Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 23, 2011
Yemen: Pro-government crowd attacks GCC secretary-general’s convoy; JMP and GPC leaders sign GCC’s transition plan, Saleh refuses; Yemeni security forces clash with Hashid tribesmen; Clinton chastises Saleh for failing to sign GCC’s transition plan; French foreign ministry urges Saleh to sign GCC’s transition plan
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims to have pushed pirates out of Harardhere in Mudug region; AMISOM and TFG troops capture parts of Bakara Market in Mogadishu; at least two people killed while planting a roadside bomb in Mogadishu; TFG president holds inconclusive talks with parliament speaker; Ethiopian officials mediate disputes between Ahlu Sunna officials; Galmudug administration official accuses TFG of stealing three million dollars
Yemen Security Brief
- An armed pro-government crowd gathered around the UAE embassy in Sana'a and attacked GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani's convoy as it moved through the crowd. Yemeni security forces did not disperse the crowd for several hours. President Ali Abdullah Saleh telephoned Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan, president of the UAE, to apologize for the incident. Elsewhere in Sana'a, Yemeni security forces established roadblocks on Sana'a's main roads. Anti-government demonstrations continued in Sana'a's main square.
- Leaders from Yemen's opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), and officials from the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC), signed the GCC's transition plan on May 22 in Sana'a. President Saleh did not sign the initiative. Saleh said that he would not sign the transition plan unless JMP officials sign the document in public at the presidential palace. JMP officials rejected Saleh's demands, noting that the GCC's transition plan stipulates the signing procedure. GCC ministers suspended the transition plan after Saleh's third failure to sign the plan.
- Yemeni security forces clashed with Hashid tribesmen in the al Hasba neighborhood in Sana'a near Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar's house. Witnesses report gunfire and grenades. Several people were reportedly wounded, according to security officials
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement chastising Saleh for failing to sign the GCC's transition plan: "The United States is deeply disappointed by President Saleh’s continued refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative...President Saleh is now the only party that refuses to match actions to words. We urge him to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully and orderly transfer power and ensure the legitimate will of the Yemeni people is addressed. The time for action is now.” Clinton added, “"We are also outraged to learn that earlier today factions loyal to President Saleh encircled the UAE embassy in Sana’a...We condemn this action."
- The French foreign ministry released a statement describing Saleh's decision not to sign the GCC's transition plan as "irresponsible and unacceptable." The ministry “once again urge[s] the Yemeni president to sign this agreement without further delay, as it is the only viable way to resolve the crisis...If President Saleh continues to refuse to respect his commitments, France is ready to deal with the consequences, along with the European Union and its European partners.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants claimed to have pushed pirates out of Harardhere in Mudug region.
- At least 22 al Shabaab militants were killed and more than 40 others were injured when AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops captured Wadnaha Road, which marks the southern boundary of the Bakara Market. Two AMISOM soldiers were killed and five others were injured in the clash. AMISOM released a statement reporting that "the Southern and Western edges of Mogadishu's famous Bakara Market are now under control of government troops." Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi, the TFG defense minister, and Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan Farah, the minister of the interior, reported that AMISOM and TFG forces were on the cusp of routing al Shabaab from Bakara Market. TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed urged al Shabaab soldiers to defect to the TFG. The TFG plans to consolidate its gains in the Bakara Market by building a police station at the center of the market, according to Badikafi Hilowle Osman, the secretary of the Banadir administration.
- At least two people were killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Mogadishu. Security officials believe that they were attempting to plant the explosive.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Sharif Hassan, the speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), held inconclusive talks over holding national elections. Parliamentarian Omar Islow reported that “The president suggested to delay [sic] once again the election date until next year, and that was really rebuffed by the speaker.”
- Guriel district deputy commissioner Osman Nur, also known as Tardhuled, reported that Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a leaders met in Addis Ababa to resolve their differences. Ethiopian officials mediated the disputes. The summit was reportedly successful.
- Ahmed Mohamoud Hassan, the Galmudug administration's deputy minister of information, accused the TFG of corruption. Hassan said that at least three million dollars of aid meant for drought victims were stolen and redirected elsewhere.