When the special counsel was appointed by Rod Rosenstein in May 2017, the special counsel took over an existing counterintelligence investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into what proved to be Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and numerous secretive links between Trump associates and Russian officials. According to reports, Australian officials informed American officials that in May 2016, a Trump presidential campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, told the Australian High Commissioner to Britain, Alexander Downer, that Russian officials were in possession of politically damaging information relating to Hillary Clinton, the rival presidential candidate to Trump from Democratic Party. Since the FBI, in response to this information, opened an investigation into the links between Trump associates and Russian officials on July 31, 2016, the meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer is considered to be the 'spark' that led to the Mueller investigation. In February 2018, the Nunes memo, written by staff for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, stated that the information on Papadopoulos "triggered the opening of" the original FBI investigation, rather than the Trump-Russia dossier of Christopher Steele (see below) as asserted by, among others, Trump, Nunes, Fox News hosts Steve Doocy, Ed Henry, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy.
At the start of February 2016, AQAP recaptured Azzan, an important commercial city in Shabwa province. A few weeks later, al-Qaeda fighters and Saudi-led coalition forces were seen fighting a common target; the Houthis.But the situation is different in Aden, the AQAP/ISIS and pro-Hadi that were fighting a common enemy in Taiz are enemies in Aden. On 29 February 2016, a suicide car killed 4 pro-Hadi troops in Shiek Othman district in Aden, the city that Hadi uses as a temporary capital.More Info
On 8 September 2015, Vice News revealed a leaked email by UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. In it, the envoy confirms that Houthi rebels and the party of former president and Houthi ally Ali Abdullah Saleh have expressed willingness to accept—with some reservations—a UN Security Council resolution, approved in April. This demanded the rebels "withdraw their forces from all areas they have seized, including the capital, Sanaa". "AA/GPC agreed to a new wording on UNSC resolution 2216 that states unequivocally that they are committed to the implementation of 2216 (see document attached) with the exception of article which infringe on Yemeni sovereignty and those related to sanctions," wrote Ould Cheikh Ahmed, referring to Ansar Allah (AA)—another name for the Houthis—and Saleh's General People's Congress party (GPC). "In addition, the new text includes acceptance of the return of the current government for a period of 60 days during which a government of national unity shall be formed," wrote the envoy in the email. According to Ould Cheikh Ahmed, during talks, the Houthis gave ground on certain language, including "mandatory support by the international community for reconstruction that was in the earlier version". "The latter was particularly opposed by KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and GCC Gulf Cooperation Council who did not want it to be interpreted as a form of mandatory compensation," added the UN envoy.More Info
On 15 May 2015, new UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed peace talks in Geneva. Rebel spokesman Hamed al-Bokheiti said the Houthis were willing to hold talks in any "neutral" country. Five days later the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon announced that peace talks would be held in Geneva starting on 28 May and urged all parties to participate. Houthi rebels reiterated their support for the talks while exiled government officials said they would participate only if the Houthi's withdrew from occupied cities.More Info
Iran condemned intervention as "US-backed aggression". Iran's U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said that "those who violate international law, including international humanitarian law, should be held accountable for their acts and there should be no room for impunity." Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi expressed the Iraqi government's opposition to the intervention: "This (Yemen war) can engulf the whole region in another conflict. We don't need another sectarian war in the region." The Hezbollah secretary general criticized Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying "all invaders end up being defeated".More Info
In an Op-Ed in The Washington Post Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, described that the intervention has reduced AQAP presence in Yemen to its weakest point since 2012 with many areas previously under their control liberated. The ambassador declared that more than 2,000 militants have been removed from the battlefield, with their controlled areas now having improved security and a better delivered humanitarian and development assistance such as to the port city of Mukalla and other liberated areas. An Associated Press investigation outlined that the military coalition in Yemen actively reduced AQAP in Yemen without military intervention, instead by offering them deals and even actively recruiting them in the coalition because "they are considered as exceptional fighters". UAE Brigadier General Musallam Al Rashidi responded to the accusations by stating that Al Qaeda cannot be reasoned with and cited that multiple of his soldiers have been killed by them. The UAE military stated that accusations of allowing AQAP to leave with cash contradicts their primary objective of depriving AQAP of its financial strength. The notion of the coalition recruiting or paying AQAP has been thoroughly denied by the United States Pentagon with Colonel Robert Manning, spokesperson of the Pentagon, calling the news source "patently false". The governor of Hadramut Faraj al-Bahsani, dismissed the accusations that Al Qaeda has joined with the coalition rank, explaining that if they did there would be sleeper cells and that he would be "the first one to be killed". According to The Independent, AQAP activity on social media as well as the number of terror attacks conducted by them has decreased since the Emirati intervention.More Info
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