President Barack Obama enjoyed NCAA women’s college basketball tournament action on Saturday as approximately U.S. 100 troops evacuated a rapidly deteriorating and chaotic situation near the southern Yemen city of al-Houta.
The soldiers – many of them elite special forces commandos – had been stationed at al-Anad air base in the war-torn Arab country, reports BBC News.
The proximate cause of the hasty Saturday exit was a Friday attack on the city of al-Houta by al-Qaida fighters. A quick counter-attack by the Yemeni army has since reportedly minimized al-Qaida gains.
Friday also saw a suicide bomb attack in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. At least 137 people died in the bombing, for which Islamic State-associated combatants have claimed credit.
Obama sat in a prime seat at the first-round NCAA tournament game at XFINITY Center in College Park, Md. He was surrounded by a group of fans festooned in orange and black — the colors of fancypants Princeton University.
Obama’s niece, Leslie Robinson, plays on the Princeton women’s team, which is currently undefeated for the season.
Princeton, a #8 seed, beat the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, a #9 seed, by a score of 80-70 on Saturday afternoon.
Fans at the game chanted “four more years,” notes Yahoo! News.
In the fall of 2014, Obama touted Yemen as a War on Terror success story.
Yemen is currently undergoing what amounts to a civil war involving several armed and vigorous elements including al-Qaida and ISIS.
A number of weeks ago, U.S. Marines allegedly destroyed their weapons or simply left them to Yemeni factions before leaving in the midst of an Iran-backed coup.