Monday, January 13, 2014


4 Yemen Coast Guard Members Killed by Militants The full story at Military .com 

 Yemen Coast Guard vessel, photo: U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy sailors and Yemen Coast Guardsmen about to visit the USS NORMANDY (Photo: U.S. Navy)
                                                      Combined U.S.Navy and U.S.Coast Guard boarding team visit a Yemeni dhow found adrift in the Gulf of Aden.
 Maj. Gen. Ali Ahmed Rasaa, head of the Yemeni Coast Guard service. The service has made great strides since its founding and enjoys the support of the Yemeni commercial fishing and work boat industries and has engaged in numerous successful cooperative operations with international forces in the region including the U.S. Navy and U.s. Coast Guard. 

SANAA, Yemen -- A security official in Yemen says heavily armed al-Qaida militants laid a siege to a coast guard camp in a southern town, shelling its barrack and killing four coast guard members.
The official says al-Qaida militants used anti-aircraft guns mounted on pickup trucks Sunday in the coastal town of al-Shahr in the province of Hadramawt overlooking the Gulf of Aden." For the complete story: The full story at Military .com 

EDITORS NOTE: During the raid on Libya in the 80s the Libyan Navy shelled a U.S. Coast Guard LORAN station on an island off of Italy in retaliation. The U.S. media reported it as an attack on a "U.S. naval radio station. We are personally aware of other similar incidents from the 1960s through much more recent times involving the U.S. Coast Guard. A quick check of our headline archive revealed a few other recent incidents involving coast guard's around the world. Our point, to our international coast guard readers is this. Coast guard units tend to be lightly armed or unarmed. Even when organized as strictly civilian agencies they present a naval appearance. Under the International law of armed conflict many coast guard facilities would be considered legitimate targets of war. To the terrorist, coast guard facilities and personnel present relatively soft targets with a propaganda bonus, they look like legitimate targets of war. 
 For relatively little effort the terrorists can kill people, damage important government property and claim they are following the law of armed conflict. However it should be kept in mind that terrorists always violate the first international rule of law which is that war is the last resort reserved exclusively to nation states. Non governmental organizations can never have an internationally recognized resort to war. Terrorist are international outlaws and able to claim little protection under the law of armed conflict. Captive terrorists may be held indefinitely in prisoner of war like conditions because they serve no nation state with which the detaining state may negotiate a peace treaty with repatriation provisions.
 The world's coast guards should take this opportunity to review their physical security and force protection measures. This recent  loss of our colleagues in Yemen is not the first such incident, nor is it likely to be the last. Sovereignty is important to every nation. Regardless of the duty of the moment from servicing aids to navigation, responding to an oil spill, enforcing anti smuggling laws, augmenting a nation's naval forces, or engaged in search and rescue coast guards are symbols of, and guardians of a nation's sovereignty.  Every patrol is in part a sovereignty patrol. Every station, dock, air field, boat, ship, or plane is an instrument and fortress of sovereignty. We will always be targets, physical security and force protection must part of every mission plan. Unfortunately even in the best run coast guards in the world few coast guard installations can afford the necessary physical security measures to deflect a concerted attack by a superior force armed with automatic weapons. The Yemeni Coast Guard is a well run service and the loss of our Yemeni colleagues is keenly felt in the international coast guard community. Regardless of what they were engaged in at the moment of attack, they died defending their nation's sovereignty. They were a credit to their nation and, honored members of the global coast guard professional community. Our prayers are with them and their families.

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