jamal al-Labani. along with his wife and 2 year old daughter, had been looking to get out of Yemen for weeks, but the Hayward, CA resident died as he came home from mosque prayers. 

Ever since the US embassy closed in February, there has been no assistance forthcoming from the US government for Americans trapped in Yemen. Other nations have successfully evacuated their nationals, but the State Department is saying there are no plans o help stranded travelers.

CNN:

Zahra Billoo, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group, said it's helping al-Labani's family and the families of other Yemeni-Americans.

"All of these other governments, Russia, China, Ethiopia, India ... they have all been evacuating their citizens. So to say that it's impossible for the U.S. to evacuate their citizens is difficult to grasp," Billoo said.

Responding to the criticism, the U.S. State Department told CNN that there are no current plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen.

"We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they are available," a spokesman for the State Department told CNN in a statement. "Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others."

Yemeni-American advocates think more could be done.

"There have been travel warnings to Yemen for a few years now. What's not clear is, are they saying 'Be cautious' or 'Don't go at all'?" Billoo asked. "It still it doesn't sit well with many of us civil rights lawyers who believe that U.S. citizenship should be the ultimate protection."

PJ Media's Bridget Johnson has this incredible exchange between reporters and State Department spokesperson Marie Harf:

An emergency message sent to citizens on Sunday said they “may be able to leave Yemen from either Aden or Mokha and cross into Djibouti by boat.”

“The Djibouti Foreign Minister confirms that Djibouti stands ready to receive any nationality and all evacuees from Yemen into Djibouti. Anyone who wishes to leave should possess either a U.S. or Yemeni passport,” the message continued. “Currently, there is a French frigate just off the coast of Aden called the Acronit. It’s a smaller boat that can accommodate a few hundred people and its mission is to transport all people who have a passport and can get to the boat. The boat is not in the port, therefore people will have to find their own way to get out to it. The window of time for when the boat may leave is uncertain.”

[...]

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf clarified at today’s press briefing “it’s not that we can’t” evacuate Americans, as other countries are doing for their citizens stuck in Yemen, but they’re not.

“The airports are still closed, is my understanding, which is part of the challenge when we evacuate citizens from countries. Sometimes we do it commercially through aircraft or through chartered aircraft, so that’s obviously not a possibility at this time there,” Harf said.

“When you said that you alerted them to opportunities to leave the country, what are those opportunities now? Swim?” a reporter asked.

“We are alerting people to — these are mainly maritime opportunities,” Harf replied, referring to the boat that wouldn’t be able to dock.

Basically, the State Department is telling people to leave by either flying out of closed airports or boarding a ship that can't dock.

Fortunately, India has graciously offered to rescue Americans abandoned by their own government. If Americans can get to the airport in Saana, or the docks in Aden, ships and planes stand ready to whisk them out of harms way.

Our foreign policy is in the very best of hands.


 


 

An American citizen of Yemeni descent was killed in a mortar attack yesterday in the city of Aden.

Jamal al-Labani. along with his wife and 2 year old daughter, had been looking to get out of Yemen for weeks, but the Hayward, CA resident died as he came home from mosque prayers. 

Ever since the US embassy closed in February, there has been no assistance forthcoming from the US government for Americans trapped in Yemen. Other nations have successfully evacuated their nationals, but the State Department is saying there are no plans o help stranded travelers.

CNN:

Zahra Billoo, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group, said it's helping al-Labani's family and the families of other Yemeni-Americans.

"All of these other governments, Russia, China, Ethiopia, India ... they have all been evacuating their citizens. So to say that it's impossible for the U.S. to evacuate their citizens is difficult to grasp," Billoo said.

Responding to the criticism, the U.S. State Department told CNN that there are no current plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen.

"We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they are available," a spokesman for the State Department told CNN in a statement. "Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others."

Yemeni-American advocates think more could be done.

"There have been travel warnings to Yemen for a few years now. What's not clear is, are they saying 'Be cautious' or 'Don't go at all'?" Billoo asked. "It still it doesn't sit well with many of us civil rights lawyers who believe that U.S. citizenship should be the ultimate protection."

PJ Media's Bridget Johnson has this incredible exchange between reporters and State Department spokesperson Marie Harf:

An emergency message sent to citizens on Sunday said they “may be able to leave Yemen from either Aden or Mokha and cross into Djibouti by boat.”

“The Djibouti Foreign Minister confirms that Djibouti stands ready to receive any nationality and all evacuees from Yemen into Djibouti. Anyone who wishes to leave should possess either a U.S. or Yemeni passport,” the message continued. “Currently, there is a French frigate just off the coast of Aden called the Acronit. It’s a smaller boat that can accommodate a few hundred people and its mission is to transport all people who have a passport and can get to the boat. The boat is not in the port, therefore people will have to find their own way to get out to it. The window of time for when the boat may leave is uncertain.”

[...]

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf clarified at today’s press briefing “it’s not that we can’t” evacuate Americans, as other countries are doing for their citizens stuck in Yemen, but they’re not.

“The airports are still closed, is my understanding, which is part of the challenge when we evacuate citizens from countries. Sometimes we do it commercially through aircraft or through chartered aircraft, so that’s obviously not a possibility at this time there,” Harf said.

“When you said that you alerted them to opportunities to leave the country, what are those opportunities now? Swim?” a reporter asked.

“We are alerting people to — these are mainly maritime opportunities,” Harf replied, referring to the boat that wouldn’t be able to dock.

Basically, the State Department is telling people to leave by either flying out of closed airports or boarding a ship that can't dock.

Fortunately, India has graciously offered to rescue Americans abandoned by their own government. If Americans can get to the airport in Saana, or the docks in Aden, ships and planes stand ready to whisk them out of harms way.

Our foreign policy is in the very best of hands.