Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.

Yemen: Late former president Saleh’s nephew gathers forces in Taiz governorate; Hadi government forces seize al Houthi positions in northern al Bayda governorate; U.S. Department of State condemns al Houthi ballistic missile attack on Riyadh; Hadi government accuses Iran of using Sana’a embassy for military operations

Horn of Africa: U.S. military resumes air operations in Djibouti; U.S. House of Representatives passes Ethiopian human rights resolution; former Somali Lower House Speaker denies accusations of bribery in resignation speech; Somali Southwest State president fires regional intelligence chief

Yemen Security Brief

National Resistance Forces aligned with the nephew of the late former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Tariq Saleh, amassed in al Mokha city, western Taiz governorate, southwestern Yemen in preparation to join the Saudi-led coalition offensive against al Houthi forces in al Hudaydah governorate on April 12. Tariq Saleh commands three brigades with heavy machinery and armored vehicles, according to local news sources.[1] 

Hadi government forces took control of al Houthi positions along the al Bayda-Ma’rib governorate border in central Yemen on April 12. Hadi government forces seized Souq Qaniyah in Radman al Awad district, northern al Bayda governorate. Radman al Awad is located directly south of Ma’rib governorate, which the Hadi government mostly controls. Hadi government forces also claimed to seize several al Houthi positions in Radman al Awad on April 5. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi positions in al Sawadiyah district, directly south of Radman al Awad, on April 5. The Hadi government began an offensive in northeastern al Bayda from Shabwah governorate in January.[2]

The U.S. Department of State condemned the al Houthi movement’s April 11 ballistic missile attack on Riyadh on April 11. The statement emphasized Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself and condemned Iran’s facilitation to the al Houthi movement’s ballistic missile program. The statement also questioned the al Houthi movement’s commitment to the peace process. The al Houthi movement claimed to attack Saudi Arabia with Borkan 2-H ballistic missiles targeting Riyadh and Qasef-1 kamikaze drones targeting Jizan and Asir regions on April 11.[3]

The Hadi government Foreign Ministry accused Iran of using its embassy in Sana’a as a base for military operations on April 11. The Hadi government stated the embassy is a military barracks, center for training and weapons storage, and meeting place for Iranian military advisors and al Houthi officials.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The U.S. military resumed air operations in Djibouti on April 8, according to U.S. defense officials. The Djiboutian government requested that the U.S. temporarily halt air operations out of Djibouti on April 5 after two American aircraft crashed on April 3. About 4,000 U.S. personnel are based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, where the U.S. military supports operations against al Qaeda affiliates and ISIS-aligned militants in Yemen and Somalia.[5] 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning Ethiopian human rights abuses on April 11. House Resolution 128 outlined recommendations for reform in Ethiopia and called for inclusive governance in response to a state of emergency that has included violent security crackdowns and widespread arrests of political opposition. The Ethiopian government rejected the resolution as untimely, biased, and disrespectful of Ethiopia’s sovereignty.[6]

Former Somali Lower House Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari denied resigning due to bribery in his resignation speech on April 12. Jawari claimed he resigned to settle political tensions and avoid the collapse of parliament. He also blamed Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire for escalating tensions. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said Jawari resigned unconditionally on April 11. Jawari resigned on April 9 after an armed standoff between his supporters and forces deployed by President Farmajo at the parliament on April 4. The standoff was in response to a larger power struggle between the executive and legislative branches and a no-confidence motion against Jawari.[7]

The Somali Southwest State president fired his intelligence chief on April 12. Southwest President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden said he fired regional intelligence chief Ibrahim Isgowe Ibrahim due to Ibrahim’s failure to cooperate with government officials, including the minister of defense. President Aden did not announce a replacement.[8]

[1] “Yemeni Newspaper: Brigadier General Tariq Saleh ready for the decisive battle,” Erem News, April 12, 2018,; “Three military brigades complement their readiness in al Mokha in preparation for the decisive battle by Brigadier General Tariq Saleh,” Aden Tomorrow, April 12, 2018,
[2] “Marib Press keeps pace with the army's victories in al-Bayda and monitors the latest developments in the military scene and the gains of troops today,” Ma’rib Press, April 12, 2018,; “The National Army frees two sites near a market between al Bayda and Ma’rib governorates,” Saba New, April 12, 2018,; and “Yemeni army frees new strategic locations in Radman district,” El Watan News, April 5, 2018,
[3] “Houthi Missile Attack on Riyadh,” U.S. Department of State, April 11, 2018,
[4] “Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Iran's embassy turned into a military operations room for the coup,” Saba News, April 11, 2018,
[5] “U.S. military resumes air operations in Djibouti,” CNN, April 8, 2018,
[6] “Update: Despite strong objections from Ethiopia Congress passes Resolution 128,” Addis Standard, April 11, 2018,; “Ethiopia govt rejects biased and untimely U.S. Congress resolution,” Africa News, April 12, 2018,; “News: Ethiopia says US Congress decision on resolution 128 disrespects its sovereignty,” Addis Standard, April 11, 2018,; and “Ethiopia says recent US resolution untimely, inappropriate,” Xinhua, April 11, 2018,
[7] “I did not trade my exit for the dollar-Jawari in final address,” Goobjoog, April 12, 2018,; and “Speaker Jawari to make final address to Parliament,” Hiiraan Online, April 12, 2018,
[8] “South West state intelligence chief fired,” Goobjoog, April 12, 2018,; and “BREAKING: South West state intelligence chief fired,” Somali Press Online, April 12, 2018,

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