Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 1, 2013

Yemen: Al Malahem Media Foundation releases new issue of Inspire magazine; Rubaish criticizes Saudi scholar for remarks on Mali group Ansar al Din; large anti-government demonstrations in Aden; gunmen kill Yemeni Army colonel and local official in Sana’a governorate; Yemeni authorities release detained Southern Movement leaders; Southern Movement members distribute pamphlets calling for civil disobedience in Aden; 3rd Mountain Infantry Brigade members name Waleed Hashedi brigade commander; Saudi Interior Minister announces reorganization of efforts to secure Yemeni-Saudi border; State Department spokesman says U.S. is committed to Yemen’s political transition; electric towers in Ma’rib attacked

Horn of Africa: Two suicide bombers target a restaurant at Lido beach, Mogadishu; UN Security Council is considering a plan to lift the arms embargo on Somalia; Somali government representatives refuse to attend Jubbaland conference; Japan donates $55.4 million to Somali humanitarian and reconstruction projects; Somali president offers some pirates amnesty

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Malahem Media Foundation released its tenth issue of its English-language magazine, Inspire, entitled “We Are All Usama,” on February 28. The issue includes an interview with an American spokesman for al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, and suggestions for carrying out lone-wolf attacks. Another article criticizes France’s campaign in Mali.[1]
  • A message from Ibrahim Rubaish, the spiritual leader for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), appeared on forums on February 27. Rubaish was critical of Saudi scholar Abdul Aziz al Fawzan for criticizing Ansar al Din, an Islamist group active in Mali, during a February 15 television broadcast called “The Sufficient Answer”.[2]
  • Large demonstrations took place in Aden on March 1 against the central government and security operations against southern protesters. Demonstrators tore down the largest Yemeni flag in existence as a part of the protests.[3]
  • Unknown gunmen killed Yemeni Army Colonel Yahya al Jama’ai and a local official accompanying him on March 1 in Hizyaz, Sana’a, near the southern gate of the city. Local gunmen then surrounded the house from which al Jama’ai’s vehicle took fire.[4]
  • Yemeni authorities released Southern Movement leaders Qassem Askar and Sheikh Hussein bin Sha’in on February 28 after their arrests on February 19 and 20.[5]
  • Southern Movement members distributed pamphlets in Aden on March 1, calling for another round of civil disobedience beginning the following day.[6]
  • Members of the Yemeni 3rd Mountain Infantry Brigade began calling Waleed Hashedi a brigadier general and commander of the brigade after his release by military intelligence authorities and arrival at the brigade headquarters on February 27.[7]
  • Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef announced a re-organization of security on its southern border with Yemen, in cooperation with Yemeni authorities on February 28.[8]
  • U.S. State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that the United States is committed to supporting President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Yemen’s political transition and National Dialogue process in a press conference on February 27.[9]
  • Two electric towers were attacked in al ‘Irqayn, al Damashqa, Ma’rib governorate on March 1, causing a nearby gas station to go offline.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Two suicide bombers targeted a restaurant at Lido beach, Mogadishu on March 1. The first suicide bomber drove his car into the gate of the restaurant, and as a crowd gathered around the explosion site, the second suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up. Two security guards are reportedly dead and at least nine people were injured in the explosions. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[11]
  • The United Nations Security Council is weighing a plan that would lift the Somali arms embargo for a probationary period of one year, but keep restrictions on weaponry like surface-to-air missiles. The United States is trying to have the ban lifted, but Great Britain and France are opposed to the plan. The resolution will be brought to a vote on March 6.[12]
  • Representatives from the Somali government have refused to join the Jubbaland conference in Kismayo, Lower Jubba. Interior Minister Abdikarem Hassan Guled took issue with a single group or clan taking control of Kismayo, referring to Ras Kamboni leader Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, who is a frontrunner for leader of Jubbaland state.[13]
  • The Japanese government donated $55.4 million to different humanitarian agencies for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in Somalia.[14]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud has offered amnesty to low-level pirates, he said in an interview for the AFP on February 27 in Villa Somalia, Mogadishu.[15]    

[1] “al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula’s al-Malāim Media releases Inspire Magazine Issue #10,” Jihadology, March 1, 2013. Available: http://jihadology.net/2013/03/01/al-qaidah-in-the-arabian-peninsulas-al-mala%E1%B8%A5im-media-releases-inspire-magazine-issue-10/
[2] “AQAP Official Criticizes Saudi Scholar's Remarks on TV Show,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 28, 2013. Available at SITE.
[3] “Protesters Tear Down Huge Yemeni Flag in Aden,” Barakish Net, March 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45730
[4] “Sana’a: Assassination of an Officer and a Local Official, and Gunmen Surround House,” Barakish Net, March 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=45709
[5] Yemen free two southern separatists to defuse growing violence,” Yemen Post, February 28, 2013. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6626&MainCat=3
[6] “SMM Calls for Renewed Civil Disobedience and Bin Sha’ib Gives Friday Sermon after His Release,” Barakish Net, March 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45727
[7] “Members of the Third Infantry Brigade Elevate a Colleague to the Rank of Brigadier General and Deal With Him as Brigade Commander,” Barakish Net, February 28, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45704
[8] “Saudi Arabia to work with Yemen to stem out border infiltration,” Yemen Post, February 28, 2013. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6627&MainCat=3
[9] Patrick Ventrell, “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, February 27, 2013. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2013/02/205323.htm#YEMEN “Washington Renews its Support for the Success of a Political Deal in Yemen, Barakish Net, March 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=45726
[10] “New attack on electric lines in al Damashqa knocks Mar’ib gas station offline,” al Masdar Online, March 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/42226
[11] “Two Killed in Twin Blasts at Somali Beach,” AFP, March 1, 2013. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hjLolQuI6LMQyjhudVJ6edHICnmQ?docId=CNG.c413d29dda5f72c167fb6fae88a7bd24.571 “Suicide Bombers Kill Civilian at Somali Beach Restaurant,” Reuters, March 1, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/01/us-somalia-blasts-idUSBRE9200IL20130301
[12] “Plan Floated at U.N. to Lift Somalia Arms Embargo for a Year,” Reuters, February 27, 2013. Available: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/27/uk-somalia-arms-un-idUKBRE91Q19420130227
[13] “Somalia: Jubaland State Conference Convenes, Mogadishu Officials Absent,” Garowe Online, February 28, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Jubaland_state_conference_convenes_Mogadishu_officials_absent.shtml
[14] “Japan Donates $55.4 million Towards Somalia Assistance,” Bar Kulan, March 1, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/03/01/japan-donates-55-4-million-towards-somalia-assistance/