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 movement claims two drone attacks on Saudi military base; STC forces clash with Hadi government-aligned forces in Aden; Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister meets with STC delegation in Jeddah

Horn of Africa: Rival parliaments elect different presidents in Jubbaland State; UN Special Representative for Somalia addresses UN Security Council

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed to conduct two drone attacks targeting King Khaled Air Base near Khamis Mushayt city in southwestern Saudi Arabia on August 21. Saudi-led coalition spokesperson Turki al Maliki claimed that the coalition intercepted both drones.[1]

Forces aligned with the Transitional Political Council for the South (STC), a southern Yemeni secessionist movement, fired upon Yemeni Presidential Protective Forces near the Ma’ashiq Presidential Palace in Aden, the de facto capital of Yemen, on the evening of August 21. Saudi forces reinforced the Presidential Protective Forces at the palace and clashed with STC-aligned forces for four hours. The STC seized Aden from the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on August 10.[2]

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled bin Salman met with an STC delegation led by STC President Aydarus al Zubaidi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 21. Al Zubaidi arrived in Jeddah for talks with the Hadi government on August 21. Hadi government officials refused to meet with him, however, until STC-aligned forces withdraw from all military bases that they seized in Aden.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The parliament for Jubbaland State, a Federal Member State in southern Somalia, reelected incumbent Ahmed Madobe as regional president on August 22. The Somali Federal Government (SFG) had previously stated on August 17 that it would not recognize the results of the Jubbaland elections because the electoral process violated the national constitution. An unrecognized Jubbaland parliament backed by opposition presidential candidates separately elected Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig as Jubbaland State president. Hidig is a member of the SFG parliament and served as SFG Minister of Interior until 2015. Opposition candidates created a parallel electoral system in July after accusing the Jubbaland electoral committee of being biased towards Madobe.[4]

The UN Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, addressed the UN Security Council on August 21. Swan stated that al Shabaab remains a threat to regional security. He also expressed concern that the Jubbaland regional elections would produce a contested result and violence.[5]

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[1] “The Air Force targets King Khalid Air Base in Asir,” Al Masirah, August 22, 2019, ; and “Forces of Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen intercept and shoot down two drones launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia from Amran province towards the kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, August 22, 2019,

[2] “Gulf of Aden Security Review –August 12, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2019, ; “Saudi reinforcements are a the presidential palace in Aden after clashes with STC forces,” Sahafatek, August 22, 2019,; “Breaking: Armed clashes erupt between Saudi forces and gunmen around palace Maasheq,” Aden Gad, August 22, 2019,; “Urgent: Clashes between the transitional militia and Saudi forces in the vicinity of ‘Maasheq’ Palace in Aden,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 22, 2019,; “The Brigade forces support the Maasheq palace and clarify the truth of what happened,” Hadramout, August 22, 2019,; “Breaking: Fierce armed clashes erupted near Aden palace in Aden ‘details’,” Aden Lang, August 22, 2019,, and “The 5th brigade provide support to Maasheq Palace and explain full truth of what happened,” SMA News, August 22, 2019,

[3]  “Saudi Deputy Defense Minister receives transitional delegation in Jeddah,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 22, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 21, 2019,” The Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2019,

[4] “Somalia’s Jubaland parliament to elect new president,” Mareeg, August 22, 2019,; “Jubbaland reelects Madobe as the new president of the state,” Goobjoog News, August 22, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 22, 2019,

[5] “Somalia security remains a concern, head of UN Mission warns,” Garowe, August 22, 2019,; and “UN Envoy says Somalia security remains a concern,” Mareeg, August 22, 2019,

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