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(S) On March 27, Yemeni military officers discovered an unmanned USG reconnaissance aircraft (Scan Eagle) that had washed ashore on the Arabian Sea coast in the province of Hadramaut. The President's Office immediately protested the incident to CDA and requested an explanation.
Â¶2. (S) On March 28, CDA spoke with President Saleh (who was attending the Arab League summit in Riyadh) via telephone and confirmed that the aircraft belonged to the U.S. Navy. He assured Saleh that the plane crashed performing routine reconnaissance near the ship and had not been operating in Yemeni territory.
On March 29, official and pro-government media sources reported that the Yemeni military had shot down an Iranian "spy plane" off the coast of Hadramaut, after communicating with "multinational forces" in the region.
(S) Comment: President Saleh clearly believes the unmanned aircraft had been performing reconnaissance in Yemeni territory when it crashed. He could have taken the opportunity to score political points by appearing tough in public against the United States, but chose instead to blame Iran. No doubt focused on the unrest in Saada and our support for the transfer of excess armored personnel carriers from neighboring countries (reftel), Saleh decided he would benefit more from painting Iran as the bad guy in this case. End Comment.
Originally posted by Fiberx
If you have been following wikileaks, there have been cables released that reveal that U.S. air strikes are taking place in Yemen. Yemeni officials have been helping to hide them by claiming the strikes as their own. This drone was most likely watching potential targets for future strikes and this is probably a continuation of the shell game used to hide/deny U.S. involvement.