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: Russia vetoes Security Council resolution criticizing al Houthi-Saleh alliance; former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says newly created al Houthi-Saleh governing council will not “distribute spoils and grant positions;” coalition airstrikes target al Houthi positions in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks Kenyan Police base near Fino town, Mandera County, Kenya; al Shabaab militants conduct IED attack on KDF convoy in Linda Boni Forest, Lamu County, Kenya; suspected al Shabaab militants conduct grenade attack in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Russian Federation vetoed a UN Security Council joint pronouncement “in support of the political process” between Yemeni delegations participating in UN-led peace talks in Kuwait. Some Security Council members, including the United Kingdom, supported the resolution as a means to rebuke the al Houthi-Saleh alliance for a power-sharing agreement announced on July 28. The al Houthi-Saleh agreement establishes an alternative government structure to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government and violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which called on the al Houthis to “refrain from further unilateral actions.” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin stated that Russia had been prepared to support an earlier joint statement that did not criticize the al Houthis. The Russian envoy to Yemen, along with other international ambassadors in Yemen, supported a previous statement that expressed concern about the al Houthi-Saleh power-sharing agreement. Al Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam praised Russia’s veto of the resolution for “rejecting the continuation of the war and the siege of the Yemeni people.”[1]
  • Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen and leader of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, warned that the newly created al Houthi-Saleh joint political council will not “distribute spoils and grant positions.” The GPC signed a power-sharing agreement with Ansar Allah, the al Houthi political wing, on July 28, creating a supreme political council with ten representatives from each faction. Saleh commands a loyal following across parts of northern Yemen and retains the support of significant portions of the former Republican Guard.[2]
  • Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted al Houthi positions in Sa’ada city, Sa’ada governorate and al Houthi arms caches near the 131st Brigade Base in al Katf district, Sa’ada governorate on August 4. Major General Mohammed al Maqdashi, Chief of Staff of the Yemeni army under President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, stated on August 4 that Hadi-allied forces will “arrive soon” in the Harf Sufyan district of Sa’ada governorate. Sa’ada governorate is an al Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Kenyan Police base near Fino town in Mandera County, Kenya on August 3. Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) responded to the attack, causing a large firefight. Al Shabaab militants destroyed telecommunications equipment near Fino town on July 28.[4]
  • Al Shabaab militants conducted an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a KDF convoy in Linda Boni Forest in Lamu County, Kenya on August 4. The blast, which struck armored vehicles, caused no casualties. Al Shabaab militants conducted an IED attack on KDF forces in Lamu County on August 1.[5]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a grenade attack on the Minister of Internal Security’s house in Mogadishu on August 3. The militants did not injure the Minister, Major General Mohamed Aden Ahmed, but killed at least one security guard and injured three others.[6]
[1] “Security Council Fails to Agree on Support for the Yemen Envoy,” Associated Press, August 3, 2016,; Mohammed Abdul Salam, Twitter, August 3, 2016,; and “Security Council Demands End to Yemen Violence, Adopting Resolution 2216 (2015), with Russian Federation Abstaining,” United Nations, April 14, 2015,
[2] “President of the General People’s Congress: The high political council will not be for distributing spoils and positions,” Saba News, August 3, 2016,; and "Signing of the national political agreement between the General People's Congress and its allies and Ansar Allah and their allies and formation of a higher political council to run the country according to the Constitution," Saba News, July 28, 2016,
[3] “Coalition demolishes al Houthi strongholds in Sa’ada,” Barakish, August 4, 2016,; and “Chief of Staff: the national army and the resistance will soon arrive in Harf Sufyan and Sa’ada,” al Masdar, August 4, 2016,
[4] “Kenyan army base raided by Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 4, 2016,; and “Kenyan forces foil Al-Shabaab attack on AP camp in Mandera county,” Goobjoog News, August 4, 2016,
[5] Abdikarim Hussein, “Al-Shabaab target Kenyan soldiers in Lamu,” Tuko, August 4, 2016,
[6] “One dead, 3 hurt in Grenade attack in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, August 4, 2016,; and “Somali Security Forces Pledge To Work Closely With New Force Commander,” AMISOM, July 31, 2016,
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