Conflict Defense Industry Middle East Security & Defense Terrorism The Gulf Yemen
Podcast April 24, 2024

American Hit Squad in Yemen

By Alia Brahimi

In Season 2, Episode 1 of the Guns for Hire podcast, host Alia Brahimi is joined by the award-winning BBC investigative journalist Nawal Al-Maghafi to talk about her film on American mercenaries in Yemen. One of the few journalists to report from Yemen first-hand, Nawal discusses the Delaware-registered private military company (PMC) contracted by the UAE to kill “terrorists”, her meetings with two of the Americans involved, and the PMC’s training of Yemeni units to conduct targeted assassinations. She also describes how so many of those killed have been activists, teachers, and cultural figures, and the terror that has now gripped the population of southern Yemen. 

“He knows these guys aren’t terrorists. This was a business deal. He knew what he was doing but he will never say it”.

Nawal Al-Maghafi, award-winning BBC investigative journalist

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About the podcast

Guns for Hire podcast is a production of the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Initiative. Taking Libya as its starting point, it explores the causes and implications of the growing use of mercenaries in armed conflict.

The podcast features guests from many walks of life, from ethicists and historians to former mercenary fighters. It seeks to understand what the normalization of contract warfare tells us about the world we currently live in, the future of the international system, and what war could look like in the coming decades.

Further reading

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

Image: A member of Yemen's U.S.-trained counter-terrorism force attends a field training near Sanaa November 9, 2010. Yemen needs more help from its allies to combat al Qaeda, its foreign minister said on Monday, just two days after the militant group said it had been responsible for sending U.S.-bound parcel bombs on two aircraft. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)