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: The Yemeni president meets with unspecified UAE officials in Abu Dhabi; Houthis allege US military involvement in southeastern Yemen
Somalia: Al Shabaab conducts a complex 30-hour suicide siege on a hotel in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief:
Yemeni President Rashad al Alimi met with unspecified UAE officials in Abu Dhabi on August 17. The UAE reportedly demanded that Alimi withdraw all Yemeni Army forces from Shabwah governorate, southern Yemen.[i] UAE-backed forces and Yemeni government forces have been fighting for control of Shabwah since early August. Alimi also discussed the Central Bank, protecting government buildings and key leaders in Aden, and the leadership of the General People’s Congress with the UAE.[ii] Additional UAE-backed Giants Brigade forces reportedly deployed from Aden to Ataq, Shabwah governorate, on August 20.[iii]
The Houthi movement’s official website published an article on August 20 detailing supposed US interference in Yemen.[iv] The Houthi movement claimed a US military “delegation” met with Yemeni security and military officials in Brum Mayfa’ district, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen. The Houthis claimed the visit is part of a “trend” to “establish new US military bases” in Hadramawt. The Houthis also accused US Envoy to Yemen Timothy Lenderking of “managing” ongoing clashes in Shabwah between UAE-backed forces and Yemeni government forces.
Somalia Security Brief:
Al Shabaab conducted a complex suicide attack targeting the Hayat Hotel in Hodan district, Mogadishu, on August 19. Somali officials said the attackers killed 21 people and wounded at least 117 others during the following 30-hour siege.[v] The attack began with two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) and a three-person attack team breaching the security perimeter around the hotel.[vi] Al Shabaab claimed a third SVBIED targeted emergency and security forces arriving at the scene. The attackers then laid siege to the hotel, executing multiple civilians and government officials.[vii] US-trained Alpha group Gaashaan special forces responded to the attack first, but al Shabaab fighters used improvised explosive devices and small arms to repel the Gaashaan force.[viii] Security forces evacuated civilians but failed to coordinate a cohesive response to end the siege rapidly.[ix] Al Shabaab claimed the attackers maintained contact with group leaders throughout the attack and released several audio recordings from supposed attackers.[x] Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces eventually reinforced the Gaashaan and helped end the siege.[xi] Al Shabaab claimed some of the attackers escaped the hotel to safe houses in Mogadishu to carry out further attacks.[xii]
[i] Mareb Press, “Disclosure of the scenes of al Alimi’s visit to the UAE,” August 21, 2022, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=186585.
[ii] Al Sharq al Awsat, “Yemen’s al Alimi heads to Saudi Arabia, UAE,” August 16, 2022, https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3818721/yemens-al-alimi-heads-saudi-arabia-uae.
[iii] Mahra Post, “The UAE-backed ‘giants’ are pushing new reinforcements to Shabwah,” August 22, 2022, https://almahrahpost.com/news/32851.
[iv] Ansar Allah, “Under the guise of the armistice, America is expanding militarily in Hadramawt and is overseeing the looting of Shabwah’s wealth,” August 20, 2022, https://www.ansarollah.com/archives/541108.
[v] Abdi Latif Dahir, “Shabab Attack on Somali Hotel Ends With 21 Dead, Officials Say,” The New York Times, August 21, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/21/world/africa/somalia-hotel-attack-shabab.html.
[vi] SITE Intelligence Group, “(Continuously Updated) Shabaab Takes Credit for Suicide Raid at Hayat Hotel, Estimates 110 Casualties in Initial Tally,” August 19, 2022, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Jihadist-Threat-Statements/shabaab-takes-credit-for-ongoing-suicide-raid-at-hayat-hotel-in-downtown-mogadishu.html; @HusseinM12, Twitter, August 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/HussienM12/status/1560733664614416386.
[vii] @HusseinM12, Twitter, August 20, 2022, https://twitter.com/HussienM12/status/1561084700382347268?s=20&t=L5MYNmwjjtjZwvmu20g_Aw; SITE Intelligence Group, “(Continuously Updated) Shabaab Takes Credit for Suicide Raid at Hayat Hotel, Estimates 110 Casualties in Initial Tally.”
[viii] @HusseinM12, Twitter, August 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/HussienM12/status/1560705365850947590?s=20&t=L5MYNmwjjtjZwvmu20g_Aw.j.
[ix] @GaroweOnline, Twitter, August 19, 2022, https://twitter.com/GaroweOnline/status/1560725176010031104; Istar Abdi Yusuf, “Why did the Hotel Hayat attack take so many hours,” Caasimada, August 20, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/maxaa-sababay-inuu-saacado-badan-qaato-weerarkii-hoteel-xayaat/.
[x] SITE Intelligence Group, “(Continuously Updated) Shabaab Takes Credit for Suicide Raid at Hayat Hotel, Estimates 110 Casualties in Initial Tally.”
[xi] @haram_ad, Twitter, August 20, 2022, https://twitter.com/haram_ad/status/1560898095084453888?s=20&t=Wgn_AwF-Q4xdP-TUEujbbw; Said Sabriye, “URGENT: Alpha Group forces were removed from Hayat Hotel and Haramcad took over the operation,” Caasimada, August 20, 2022, https://www.caasimada.net/deg-deg-ciidamada-alpha-group-oo-laga-saaray-hotel-hayat-iyo-haramcad-oo-la-wareegay-howlgalka/.
[xii] SITE Intelligence Group, “(Continuously Updated) Shabaab Takes Credit for Suicide Raid at Hayat Hotel, Estimates 110 Casualties in Initial Tally.”