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: IRGC commander states that IRGC directed al Houthi forces to attack Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea; Saudi-led Coalition spokesman refutes claims that the coalition paid AQAP to withdraw from held territory
Horn of Africa: President of Ethiopian Somali region resigns; Somali Special Forces seize al Shabaab camps in Balad, Middle Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Nasser Shabani stated that the IRGC called on al Houthi forces to attack Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea, during a speech on August 7. Shabani also stated that the al Houthi Movement is acting under Iranian orders in Yemen. The speech was immediately removed from Iranian media and Iranian news agencies stated that they had misconstrued Shabani’s words.
Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki refuted the Associated Press report that the coalition paid al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to withdraw from territory. Maliki stated on August 6 that the AP report expressed personal opinions and was “not based on evidence or facts.” Maliki reiterated the coalition's commitment to counterterrorism efforts in Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
The president of Ethiopia’s Somali regional state, Mohamed Omar “Abdi Illey,” resigned on August 6. Ethiopian federal troops had deployed to the regional capital Jijiga on August 4 to quell violence between ethnic Oromo and Somali that had killed dozens. Somali region security forces clashed with Ethiopian federal troops after the deployment. Ahmed Abdi Mohamed, the former regional finance minister, replaced Mohamed Omar as regional president. Mohamed Omar was an important ally of the Ethiopian federal government due to his success in combating al Shabaab in the state. The new federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed criticized Omar for his human rights abuses earlier this summer, however.
Somali Special Forces (Danab) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops seized several al Shabaab camps in Barwaqo, Garasweyn, and Walamow areas near Balad town, Middle Shabelle region on August 7. Somali Special Forces stated that the al Shabaab militants retreated without a fight.
“IRGC Commander: We told Yemenis to attack and kill two Saudi oil tankers,” Radio Farda, August 7, 2018, https://www.radiofarda.com/a/naser-shabani-iran-hauthis-yemen-oil-tanker/29417059.html; and “A dangerous Iranian confession exposes their Houthi agents - an agency that will delete the news minutes after it was published,” Mareb Press, August 7, 2018, https://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=140477.
 “The Arab Coalition responds to the AP report and describes it as a personal opinion based on ‘wrong conclusions,’” SMA News, August 7, 2018, https://smanews.org/news/93165; and “Arab Coalition denounces AP report, reaffirms fight against terrorism in Yemen,” al Arabiya, August 7, 2018, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/08/07/Arab-Coalition-denounces-AP-report-reaffirms-continued-fight-against-terrorism-in-Yemen.html.
 “ONLF seems unhappy with new leadership in Jigjiga,” Radio Shabelle, August 7, 2018, http://radioshabelle.com/onlf-seems-unhappy-with-the-new-leadership-in-jigjiga/; “New leader takes charge in Ogadenia, calls for stability,” Goobjoog, August 7, 2018, http://goobjoog.com/english/ddsi-new-president-calls-his-people-to-restore-peace-in-the-region/; Harun Maruf, “President of Ethiopia’s Turbulent Somali Region Resigns,” VOA, August 6, 2018, https://www.voanews.com/a/president-of-ethiopia-s-turbulent-somali-region-resigns/4515902.html; “President of Ethiopia’s Somali region resigns, federal forces deployed,” Africa News, August 6, 2018, http://www.africanews.com/2018/08/06/ethiopia-s-somali-region-president-resigns-federal-security-deployed/; and “President of Somali regional state in Ethiopia resigns,” Mareeg, August 6, 2018, https://mareeg.com/president-of-somali-regional-state-in-ethiopia-resigns/.
 “Somali forces raid al Shabaab targets in north of Mogadishu,” Mareeg, August 7, 2018, https://mareeg.com/somali-forces-raid-al-shabaab-targets-in-north-of-mogadishu/; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 7, 2018, https://twitter.com/HarunMaruf/status/1026749731123470336.