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: Al Houthi-Saleh bloc attempts to de-escalate internal tensions; Yemeni foreign minister blames Iran for prolonging the civil war; al Houthi-Saleh forces attack Hadi government and coalition forces in northern Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia; AQAP continues offensive against al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nawfan area, al Bayda governorate, central Yemen

Horn of Africa: Turkey opens military base in Mogadishu, Somalia; Egyptian president Sisi pledges to support SNA against al Shabaab; al Shabaab claims attack on Somali security forces in  Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu; Kenyan ATPU search for al Shabaab militants in Bamburi, Mombasa County, eastern Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

Spokespeople for the al Houthi political party Ansar Allah and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh called for unity within the al Houthi-Saleh partnership in order to confront the Saudi-led coalition. The statement coincided with a motion by al Houthi movement leaders to freeze all political party activity and remove the immunity of parliamentarians linked to the Saudi-led coalition on August 22. These measures are likely intended to reduce the power of Saleh’s General People’s Congress party. Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi accused Saleh of cooperating with the Saudi-led coalition on August 19.[1]  

Yemeni foreign minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi and Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah al Mouallimi condemned Iran for exacerbating the Yemeni civil war during a press conference at UN headquarters in New York City on August 21. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that Iran is willing to mediate between the al Houthi-Saleh faction and the UN on August 15. Iran provides military support to the al Houthi-Saleh faction.[2]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked on several fronts in northern Yemen on August 21 and August 22. Al Houthi-Saleh forces operating near the Saudi-Yemeni border claimed to fire Katyusha rockets at Saudi border guards in Najran region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on August 21. The attack continues a campaign intended to impose a high cost on Saudi Arabia for its intervention in Yemen. Separately, al Houthi-Saleh forces conducted two attacks intended to disrupt shaping operations for an offensive on Sana’a city in northern Yemen. Al Houthi-Saleh forces attacked forces aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in al Maslub district, al Jawf governorate. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also claimed to seize territory from Hadi government-aligned forces in northern Midi district, Hajjah governorate on August 22.[3] 

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants continued an offensive against al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nawfan area, al Bayda governorate in central Yemen on August 21. AQAP claimed to kill 25 al Houthi-Saleh fighters on August 20 in Nawfan area while fighting alongside local tribal militias.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Turkey officially opened a military base in Mogadishu on August 22. The Turkish Armed Forces’ Somali-Turkish Task Force (STGK) will operate the base, which will be used to train the Somali National Army (SNA). Turkey began constructing the base in 2015.[5]

Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh al Sisi pledged to support the SNA against al Shabaab in Somalia. President Sisi assured Somali President Mohamed Abullahi Farmajo that Egypt will help rebuild the SNA and other Somali Federal Government institutions. The two leaders met in Cairo on August 20 to improve diplomatic relations and discuss potential collaboration in the campaign to defeat al Shabaab.[6]

Al Shabaab claimed to shell and ambush Somali security forces in Qoryooley and Barire towns in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on August 22. SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) captured Barire town on August 19, and established a military base and a temporary government.[7] 

Al Shabaab detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting an AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu on August 22. Al Shabaab targets military convoys in the capital to undermine Somali security operations.[8]

Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police (ATPU) launched a search operation for three al Shabaab militants linked to late-al Shabaab Kenyan Logistics Head Hussein Said Omar (Babley) in Bamburi town, Mombasa County, eastern Kenya on August 21. Kenyan police killed Hussein Said Omar on August 18.[9]

[1] “The statement of the expanded meeting of national political components and organizations calls for the freezing of party activities and the lifting of the immunity of parliamentarians involved in the aggression,” Al Masirah, August 22, 2017,; “The political council of Ansar Allah warns of a dangerous scheme aimed at dismantling the internal front and calls for healing the rift,” Al Masirah, August 22, 2017,; and “Ex-Yemeni president stresses unity with Houthis against Saudi-led war,” Press TV, August 22, 2017,
[2] Edith M. Lederer, “Yemen blames Iran for war, says it can’t be part of solution, The Washington Post, August 21, 2017,; and  “Cheikh: Iran will urge the Houthis to cooperate with the United Nations,” Al Masdar Online, August 15, 2017,  
[3] “The forces of the rocket and the artillery pounded the communities and sites of the enemy in Najran,” Sabanews, August 21, 2017,; “A number of Saudi mercenaries were killed in a military operation in al Jawf,” Sabanews, August 22, 2017,; and “Dead and wounded in the ranks of invaders and mercenaries in breaking positions in Midi,” Sabanews, August 22, 2017,   
[4] AQAP attacks al Houthi-Saleh forces in Nawfan, Telegram, August 21, 2017.
[5] Morad News, Twitter, August 22, 2017,
[6] Goldburg, “Egypt Assures Somalia Of Support In The Military And Education Sector Projected To Reduce Youth Radicalization,” Intelligence Briefs, August 22, 2017,
[7] Al Shabaab claims attacks on security forces in Lower Shabelle, Telegram, August 22, 2017.
[8] Morad News, Twitter, August 22, 2017,
[9] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “Police Launch Hunt Down Accomplices Of Al-Shabaab Combatant Killed In Bamburi,” Intelligence Briefs, August 21, 2017,

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