Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 19, 2011

Yemen: Saleh refuses to sign the GCC’s transition plan; White House urges Saleh to accept the GCC transition plan; Republican Guard units kill at least one person

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab released a eulogy for Osama bin Laden; Mogadishu clash kills 15 people; president and parliament’s speaker meet to resolve national elections crisis; AMISOM civilian staff and police troops relocated to Mogadishu; delegates at the AMISOM Peace and Security Council meeting reaffirm AU commitment to civilian protection

Yemen Security Brief

  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign the GCC’s modified transition plan. Saleh said that three opposition signatories were "low-level figures who could not be held accountable." Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani, the secretary-general of the GCC, said he would not be returning to Sana'a after Saleh backed out of his verbal agreement to the GCC transition plan for the second time.[1]
  • The White House released a readout of Assistant to the President John Brennan's telephone conversation with Saleh. Brennan urged Saleh to “sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition.”He said that "this transfer of power represents the best path forward for Yemen to become a more secure, unified, and prosperous nation and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace and political reform." Brennan also noted the commitment of the U.S. to support the Yemeni government and people as “they implement this historic agreement, foster economic development, and combat the security threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.”[2]
  • Yemen Post reports that at least one person was killed and four others were injured when Republican Guard forces shelled Nihm, a suburb in Sana'a. Tribal sources report that the attack was part of a broader clash between Republican Guard units and tribal militants in the region.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab’s General Command released a eulogy for Osama bin Laden. The statement reads: “The enemies of Allah and His Messenger must know that we will continue our jihad until the Day of Judgment, aiming either for success and victory or martyrdom and paradise. So, let them rejoice for a few moments since they will cry much afterwards, because the lion Usama left behind him huge armies of mujahideen who only accept to live free."[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces in Mogadishu. At least 15 people were killed and eighty others were wounded. Witnesses report that most of the casualties occurred when mortar shells hit Bakara Market.[5]
  • TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam met on May 18 and 19 to discuss the issue of national elections. This is the first time they met since the divisive issue of national elections created a political rift between the TFG and the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP).[6]
  • AMISOM civilian staff and police troops have relocated to Mogadishu. Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, said that "In this regard, the civilian and police components will enhance their support to, and compliment, the efforts of the military component in achieving the broad political, security and developmental objectives of the African Union in Somalia." The civilian staff will provide close support to the Transitional Federal Institutions.[7]
  • At the AU 279th Peace and Security Council Meeting, AMISOM reiterated its commitment to "the protection of civilians." AMISOM called on the Commission on the Development of Guidelines for the Protection of Civilians in African Union Peace Support Operations to "mainstream the protection of civilians into the whole spectrum of the African Peace and Security Architecture."[8]

[1] Jamal al-Jaberi, "Yemen rivals fail to sign power transfer deal," AFP, May 18, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110518/wl_mideast_afp/yemenpoliticsunrest
Ahmed al Haj, "Gulf mediator gives up on Yemeni political deal," AP, May 18, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110518/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen
"Yemen crisis deal collapses despite U.S. pressure," Reuters, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/19/us-yemen-deal-idUSTRE74H26N20110519
Robert Worth, "Yemeni Leader Refuses Deal," The New York Times, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/world/middleeast/19yemen.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast
[2] "Readout of John Brennan's Phone Call with President of Yemen," White House, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/18/readout-john-brennans-phone-call-president-yemen
[3] "One Killed as Forces Shell Nihm on Suburbs of Sana'a - Site," Yemen Post, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=100&SubID=3573&MainCat=3
[4] "Shabaab Gives Eulogy for Usama bin Laden," SITE Intel, May 17, 2011. Available: SITE Intel
[5] "15 killed, 80 hurt in Mogadishu shelling," Shabelle Media Network, May 19, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6692
[6] Abdalle Ahmed, "Somalia: Rival TFG leaders meet for the first time," Raxanreeb, May 19, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=96713
[7] "AMISOM civilian staff relocate to Somalia," AU, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.amisom-au.org/read-AMISOM-Press-Release-18-05-2011.pdf
[8] "Press Statement," AU, May 18, 2011. Available: http://www.amisom-au.org/read-279-PSC-Press-Statement.pdf