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: FBI calls AQAP “most serious threat” to U.S.; Saleh rejects calls for resignation; JMP may be willing to give Saleh immunity in exchange for resignation; tribesmen attack power plant; influential leaders call for Saleh’s resignation
Horn of Africa: TFG preparing to push al Shabaab out of Bardhere and Burdhubo; Somali forces arrest twelve for alleged al Shabaab links; Somalia seeks control over its airspace; Somaliland President seeks investments from Kuwait and UAE; TFG President seeks Ethiopian support; Somali parliament reduces self-extended mandate to two years
Yemen Security Brief
- FBI Assistant Director Mark Giuliano said that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is “the most serious threat to the homeland today.” Giuliano warned that, through AQAP’s English magazine Inspire, “Key AQAP figures and U.S. citizens Anwar Aulaqi and Samir Khan have an unlimited reach to those around the world.” Giuliano also warned that American-born terrorists pose a unique threat because they exploit their understanding of American vulnerabilities and security measures to refine their attacks.
- President Saleh rejected calls for his resignation. Speaking in front of a pro-government rally, Saleh said, “These popular masses — these millions — massed in this square have come to say ‘yes’ to constitutional legitimacy...These are the same masses who said ‘yes’ to Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2006 (elections) as president of the republic...This is a referendum on my constitutional legitimacy.” Saleh also rejected the opposition’s accusation of government corruption, claiming that documents had been falsified.
- Yemen’s main opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), announced its willingness to guarantee Saleh immunity from prosecution should he resign. Xinhua reported that JMP spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said, “We know that the protesters have objection to the plan as they want to prosecute President Saleh for the previous clashes that left dozens killed or injured, we in the JMP can guarantee that after Saleh steps aside, we will convince the protesters to accept the new situation and to show mercy on Saleh for the sake of a new Yemen."
- Tribesmen attacked one of Yemen’s primary power plants in Ma’rib, compromising electricity supply in Sana’a, Taiz, Hudaydah, and Ibb. Tribesmen blocked the road from Sana’a to Ma’rib to prevent engineers from traveling to the plant to restore power.
- Influential Yemeni tribal and religious leaders released a joint statement calling for Saleh to resign and for security forces to defect to the opposition: “[The president] must respond to the demands of the peaceful revolt of the youth, starting with his immediate departure and that of all his aides in the military and security apparati [sic]…[security forces should] join the peaceful revolt.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) governor of Gedo Mohamed Abdi Kalil said that forces loyal to the TFG and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters were preparing to push al Shabaab out of the Bardhere and Burdhubo districts in the Gedo region. Kalil said that the TFG is committed to routing al Shabaab in southern Somalia.
- In Dhobley, Somali forces arrested 12 people with alleged links to al Shabaab. Shabelle Media Networks reports that most of the arrested are youth.
- TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced that Somalia is seeking control over its airspace. Mohamed said, “Definitely, we will reclaim that authority. It’s very simple. The airspace belongs to the Somali people. We are a sovereign country.” The UN currently coordinates flights over Somalia from Nairobi.
- Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo began his week-long tour of the UAE and Kuwait to seek closer ties and foreign investment. Silanyo will seek Arab investments in energy, livestock, fisheries, and logistics and seek aid for infrastructure and other civil projects.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed held a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. President Ahmed asked Ethiopia to aid the TFG in its peacemaking, counter-terror, and humanitarian efforts. Prime Minister Zenawi said that Ethiopia would increase its support to Somalia to promote stability in the region.
- The Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) announced that its self-extended mandate would be reduced to two years. Chairman of the TFP’s information committee Awad Ahmed Hasharo said that the TFP’s self-extended mandate was legitimate and said the TFP would never recognize the UN’s contradictory claim.