Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 9, 2011

Yemen: At least six protestors are killed in demonstration violence; U.S. drone-strike target was Anwar al Awlaki; youth opposition leaders release statement urging GCC to scuttle transition plan; JMP gives Saleh two-day deadline to sign GCC transition plan; minister of oil and minerals warns of oil infrastructure collapse

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab clash in Beledweyne kill at least seven people; al Shabaab capture Busar in Gedo following TFG and Ahlu Sunna withdrawal; TFG ambassador to Eritrea accuses Eritrean government of sponsoring terrorism; al Shabaab spokesman says al Shabaab will fight on in spite of bin Laden’s death; governor of Banadir urges clans to support TFG; at least two TFG soldiers die in clash over humanitarian aid; AP reports that aid to Somalia is often “wasted, stolen, or diverted”

Yemen Security Brief

  • One protestor in Hudaydah and two protestors in Taiz were killed on May 8. Republican Guard units were trying to break up the demonstration by firing in the air. Witnesses report at least six others injured. Witnesses report that three protestors were killed in Taiz on May 9 when security forces opened fire on demonstrators and fired rocket-propelled grenades at an office building.[1]
  • The U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle attack in near Abdan village in the Shabwah governorate on May 5 was reportedly targeting American-born radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who is active in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Reports of the strike indicate that two separate attacks occurred within 45 minutes. Three rockets were fired at a pickup truck carrying Awlaki and an unidentified Saudi national, but did not hit the target. Awlaki and the Saudi exchanged cars with two brothers, both known AQAP supporters, and escaped. A single drone hit the pickup truck, killing the two brothers who were identified as Musaid and Abdullah Mubarak al Dhagari.[2]
  • Youth opposition leaders released a statement urging the GCC to withdraw its transition plan, citing popular opposition: "We call on the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council to stop any initiatives that result in alienating the Yemeni people...We call on the United States, the European Union and the permanent (U.N.) Security Council members to assume their moral responsibility and stop...meddling directed against the will of the Yemeni people to ensure freedom and democracy."[3]
  • Yemen's opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), released an ultimatum setting a deadline for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign the GCC transition plan: “We renew our commitment to the Gulf plan but the other party (the president) must also demonstrate its seriousness within the next two days...Any further delay or procrastination on the part of the president to sign the agreement will force us to back the 'choice of the people,' opposing the plan.”[4]
  • Yemen’s deteriorating security conditions may lead to Yemen’s oil infrastructure becoming “unable to meet the minimum needs of the citizens,” reported Amir Salim al Aydarus, the caretaker Minister of Oil and Minerals. Aydarus added that a collapse of oil infrastructure “pose[s] a catastrophe beyond imagination.” Aydarus said that engineers have been unable to repair the sabotaged pipeline in Ma'rib due to rising levels of violence and that the refineries in Aden have come "to a standstill."[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and local militia clashed with al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne in Hiraan region. At least seven people were killed. A TFG spokesman added that TFG troops captured Beledweyne before abandoning it for tactical reasons.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants captured Busar in the Gedo region after TFG and Ahlu Sunna troops withdrew from Busar to Elwaq in the Gedo region. The TFG troops and Ahlu Sunna fighters reportedly had a dispute with their commanders over salaries.[7]
  • Seid Yosouf Noor, the TFG Ambassador to Eritrea, accused the Eritrean government of sponsoring terrorism within Somalia: "The Eritrean government could not stop encouraging and assisting the terrorist groups operating in Somalia...We have credible evidence that the regime [in Eritrea] is the main peace spoiler by directing terrorist groups."[8]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Sheikh Ali Dhere, released a statement pledging to continue fighting in spite of Osama bin Laden's death: “The death of our beloved Sheikh, Osama Bin Laden will not effect [sic] on our operation in Somalia. We are determined to fight against the Americans and their mercenaries...If Sheikh Osama dies his students will remain in the ranks of the Jihad fighting around the world."[9]
  • Mahamud Ahmed Tarsan, the governor of Banadir and mayor of Mogadishu, urged Somali clans to put aside their differences to support the TFG in its efforts to restore peace and security to Somalia.[10]
  • TFG soldiers clashed with each other following a dispute over humanitarian aid, killing two soldiers and wounding four civilians. A group of TFG soldiers attempted to seize a humanitarian aid shipment; a second group of TFG troops tried to prevent the theft.[11]
  • Humanitarian, development, and security assistance to Somalia amounts to over $1 billion a year, some of which is diverted to al Shabaab. Aid agencies pay the group up to 20 percent of project funds for protection and a report given to the UN Sanctions Committee noted that bullets intended for government soldiers are sold on the open market. Funds have been disbursed to fund projects that never get off the ground, and agencies do not have oversight because of the security situation. UN Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga reported that the UN has little oversight over aid distribution and no accountability on the ground in Somalia because ”information is not shared.”[12]

[1] "Yemeni security forces fire on protesters, 3 dead," AP, May 8, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110508/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen_protests
"Two Killed in Fresh Crackdown on Yemen Protesters," Yemen Post, May 8, 2011. Available: http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=100&SubID=3531&MainCat=3
Ahmed al Haj, "Yemeni security forces fire on protesters; 3 dead," AP, May 9, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110509/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen
[2] "U.S. drone in Yemen missed al Qaeda's al-Awlaki: report," Reuters, May 6, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/07/us-yemen-drone-awlaki-idUSTRE7456R520110507
Margaret Coker, Adam Entous, and Julian E. Barnes, “U.S. Tried, but Failed to Kill Yemeni Cleric,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2011. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703992704576307594129219756.html
Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari, "Yemeni source: Drone strike misses al-Awlaki, hits two supporters," CNN, May 7, 2011. Available: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-07/world/yemen.drone.strike_1_anwar-al-awlaki-aqap-qaeda?_s=PM:WORLD
[3] Mohammed Ghobari, "Yemen youth protest leaders want Gulf plan withdrawn," Reuters, May 7, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/07/us-yemen-idUSTRE73L1PP20110507
[5] Gamal Ragay, "Attacks on oil pipelines - Yemen on verge of economic catastrophe," Global Arab Network, May 9, 2011. Available: http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/2011050910910/Energy/attacks-on-oil-pipelines-yemen-on-verge-of-economic-catastrophe.html
[6] Malyun Ali, "Somalia: 7 killed in fresh battle in Beletweyn," RBC, May 8, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95260
[7] Abdalle Ahmed, "Somalia: Unpaid government forces vacate Gusar village," RBC, May 8, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95256
"Al-Shabab capture key village in Gedo following disputes between TFG and Ahlu Sunna," Mareeg Online, May 8, 2011. Available: http://mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=19603&tirsan=3
[8] "Somalia accuses Eritrea of assisting Al Shabaab," Somaliweyn, May 7, 2011. Available: http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/May_11/7May23.html
[9] Malyun Ali, "Somalia: Al-Shabab, The al-Qaeda branch in Somalia says Bin Laden’s death will not influence its operation," RBC, May 7, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95183
[10] Abdalle Ahmed, "SOMALIA: Benadir governor calls for Somali clans to support government," RBC, May 7, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95100
[11] "Clash among Somali forces leaves 2 dead," Shabelle News Network, May 8, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6326
[12] “Protection fees, stolen ammo extend Somalia’s war,” AP, May 7, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jn_dbAlc0s0lCGWUvLdlxClfTdBA?docId=add5ff93d2d34509998be185099b655f