It has now become apparent that the US is far more involved in Yemen then they care to openly advertise. Firstly, the have deployed both Predator and Reaper UAVs to support the Yemeni military in their fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP). It is also widely believed that F-15Es of the 338th Expeditionary Squadron have been conducting air raids in Yemen from the huge base at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
I would argue that it is not going to far to state that the US is involved in a full-scale proxy war in Yemen. Using the national army as ground forces to control captured territory and to contain the AQAP, Washington has created an efficient and cheap method of furthering the Global War On Terror (GWOT). However, with unmanned and manned aircraft, training and logistics units in-country and naval forces off the coast this is not a small skirmish into enemy territory, this is war.
Somalia is a major target for the war on terror. Al Shabab have been implicated in various international terrorist attacks, especially in the surrounding countries of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The US has repeatedly used drones to strike at this al Qaeda affiliate as well as deployed strike aircraft into the country. Special Forces have also been sent into the region. SEAL Team 6 were used to recently rescue two western aid workers captured by al Shabab in a raid similar to that against Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. In February, a U-28 spy plane crashed in East Africa on its return to Lemonnier though its crew were listed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Heading north, the US military is also involved in a long-running but little known war in the border regions of Turkey and Iraq. US Predators are being used to support the battle between Turkey and Iraq on one side and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) a nationalist, secular group attempting to create a break away Kurdish state. Designated as terrorist by Turkey, the EU and the US they only vaguely fall into the limits if the GWOT. This military alliance seems to be in motion to shore up relations between the three countries. The US is trying to gain allies and more importantly staging grounds across the Middle East. Djibouti, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkey and the Seychelles; a system of bases and allies designed to dominate any area where al Qaeda or its affiliates may attempt to set up. This is not just a shadow war, if the US continues with this power building this could turn into a shadow occupation.