SANA’A, YEMEN — There is little dispute that the United States and the United Kingdom have been major benefactors to the Saudi Kingdom in its six-year-long attempt to use military might to bring Yemen to heel. Both countries have provided billions in hi-tech weapons, intelligence information, and training to what is arguably the Middle East’s most repressive monarchy. But according to the confessions of six men arrested last month amid the ongoing battle over Yemen’s strategic Marib province, Western support for the Saudi-led Coalition goes much farther than conventional military support.
Arrested Yemeni spies speak to MintPress
The CIA and MI6, its British counterpart, have recruited hundreds of Yemenis to work as mercenaries and spies gathering intelligence and coordinates of Yemeni military positions in Marib, al-Mahrah, Sana’a and Sadaa, and providing that information to their handlers, according to confessions given to the Yemeni Security Intelligence Service (YSIS) by at least six Yemeni nationals currently on trial in Sana’a for violating Article 130 of Yemen’s Penal Code.
The six men, who are being held in a detention facility in Sana’a, agreed to speak to MintPress about their experiences. They insist that abject poverty as a result of the ongoing war drove them to participate in the operation, which they said came with the promise of a $300 payout.
According to the men, the operation was carried out primarily at the Ghaydah Airport in eastern al-Mahrah. There, they joined dozens of young Yemenis recruited by the CIA for training by American and British officers on how to properly identify and describe; the use of cameras, sophisticated software programs and devices used to share coordinates; information gathering; and how to find and identify military leaders and headquarters, workshops, factories, laboratories, warehouses, checkpoints and launching sites for missiles and drones. Even the locations of the personal homes and vehicles of Ansar Allah members and other vocal opponents of the Saudi intervention were sought, according to the men.
A careful recruitment process
Their recruitment process was long and delicate, beginning when the men were approached by Yemeni officers working for the Aden-based National Security Agency. After agreeing to travel to al-Mahrah to learn more, the men were housed in hotels before being brought to special cottages at the Ghaydah Airport where they were interviewed by American and British intelligence officers. Muhammad Har, one of the six charged, told MintPress that he was initially approached by Fayez Muhammad Ismail Al-Muntaser, a former officer of the National Security Agency and commander of the Saudi-led Coalition’s Special Missions Battalion.
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